Winnipeg cold won’t bother domed ‘mountain’ Lions in West final

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Photo courtesy: Jeff Vinnicl/BC Lions

Of all the blows and insults hurled at the BC Lions by Bombers fans ahead of Sunday’s West Final, none has sparked more interest than the idea that a temperate West Coast team won’t is simply not equipped to face Manitoba’s freezing tundra.

This argument ignores a simple fact according to head coach Rick Campbell.

“I was reminded that the BC Lions are not called the Lions because of the Serengeti lions, but the mountain lions,” he told reporters on Saturday. “Cougars are a bit more used to the cold.”

Still, temperatures are expected to reach minus-8 with light snowfall at IG Field in Sunday’s playoff clash, a far cry from the humid plus-8 degrees expected in Vancouver. As a team coming from the domed confines of BC Place, this weather could be a shock to the system – although Campbell doesn’t foresee it having major ramifications for the game plan.

“To be more serious, I guess it might be a bit overplayed. A lot of us and a lot of our players aren’t Dome or BC players and we got to play in Edmonton,” he noted.

“Just being in playoff football for as long as I’ve been doing this now, I think the weather is going to be good tomorrow, which is a good thing when you’re playing a game against two good teams. That minus-5, minus-6, minus-7, if there’s not a lot of wind, I don’t think it’s going to have a big effect on the game.

While the Winnipeg faithful will be more than happy to take off their balaclavas and make that point to the Vancouverites, Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea shared his opponents’ doubts about the impact of the Prairie cold earlier in the week.

“I don’t think I can remember a single game in 20 years where I saw someone play – I wasn’t there – and it looked like they were really affected,” he said. . “Other than that, I’ve been on teams from Ontario out West, played under-15, under-20 and won.

High-level skeptics be damned, staunch believers see the Bombers as the team best equipped to mount a ground attack should the elements worsen. Weather forecasters don’t seem to believe that will happen, but members of the Lions’ top-flight attack aren’t giving much credence to concerns about their cold fingers anyway.

“It’s football at the end of the day. There’s a ball to catch, the weather doesn’t do anything about it. As long as I can run, jump, catch, it will be the same every game,” said said receiver Dominique Rhymes, a native of sunny Miami, Florida.

“It doesn’t really affect every player on our team. I’m half Canadian now that I’ve been in Canada so long that time doesn’t bother me.

What’s indisputable is that the veteran-laden Bombers are more used to the playoff freeze and have had a few more snowy practices to acclimate. O’Shea asked his group to accept the harsh conditions as a badge of playoff success that many would be envious of, but being happy with the experience doesn’t mean he thinks the Manitoba winter will skew things their favor.

“Certainly, you are not counting on any of this. You have to rely on your own preparation,” he stressed.

“Do I think preparing in the cold and snow is good for us? Yes absolutely. But you really have to rely on your own preparation, your own process, your own ability to play and not leave anyone out because they have to travel or they have a short week, whatever those things are. You never neglect an opponent because of any of these factors.

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