Snowfall welcomes 105th Grey Cup game between Calgary and Toronto

Toronto Argonauts defensive lineman Cleyon Laing (90) celebrates a quarterback sack against the Calgary Stampeders during first half CFL football action in the Grey Cup Sunday November 26, 2017 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA - The 105th Grey Cup kicked off in a winter wonderland, and ended with a messy but entertaining 27-24 win by the Toronto Argonauts over the Calgary Stampeders.

Snow started falling about two hours before Sunday's kickoff, and by the time the teams took the field, officials were scrambling to clear the turf.

Several dozen stadium employees raced with shovels to uncover the lines, while snow plows attempted to clear the end zones. The shovellers and plows also came out during every stoppage in play early on in an effort to keep the snow at bay, and two full-sized plows attached to trucks were added to the snow-clearing effort at halftime.

The temperature at kickoff was minus 3 Celsius, and snow fell steadily throughout the first half before letting up.

"What better way to win a Grey Cup than in the snow?" Toronto defensive back Cassius Vaughn, who recovered a fumble and returned it a Grey Cup record 110 yeards to tie the game 24-24, said after the game. "It's the most Canadian thing you could do, win a Grey Cup in the snow."

In Friday's state-of-the-league address, commissioner Randy Ambrosie touched on opening the season earlier. Over the years there have been suggestions, primarily from West Division teams, that the weather becomes too cold for late-season or playoff games.

One suggestion has been to move the start of the season back two weeks to finish earlier in better weather conditions.

"I think we should seriously look at it," Ambrosie said. "Imagine playing our Grey Cup, let's just say, the third week of October when it's beautiful everywhere and you don't have to wear 900 layers of clothing (and) get your winter boots out?"

Sunday night's scene evoked memories of the 1996 Grey Cup that was played in a blizzard in Hamilton.

A pre-game flyover featuring two of the Royal Canadian Air Force's CF-18 Hornets was cancelled due to the snow. But the conditions were perfect for halftime performer Shania Twain, as the country star was conveyed to the stage on a dog sled.


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