Stampeders have thick skin

Wes Gilbertson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:05 AM ET

REGINA - You guys again?

For the second time in a 13-day span, the Calgary Stampeders are staying at the same hotel, playing the same opponent at the same stadium and trying to silence the same insult-hurling mobs at Mosaic Stadium.

"Well, it reminds me of when I played here," quipped former Riders quarterback and current Stamps head coach John Hufnagel. "It's one of those things that happens in the CFL. I'd rather play here in the summertime than the wintertime."

Hufnagel has often joked that his solution for a noisy stadium -- and it gets LOUD in Regina -- is to remove his hearing aids.

For the rest of the guys on the Stamps sideline for Friday's clash with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (7 p.m., TSN, QR77), that's not an option.

In fact, Stamps punter Burke Dales used to wear earplugs at Mosaic Stadium to silence the small pack of hecklers that sits near the opposing bench and seems to spend more time watching the warmup net than the action between the white lines.

"You really have to learn to have thick skin, because they're coming at you with anything verbal they can get their hands on," Dales said. "Some stuff is witty and some stuff is so far from witty, it's crazy. They're always yelling, 'Shank!' when I'm kicking into the net. They're always screaming at me, talking about my sister, my family. I've just learned basically to let it go in one ear and out the other."

Prior to the Stamps' trip to Saskatchewan in Week 5, Dales warned rookie kicker Rene Paredes about the pests.

Paredes was teased about all sorts of things in his first visit to Mosaic Stadium, including his wage as a CFL freshman, but responded with a four-of-five performance and a crucial 47-yard field goal in the fourth quarter in a 22-18 victory for the Stamps.

"As soon as I got on the field, I started getting a taste of it, but it doesn't bother me," Paredes said. "I actually like the crowd, I like the loud places. Playing for Concordia and playing at Laval, it was pretty close. It's not the same amount of people, but the fans are the same way -- they scream to the players, they trash the players, so I'm used to it.

"It gives you a drive to do a bit better and maybe shut them up, I guess."

Despite their slow start, Friday's game will mark the fourth sellout of the season at Mosaic Stadium.

The Riders and Stamps will meet twice more in the fall, with two matchups in a three-week span (Oct. 1 and Oct. 21) at McMahon Stadium. Stamps quarterback Henry Burris expects the Riders will have some of their swagger back by then.

"That's one of the things we want to take advantage of right now. When you've got a team struggling, you definitely want to jump on them," Burris said. "We don't want to come in here and give any kind of charity to these guys. If that was the case, why didn't they give us a chance to go to the Grey Cup in November, you know? That's the thing we don't want to fall into. We're coming out here to beat a rival, our arch-rival over the past number of years, and do it in their ballpark.

"We've got this team four times this year. To be able to get them at a time where it's tough for them, you want to take advantage of that." 


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