Labinjo prepares for a whole new Classic

IAN BUSBY, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

When Mike Labinjo thinks Labour Day Classic, he pictures driving down the QEW in a car full of Toronto Argonauts fans.

Growing up in Toronto, the Calgary Stampeders linebacker was a huge Argos supporter.

So the highlight of the season was travelling to Ivor Wynne Stadium to take some abuse from Hamilton Tiger-Cats supporters.

The last one he attended was way back in high school (1998).

"The Ticats fans can be nasty but it was good. It was a lot of fun to trash talk," Labinjo said. "It really was a great experience for everybody involved.

"In those years, the Argos had the better teams, so it was a lot easier to cheer for them."

Labinjo is excited to see what the atmosphere will be like tomorrow at McMahon Stadium when the Stamps kick off their signature game against the Edmonton Eskimos.

He certainly has experience in hugely hyped games. In college at Michigan State, he played a handful of matchups at hated arch-rival Michigan.

Although the Battle of Alberta may not have the volume of people, Labinjo expects the feeling to be similar.

"There would be about 110,000 people there and guys would raise their level of play for every game like that," Labinjo said. "For this Labour Day Classic, I see a bunch of us playing our best games because of the atmosphere."

Through his time at Michigan State and into his years in the NFL, Labinjo was still an Argos fan. He arrived in Calgary this July in time to play Toronto, so that's where his love of the Double Blue was put on hold.


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