Many Saskatchewan Roughrider fans may be waking up with hoarse voices Monday morning, including a few hundred who came to the Regina Airport on Sunday night to greet the new Western Conference champs.
They were there to cheer on the team that defeated the Calgary Stampeders 20-16 on the road hours earlier in the Canadian Football League playoff game.
The Roughriders will now play the Montreal Alouettes in next weekend's Grey Cup in Edmonton.
At the packed airport, fans waited until after midnight early Monday for their team to arrive. Cheers went up as the players stepped off the plane.
“Man this is great — airport full of green,” remarked a beaming Darian Durant, the Riders' quarterback.
The crowd reaction impressed linebacker Jerrell Freeman.
“Our fans are great,” Freeman said. “You can see right here. It's 12 o'clock, they got people still out here going crazy still. We just love it, like I said, man.”
The whole team got cheers, but Freeman himself got a lot of attention at the airport.
The linebacker helped secure the victory, pouncing on a Riders fumble in the end zone late in the game.
Elsewhere in Regina, hundreds more swarmed out onto the streets in -15 C. conditions to blow horns, wave flags and high-five each other.
Crowds were particularly thick along the stretch of Albert Street dubbed the Green Mile, so named after the Riders won the Grey Cup in 2007.