Esks daily playoff primer

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:00 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Eric Keech has a remarkable attendance record.

For 21 consecutive years, Keech hasn't missed a single Edmonton Eskimos' Eastern Canada road trip.

Paying his own travel costs from his Ottawa-area home, he has been at every Green and Gold game in Ontario and Quebec since 1987 - helping Eskimos equipment manager Dwayne Mandrusiak.

That means Keech has been around for 62 road trips.

Scheduled to arrive in Montreal yesterday by train, Keech will be with the Esks for the East Division final against the Alouettes at Olympic Stadium tomorrow (11 a.m. MST, TSN, CHED).

And if Edmonton pulls off the upset in Montreal on Saturday afternoon, he will return for the Grey Cup on Nov. 23 at the same venue.

"I love football and especially what the Edmonton Eskimos have done for me," said Keech before boarding the train.

"They have helped me out, they treat me like I am part of their team. The respect is unbelievable.

"I would go to the end of the world for them."

The club picks up the tab for Keech's hotel stays and covers his meal expenses.

Besides hauling equipment and helping Mandrusiak, Keech is also known for arriving at the team hotel ahead of the players to help facilitate the check-in process.

An educational assistant in Ottawa, Keech first formed a friendship with Mandrusiak at the 1981 Grey Cup.

Working for the Ottawa Rough Riders at that time in a part-time role, Keech still holds aspirations of being the full-time equipment manager for a new team in the nation's capital.

But for now, he's hoping to be with the Esks for a third Grey Cup game in six years if Edmonton wins tomorrow.


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