Eskies work in reverse

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:28 AM ET

For 32 years, the Edmonton Eskimos have tromped from their locker-room to practise outside Commonwealth Stadium every day, most recently a lengthy hike over to Clarke Park.

This year at training camp, they’ll do it in reverse.

With construction of their new state-of-the-art dressing room likely to go right up to their first regular season game July 3, the Eskimos will use the four dressing rooms at Clarke for camp. But they’ll hoof it over to Commonwealth Stadium every day from the start of camp on June 6 until they play their first pre-season game on their new FieldTurf Duraspine Pro which is currently being installed.

Indeed, the Eskimos, will parade over from Clarke in full game gear for the pre-season game against the Calgary Stampeders June 13 and stay there during halftime before heading back to Clarke when the game is over.

“We feel we’ll be better off to let them finish the dressing room job rather than work around it,” said Eskimos CEO Rick LeLacheur of the construction crew.

For more than one reason, the Eskimos intend to be on the new surface right from the start of camp every day through until they have to depart to make way for the U2 concert June 23 and again for the Bon Jovi concert July 15.

“The first thing is that we want our players getting as much time on the field to build as much home field advantage as we can get in such a short period of time,” said LeLacheur, who adds the team will now hold all future practices in the same place they play.

“The second is that it takes a while for the sand and recycled rubber pellets to work their way into place. There’s a lot of loose sand and rubber for the first while. It’s good to put a lot of traffic on it to settle everything down,” added the CEO who laughed that the bonus is an extra conditioning component added by the players having to climb up the stands to the concourse at the end of each practice.

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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