Stamps Dome-inated

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:00 PM ET

TORONTO -- Jay McNeil's first visit to Rogers Centre -- the building formerly known as SkyDome -- was the year it opened and the experience left a lasting impression.

Back in 1989, McNeil was just a teenager hanging out with his buddies in the upper deck watching the Toronto Blue Jays win on a walkoff homer.

Good thing he has that warm memory because there is nothing in recent history that would make McNeil and the rest of the Stampeders feel good heading into tonight's tilt against the Argonauts (5 p.m., CBC).

"In 13 years, you can count on one hand how many times we've won here," McNeil said.

"I don't know what it is. People might think this is a big city with lots of distractions ...

"There's more distractions in Montreal and we win there. We're hoping we won't have this conversation tomorrow."

The 9-5 Stamps can end that dismal losing streak -- dating back five games to 2000 -- tonight in Toronto, a week after they hammered the Argos 39-18 at McMahon Stadium.

But a year ago in Toronto, the Stamps seemed set to change their fortunes at Rogers Centre when Sandro DeAngelis lined up for a game-winning field goal.

DeAngelis missed, Bashir Levingston returned it for a touchdown and Calgary's weird luck continued.

That game was quarterback Henry Burris' first as a Stamps starter in Hogtown.

"We're a different team from last year," said Burris. "I like Toronto because of the big lights. It's the show and the biggest media centre in Canada. There are lot of things to do and you can play in front of a big crowd.

"I welcome playing here but we haven't won a game in a dome since I came to Calgary. This is our first one this year and we're a different team this year. I'm looking forward to it."

The Stamps haven't won in either Toronto or B.C. during the regular season since Tom Higgins took over as head coach, making one wonder if his team prefers the elements.

Higgins hopes to use a different method of motivation for his club in Toronto. The Stamps have plenty of players like McNeil who will have families in the stands at Rogers Centre.

"They don't come to see their son lose a football game," Higgins said. "We're ready to have a breakout game here. That being said, we have to line up and do it."


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