Planes, Trains and Automobiles : How the Grey Cup Train tour missed Kingston

The title will make sense as this blog entry goes along.

So, the Grey Cup train tour wrapped up. Those who might follow me on Twitter had seen the tweets about there not being a train stop in Kingston. Which was a head scratcher for me. Queen’s Football has a big following and the school even won 3 Cups back in the day. Looked at the schedule on train tour website and no Kingston stop to be seen. Which thankfully I have a shot of. This is where the story begins.

Others on Twitter were surprised by lack of a stop. The train was a way to bring the Cup across the country to sports fans. They had events where fans could come by and take pictures and the like.  Tour even hit Newfoundland and Nunavut where they had to fly in.  So the ‘Planes’ part of the title now makes sense.

So, you can imagine my surprise when on a Sunday night on TSN SportsCentre I see a quick story with the Grey Cup inside a hall at Queen’s. Huh? Checked their website again and they added a photo-op at Queen’s.

Happened early Sunday morning around 7am and was done by 8:30am. “The Grey Cup very briefly returned to one of its many former homes today, visiting Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.”

So at least it did stop in the town. No chance for the public to stop by though. What they did was drop off some championship banners for the school to recognize their Grey Cup wins. Now why they decided to stay in Ottawa for 6 entire days instead of hitting more communities, I have no clue.  Bad scheduling there.  Thought a main selling point of the train was going to places which don’t get to see the CFL in person.

Kate McKenna who was on the train doing reports for TSN all along the route did respond to me on Twitter about the Kingston stop. I actually saw Kate around Kingston that Saturday night. Heard her interviewed on the Jay and Dan Podcast and knew she went to Queen’s. I assumed she was in town for the Golden Gaels playoff game since I hadn’t seen any Kingston stop on the schedule.

And when she said it was a last minute change. It REALLY was. CKWS, the only TV station in Kingston had nothing about it. Kingston Whig-Standard on Saturday had articles about the Golden Gaels playoff game, no mention of anything happening on Sunday.  The trophy must have traveled in an Automobile of some sort to Kingston. [That completes the title of today’s blog]

But the biggest sign that hardly anyone in Kingston knew it was happening was from an email newsletter. It’s one that supports Queen’s Football and mentions fundraising events and tailgate parties at road games. The newsletter is very connected, evidenced by the fact a few days after the Gaels were eliminated in the OUA playoffs they emailed everyone a letter written by Coach Pat Sheahan to the fans. If that group didn’t know about what was happening that Sunday morning.

Strangely some get the facts wrong after the fact. Even the local paper. From a recent Kingston Whig-Standard.

The train stopped in Kingston? No it didn’t. I know what you might be thinking: “Sun Media messing up? That never happens.” But seriously it wasn’t written by a Whig reporter who would’ve known better.

All in all, it isn’t the most important thing in the world. Was disappointing for all the football fans in the Kingston area. Especially with all the Queen’s/Kingston connections with the CFL. Sit back this will take a while.

The aforementioned Kate McKenna, from TSN went to Queen’s.

Jaime Stein used to be with the CFRC sports department when he was at the university. Jaime worked with the CFL on the digital side for a few years.

Jock Climie works on the ‘CFL on TSN’ panel and former football player. Is a member of the Queen’s Football Hall of Fame.

Rod Smith, from TSN SportsCentre was an offensive guard for the Gaels. And did play by play for the Mitchell Bowl when Queen’s beat Laval on the way to the Vanier Cup.

Neate Sager, Queen’s Alumni and writes for Yahoo Sports on ‘Buzzing the Net’ blog. Chatted with Neate on my show after Queen’s Vanier Cup win, since CFRC didn’t have a sports show at the time.

Andrew Bucholtz who runs the CFL Blog “55 Yard Line” on Yahoo. He is Toronto for the Grey Cup of course this week. You can guess where Andrew went for his post-secondary education.

Mike Hogan, born in Kingston is the radio play by play voice for the Argos. Mike will be calling the game for TSN Radio 1050 this Sunday. Also Mike co-hosts ‘Football Sunday’ a radio show with Chris Schultz and ‘Argos All-Access’ on the same station. When I used to work on Offsides with Tyler King, Mike was a guest on a few occasions so he helped us out at CFRC. And I also recall he stopped by at a halftime show of a Golden Gaels football broadcast.

Finally Chris Cuthbert, play by play voice for TSN with CFL and NHL. Who will call the Grey Cup for TSN. You might’ve heard of him. From his bio on the TSN website:

“Throughout his celebrated career, Cuthbert has covered every sport at every level. Cuthbert’s inaugural job in sports broadcasting was doing the play-by-play for Golden Gaels football games in 1978 for CFRC Radio in Kingston, Ont. while still a student at Queen’s University.”

And I found a piece Andrew wrote for the Queen’s Journal on Chris and his days at Queen’s. Worth reading for more details on how he got started.

So…… the powers at be decided there wasn’t a good reason for the Grey Cup Train tour to stop in Kingston. Perfect sense.

For fans of CIS Football tomorrow is the Vanier Cup between Laval and McMaster. Rematch of last year’s great game. I’ll be watching that. Sunday is the Grey Cup. Which I haven’t seen in a few years. I work Saturday nights at 11pm and Sunday at 11pm. Not ideal times to catch a 6pm football game on Sunday. I should record it on the PVR this year. Good luck to the media members with a Queen’s/Kingston connection covering the game this year.

Since it is US Thanksgiving today, I should have a clip from ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ to end this.  It takes place on Thanksgiving and this clip has a football reference in it.  Good way to wrap things up.


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