When the Calgary Stampeders took on the B.C. Lions in preseason action at McMahon Stadium on a damp, cold, Friday night, not many people were expecting anything but the same old from a CFL tuneup game. For the fans that braved the cold and sat through the downpour of rain before the game, they witnessed something not seen very often in the league.
Very rarely does a Canadian quarterback get the opportunity to play in his native country, and it’s even more rare to see him do it in his own city. For Stampeders seventh round pick Andrew Buckley, he was able to live out a life long dream and suit up in his hometown red and white. Buckley was sent into the game in the second half and made the most of his opportunity. Sure, it was only the preseason, but for Buckley the moment and memories from that game will last a lifetime. The former University of Calgary standout didn’t disappoint with his performance either, going 8 for 10 for 72 yards.
“I was a little nervous at first,” Buckley said standing on the field under the lights after the final gun. “But once I got the first throw in it calmed things down, and it, was just a matter of getting used to the speed. Overall for my first pro game I was pretty happy with it.”
“They moved the ball well,” Hufnagel said after the game. “They didn’t make any huge mistakes, and got us into scoring position.”
But for Buckley it was so much more then just making plays and trying to make a statement. He got the opportunity to put the same jersey on as the team he grew up watching and dreaming to one day be a part of. What made the moment even more special? The fact that he was able to do it in front of family and friends.
“I kept looking up to see if I could see my parents in the crowd,” Buckley said. “It was so cool to have them here, I probably had over 30 people here watching.”
For most people that would be a lot of pressure, but based on Buckley’s performance, pressure is something that doesn’t bother him. For now, no one knows where he will end up playing this season, knowing how deep the defending Grey Cup champs are at quarterback. One thing is for sure, though: wherever he does play he will excel just as he did last season when he threw for over 2000 yards with 18 touchdowns for the Dinos. Wherever Buckley’s career takes him, the memory of stepping on the field for his hometown team last night will remain forever and can never be taken away.
The Stampeders will wrap up their preseason schedule Friday, June 19th against the Saskatchewan Roughriders before beginning their defence of the Grey Cup June 26th when they kick of the regular season against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.