Here we Joe

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:16 AM ET

Two things happened to Joe Fleming last October that he thought he would never live to see.

First, the popular defensive lineman was traded from the Calgary Stampeders to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the only time in his long career he was part of a deal.

Then, the Boston-area native's beloved Red Sox did the impossible, coming back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the New York Yankees and win the World Series, breaking the 86-year-old curse of the Bambino.

But when it comes right down to it, picking up and leaving the Stampede City was more heart-wrenching for the 33-year-old than the baseball games.

"I had played the majority of my career in Calgary and considered myself a Stampeder," Fleming said. "That's where I was fortunate enough to win a Grey Cup with a great group of guys.

"I met some outstanding people there. It was very tough to leave those people but that's part of the business. You pick up and move on. It's never easy but you have to move forward. Now I'm building and forming those relationships here in Winnipeg."

The biggest thing that helped Fleming adjust to the move was he didn't go alone. It was late in 2004 when Fleming, fullback Scott Regimbald and safety Wes Lysack were shipped to the 'Peg for quarterback Khari Jones and fullback Randy Bowles.

Lysack grew up in Winnipeg and essentially went home, while Regimbald and Fleming had to adjust to a new city.

Fleming and Regimbald are close friends and have moved their lockers next to one another at Canad Inns Stadium. The new Bomber teammates joke they are joined at the hip, much like they were in Calgary.

"It's good to have a second wife," Fleming said with a chuckle. "It's been a lot of fun. When we got traded it was nice to have Wes and Scott help make the transition. Picking up and leaving so quick made it a lot easier."

At least Fleming had spent a couple of seasons with the Bombers in the late '90s, so he knew a few faces in the locker-room.

"It's been great," Fleming said. "I know a lot of the guys here and a lot of the administration people, so it's been an easy transition. There was also guys I used to play with as well, such Milt Stegall, Troy Westwood and Wade Miller."

As soon as Fleming got to Winnipeg, there was incredible excitement in his hometown. The Red Sox completely took over the news with their thrilling comeback against the Yankees but Fleming had to watch from afar.

"That was crazy," he said. "I would have like to have been there for it. I got all the messages from back home and all the feedback was pretty funny.

"But the stories are probably better than actually living through it."


Videos

Photos