If anyone doubted the value of playing on your home turf last week provided three perfect examples to make them a believer in home field advantage.
Three of the four winners last week were playing in their own backyard and even Edmonton, the only team to lose at home, was playing on new turf.
Last Friday the Ticats experienced first hand how tough a road game with a home crowd in full voice can be, and hope to reap some of those benefits when they return to Ivor Wynne Stadium on Saturday to play Calgary.
“The crowd noise in Winnipeg was intense, it definitely made it hard for us to hear the calls,” said Ticats offensive lineman George Hudson. “Hopefully our crowd can be just as enthusiastic as they were last week in Winnipeg.”
25,000 screaming fans don’t just make it hard for offensive linemen to get off the ball on time, they give the defence an extra boost.
“The energy our defence can get from the crowd, there’s nothing like it, it’s like a 5-hour energy to us,” said linebacker Markeith Knowlton.
“The crowd is a big part of helping us do what we have to do,” added Knowlton.
When Ivor Wynne is packed to the brim with the Ticat faithful, it’s the most intimidating place in the league to play.
“When it’s full here it’s so loud we can’t even hear our calls, sometimes we have to make up hand-signals, that’s how loud it is,” said Knowlton.
Despite a tough game last week, players are hopeful that they get a sell-out crowd for Saturday’s game.
“Hopefully last week was due to first game jitters or whatever, starting on the road like that,” said Hudson. “It’s been a while since we’ve had a packed house here so it would be nice to get a big crowd on Saturday,” added Hudson.
Everyone knows that when the fans fill the stands, they truly are the 13th man.
Opposing players know that the fans in Hamilton make Ivor Wynne a tough place to win, and a tough place to play.
“We haven’t had success at Ivor Wynne,” Calgary Quarterback Henry Burris told the Calgary Sun.
“It’s time to exorcise the demons and do what we can to make sure we get a victory this year.”
It’s also time for fans of Black and Gold to do what they can to make sure that doesn’t happen.