Sidel & Mayne
Noah Sidel & Shawn Mayne backstage at the 2009 GC parade

Dec. 4, 2009: NDG’s own Grey Cup champs

Neither of us were on the special-teams unit that sealed the deal for the Alouettes to win the 97th Grey Cup last November 29 in Calgary, AB., but both of us will be representing NDG proudly when we get our 2009 championship rings next spring.

Shawn Mayne and I grew up in this community together, went to Côte St. Luc’s Wagar High School together, and played sports together as kids – and then we went our separate ways before coming back together to celebrate one of the biggest highlights of our lives.

My path to the Grey Cup started when my dad and I bought season tickets to the Alouettes in 2000.

After cheering for the team faithfully since 1996 and then getting our seats in my first year of university, I was fortunate to snag an internship with the Als when I graduated from Concordia’s journalism program in 2004.

I was part of the 14-4 team that year that lost a surprising Eastern Final to the Toronto Argonauts and I was on the sidelines when we lost the Cup in overtime in Vancouver in 2005. I was there for our disappointing 2006 defeat to BC in Winnipeg, through the rough 8-10 year of 2007 and our Grey Cup loss at home in 2008.

All the while, I hadn’t heard much from Shawn.

Noah Sidel with the Grey Cup

To be honest, I didn’t even know he played football because we didn’t have a team at Wagar, but all the while, he was making a name for himself with the great Sun Youth organization and was able to parlay that into making the team at Vanier College. From there, he made the huge and impressive jump to the NCAA with the Connecticut Huskies where he played well enough to be drafted as a defensive end by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2006.

I still remember working the draft from the Als’ Big O offices when in the third round they announced “the next selection by the Tiger-Cats – from Connecticut, Shawn Mayne”… after which I immediately found myself not only blown away but extremely proud to see that a fellow NDGer would have a chance at being a CFL player.

Shawn quickly moved on to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the next time I heard from him aside from a quick chat on Facebook was in a hotel elevator the night before his Bombers met the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Toronto in the 2007 Grey Cup.

Winnipeg came out short that day and that was the last I had heard from the CFL’s only NDG-born-and-raised player until we traded for him midway through the 2009 season.

Since then we’ve had the chance to talk many times about growing up in the community, going to high school together, and most of all about how close we’ve both come to being part of a Grey Cup winner.

Well, as you surely know by now, this year our dream came true.

As a staff member who’s been with the team for so long, I can tell you that winning the Cup was the second-best moment of my life so far – second only to getting married this summer. I wasn’t on the field, I didn’t make any plays, and I didn’t impact the game directly, but our organization is the kind that shares its successes with everyone involved – and that includes having some precious time with the Grey Cup itself and getting a ring.
Shawn wasn’t on the field for the championship game either, but was an important contributor in the Eastern Division Final and throughout his time with the Als following the trade. He’ll actually have his name engraved on the Cup.

Both our journeys started a long time ago in the parks and streets of this community and now together, we are NDG’s Grey Cup champions!

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