With 50,000 fans in the stands and hundreds of thousands more watching on the tube, Friday night truly may be a big night for the CFL. The Eskimos take on the Calgary Stampeders, in a rematch of last Monday’s Labour Day game at McMahon stadium. And while last Monday’s score of 25-7 in favour of the Eskies won’t cause many new fans to fight for the control of the clicker, the chance to watch Mike Pringle chase down George Reeds record surely will.
Pringle, who has quietly made his presence known in the CFL over the years, is on the verge of putting his name into the record books. Pringle is a mere 116 yards away from breaking George Reeds long time record of 16,116 yards, and if Jason Maas is smart about things, putting the ball in Pringles hands could pay of twice in this game, Should Pringle score two touchdowns he will also tie Reeds record for touchdowns at 135, making for a night of great celebration in Edmonton.
The former Saskatchewan great will be in the crowd watching ready to hail the new record holder should things fall into place at Commonwealth Friday night. One of the icons of Canadian football, Reeds record may fall, but he’ll forever be remembered for his powerful stride, running over tacklers rather than around them. Part of the great years on the prairies were Reed, Lancaster and a guy named Hugh Campbell, amongst others. The style of the boys from Regina, attracted many CFL fans to the cause of the Green Riders, the birth of Rider Pride in place across Canada can be traced to those great years of the sixties.
Campbell who is now President of the Eskies, has fond memories of Reed and marvelled at his style and the power he could summon on the field. Interestingly enough he says the fellow that is about to move into the record books is of a similar build and style, a worthy challenger to the rushing crown.
Friday night will be a great night for those in attendance at Commonwealth, Eskie fans are some of the best in the league and appreciate talent, having seen so much of it over the years. But more importantly for Pringle is going to be the presence of one special fan, his Mother has made the trip to Edmonton for the game, should he roll up the yardage and find the end zone Friday, Mrs. Pringle is going to see just how important her son has been to the Canadian Football League. And that may be worth more than any listing in a record book.
Pringle will have his work cut out for him though; the Stampeder defence is a unit that has been one of the few shining lights in Calgary this year and will no doubt play with pride once again. And while we certainly don’t wish bad luck on them, here’s hoping that Pringle has the game of his life Friday night. Records have to fall sometime, it’s always rewarding when they go to someone deserving of the accolades.