Feature Story Tuesday, January 31, 2012
The Cup Runneth All Over
BC Lions players give Chilliwack kids and fans a thrill Sunday
Travis Denke and his young brother get a kick Sunday at the YMCA with BC Lions players who brought the cup to the Chilliwack YMCA.
C Lions passer Travis Lulay and kicker Paul McCallum were at the YMCA Sunday with the Grey Cup Tour. The entourage hit 3 towns prior to winding up for the day in Chilliwack where they were met by a gym full of excited kids.
McCallum broke the league record for most consecutive field goals and Lulay was selected the league's Most Outstanding Player and was MVP in the 2012 Grey Cup game.
McCallum and laughed and joked with the kids in the gym, occasionally stopping to pose for photos and show off the bling he picked up 4-years ago in Winnipeg. Lulay was sporting a Rolex. They earned it. More importantly, taking the cup to BC towns and cities connects kids to sports and gives fans a chance for a moment up close and personal with big league athletes.
Gordon Hoag, MLA for Surrey-White Rock, was on the Grey Cup Planning Committee and as parliamentary caucus chair, he's responsible for non-profit agencies and volunteers.
Travis Lulay (L) and Paul McCallum autograph calendars and chat with fans Sunday at the Chilliwack YMCA.
Taking the cup on tour was Hoag's brainchild, and he shared the story with the Voice as to how that came about.
“This tour is a joint effort between the Province of BC and the BC Lions,” said Hoag. “We did this when they won the Grey Cup in Winnipeg,” said Hoag.
"I was talking to Bobby Ackles and asked whether or not the cup had ever travelled around the province, and he checked with the league, and that had never happened. We're doing that again this time in an effort to share the cup with people around the province."
Hoag says it's about celebrating the power of volunteerism and sport in the community.
Another side of the tour is raising money for KidsSport which provides funding to low-income families who can't afford the registration fees to get their kids in sport.
Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz (L) and pal Taryn Dixon leave the YMCA exhilarated after meeting Lions players and seeing the cup.
"It's nice to see a lot of really young kids here and see them engaged in it," he said. "As we started I had Travis shoot it up, a free-throws against two of the boys here and the young boys I think did a little better job than Travis, it was nice to see the kids wanting to take him on."
Hoag said McCallum is actively involved in the community as a spokesperson for Violence Against Women and their Lions in the House anti-bullying program where players visit schools.
For more information about the Grey Cup Tour and a map of where it's been on the tour, visit: www.yourcup.ca
For information about Kidsport, visit: www.kidsportcanada.ca
See more photos below.
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