Good time for a road trip

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:59 PM ET

It’s not unusual to see a seriously skidding shabby shinny squad that can’t wait to get out of Dodge.

But including all the Oilers teams which have been booed out of their own building in the last few years — even the 30th-place team from last year — has there ever been a home team looking forward to putting Edmonton in their rear view mirror and heading out on an extended road trip quite like the 2010 Eskimos?

“I think it’s going to be very good for this football team to get away from this city for a trip like this,” is how offensive lineman Aaron Fiacconi put it Thursday.

“Especially after the Calgary games, I think it’s going to be very good for all of us to get away,” he added of the three-game series the Eskimos lost by the combined count of 144 to 40 to the Stampeders in less than a month, and a fan base which has never been quite this disturbed in so many different directions in the entire history of the former flagship franchise.

The Eskimos leave today on a 10-day road trip to Montreal and Moncton, the latter for the first-ever neutral site regular-season game, including the unique experience of being involved in Touchdown Atlantic.

“It’s been such an emotional year. This team has really let the town down.

This city had such high hopes and expectations and to this point, we’ve let everyone down immensely, especially with everything surrounding the hosting of the Grey Cup here,” said Fiacconi.

“It’s been such a tumultuous season it’s a bit of a fresh start. You can’t claim you’re starting the season over every time you lose a couple games, but I think the whole organization needs a break,” he said of all the changes which have been made including the highly controversial hiring of the toxic Eric Tillman to replace the radioactive Danny Maciocia as general manager.

The entire organization, including front office staff, is going to Moncton.

Pretty much everybody other than Tillman himself, that is.

The new GM will be going to Montreal but has been told not to proceed to Moncton because of the distraction he would be and how neither the Eskimos nor the league wishes him to take the focus off Touchdown Atlantic.

“This trip has given everybody something to look forward to,” said Fiacconi. “Everyone around here has smiles on their faces getting ready for it.”

Quarterback Ricky Ray said you could see that at practice Thursday.

“We love our fans and we love playing here but getting away for a once-in-a-lifetime trip like this is good for us.

“It’s put some excitement back. And happiness. You can see it just looking around.”

Patrick Kabongo, who made the trip to Moncton to help launch the event back in March, says, “I know the people are really excited. We are excited, too. It’s going to be great for the team to get away together and bond.”

Head coach Richie Hall figures the combination of having star receiver Fred Stamps as well as defensive regulars Greg Peach and Elliott Richardson coming back combined with the refresh button built in with the trip is pretty good timing all around.

“It’s a different trip for everybody. In all the years in football I’ve never taken a football trip for 10 days,” said the coach who sees them “socializing together, going to movies together, shooting pool together,” pursuits not likely to be high on a player’s to-do list in Montreal or the Maritimes.

“It’s something you can’t help but get excited about and look forward to,” he said.

Especially the movies and pool, huh, coach?

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos