Margaret is tired of missing Edmonton Elks games.
A regular at Commonwealth Stadium since it opened in 1978, the St. Albertan in her 70s is hoping to form new friendships with football fans of any age ahead of the upcoming football season.
“My husband and I had tickets for years, and he died eight years ago,” Margaret said. “I kept the tickets for a while but then I couldn’t find anyone to go with me.”
She requested her last name not be published for privacy's sake.
“I don’t think we even had children yet, and my son is 51,” Margaret said when asked how long she's been attending games. “I just always enjoyed it.”
Now, with a son more interested in hockey, a son-in-law swept up with baseball and old friends who lost faith when the Green and Gold started slumping in recent years, “I’m left on my own,” she said. “I’m not going to go there by myself.”
Margaret is hoping to start an informal booster club for the upcoming season, and is putting a call out for any Elks fan interested or in need of some new game companions.
Margaret's ideal fellow fans should not be heavy drinkers, though. “I don’t mind a social drink, believe me, but some people at the games over indulge, and I don’t want that,” she said, adding game-goers need not be afraid to tell the team to smarten up. “I'm not going to sit there quiet, that's for sure. I don’t do face painting but I usually wear the jersey.”
Margaret said her fondest football memories include 2002 when Shania Twain performed the halftime show at the Grey Cup, which that year was held at Commonwealth Stadium and unfortunately saw the Montreal Alouettes and CFL Hall of Fame quarterback Anthony Calvillo defeat the hometown favourites 25-16.
“It was freezing, we were all wrapped up tight watching this game, and her at halftime, oh, I remember it particularly,” she said.
Elks staffer Tom McIntyre says he's heard from fans in similar positions as Margaret, so he's hoping there's enough community interest for the Elks to start a program to bring together long-time fans in one section of the stadium each game.
“We'd like to get to a point, (and) we're not there yet, to have almost a private area for them,” he said.
Anybody interested in joining Margaret at the stadium this year can contact McIntyre at 587-414-0599, or email [email protected].
Margaret hopes to recruit a few fans this year, “Whatever we can get, even if we start with just three or four.”
The City of St. Albert is partnering with ETS to provide a free local park-and-ride service leaving from the Nakî Transit Centre for all Elks home games this season. Those interested in using the service will only need to show a valid game ticket to hop on a bus.
The Elks kick-off the 2023 season on Sunday, June 11, when the Saskatchewan Roughriders come to town.