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CFL players could face poor conditions Sunday

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

November 19, 2010 — As CFL players prepare for the West Final showdown on Sunday, they'll have some bitterly cold and snowy conditions to contend with.

Snow covers parts of the field at McMahon Stadium in Calgary, AB
Snow covers parts of the field at McMahon Stadium in Calgary, AB

It's been a week filled with heavy snow, gusty winds and bone-chilling temperatures - not exactly the practice conditions the Calgary Stampeders were hoping for.

On Thursday, temperatures dipped to -16°C at snow-covered McMahon Stadium, where the players were practicing ahead of this Sunday's big game. With the winds, it felt closer to -30°C.

Burke Dales is the punter of the Calgary Stampeders. He told The Weather Network that conditions were less than ideal for practicing.

“What we've experienced today is the worst because it's windy, it's cold, it's snowing. The balls turns into cinder-blocks, so they hurt the feet when you kick them. But again it's out of our control.”

On Sunday, Calgary will once again be experiencing daytime highs in the minus mid teens, with lows into the minus twenties. Dales says it will be tough playing in the West Division Final against the Saskatchewan Roughriders in those conditions.

The Calgary Stampeders practice in bitterly cold temperatures
The Calgary Stampeders practice in bitterly cold temperatures

“It's all mental, and what I do is try to convince myself that I enjoy kicking in conditions like this,” he says. “But at the end of the day I can't stand it. It's terrible!”

Stampeders coach John Hufnagel, on the other hand, says the weather won't be the biggest concern for his players.

“They're getting used to it. In fact, they'll be so full of adrenaline ... that I don't think they'll feel much of the cold.”

At the end of the day, Dales says he'll push past the cold conditions.

“You know what, it's all about having fun, as cliche as that sounds, and we know it's probably going to be around minus 15 minus 20 on Sunday, so we can't control that,” says Dales. “I'm just going to try to trick my mind to believe that I actually like it.”

But will he be wearing short-sleeves on the field, like some of the other players have suggested?

“Not a chance in hell,” laughed Dales. “I'll have about 18 layers on.”

For more details on this Sunday's weather, be sure to check your local forecast. You can also tune into The Weather Network on TV, where the National Forecast comes up at the top and bottom of every hour.

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