Bombers Spiring makes history as 1st woman to have name engraved on Grey Cup

Chair of Winnipeg Blue Bombers board of directors Dayna Spiring joins Winnipeggers on downtown streets Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, to celebrate the end of a Grey Cup drought that lasted almost three decades. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Economic Development Winnipeg, Tyler Walsh)
Winnipeg Blue Bombers Adam Bighill hoists the Grey Cup as the team arrives at the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport on Monday, November 25, 2019 after winning the Grey Cup Sunday night. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski
Winnipeg will be hosting a parade on Nov. 26, 2019 to celebrate the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ Grey Cup win. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ Adam Bighill celebrates winning the 107th Grey Cup against the Hamilton Tiger Cats in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, November 24, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ Andrew Harris celebrates winning the 107th Grey Cup against the Hamilton Tiger Cats in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, November 24, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
As Winnipeg Blue Bombers board chair Dayna Spiring, right, the first woman to be put on the Grey Cup, looks on, quarterback Zach Collaros, left, takes a photo with a fan before the parade as Winnipeggers crowd the downtown streets Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, to celebrate the end of a Grey Cup drought that lasted almost three decades. The city is hosting a parade this afternoon after the Winnipeg Blue Bombers won their 11th Grey Cup with a 33-12 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday in Calgary. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Dayna Spiring never expected to have her name engraved on the Grey Cup when she joined the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ board of directors five years ago.

She was even more surprised to find out last week that having her name etched onto the CFL championship trophy would make history.

Spiring, who worked her way up to Chair of the Board this January, became the first woman to have her name appear on the Grey Cup after the Bombers beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the title game on Sunday.

“It’s surprising in a lot of ways and it’s about time in a lot of ways,” Spiring said Tuesday in a phone interview with The Canadian Press, moments after addressing a crowd at the Bombers championship rally in Winnipeg.

“I knew in January that I was the first woman to chair the Winnipeg Football Club. … But I watch now and Edmonton has a woman (Janice Agrios) who is chair of their organization, so you see the tides turning and you see the fact that opportunities do exist.

“And I think it’s on women to stand up and take their place there.”

Spiring, born in Brandon, Man., moved to Winnipeg at age 11 and grew up watching the Blue Bombers.

She joined the team’s board of directors upon the urging of former Chair David Asper — who Spiring called “an iconic Winnipegger” — through a public nomination process in 2015.

“I was honoured but also a little bit hesitant and I said to David: ‘I’m never going to be able to tell you who should be quarterback on this team,’” Spiring said. ”And he laughed and said ‘we have enough people to tell us that. We need you on the board for your business skills’ … so I took him up on that.”

READ MORE: Grey Cup parade to take over downtown Winnipeg

The Bombers finished the 2019 regular season in third place in the West, and had to get past the division-best Saskatchewan Roughriders to earn their spot in the Grey Cup.

They then dismantled the league-best Tiger-Cats 33-12 in the championship game Sunday in Calgary, snapping a 29-year Grey Cup drought.

Spiring learned last Thursday from Jeff McWhinney, the keeper of the Cup, that her name would be engraved on the trophy if Winnipeg won.

“He was at an event that I was at and he said: ‘Dayna, do you know what happens if the Bombers win on Sunday?’ And I kinda laughed and said ‘yeah, we’re going to be Grey Cup champions and it’ll be great,’” Spiring said. ”And then he told me that I would be the first woman to have her name engraved on the Grey Cup and I got goosebumps.

“He said: ‘for everyone who has daughters that are playing flag football, this changes the game for them,’ and I could see that it was meaningful for him. Just seeing the emotion in him reinforced it for me and it was a pretty special moment.”

The Grey Cup engraving policy for a community-owned CFL team includes the names of the president, GM, coach and players as well as the Chair of the Board.

Spiring, who also serves as the President and CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg, is the second woman to chair a CFL team after Jo-Anne Polak held that position with the Ottawa Rough Riders from 1989 to 1991.

Spiring was at McMahon Stadium Sunday night to watch the 107th Grey Cup. And while she got to hoist the trophy on the field afterwards, she said she was thinking more of the team victory in that moment.

“I was thrilled for all those players who had worked so hard and played with a gear that I had never seen them play with before,” she said. “And then I was so proud to be able to come back to Winnipeg to celebrate with this city because 29 years is too long to wait for a championship.

“This is our time and it is completely amazing to be a part of it.”

Melissa Couto, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Coastal GasLink pipe continues to arrive in Terrace

Shipped by rail from Saskatchewan

No injuries reported following propane leak in Terrace

Hwy 16 closed off, businesses evacuated as emergency crews responded

Coastal GasLink stresses pipeline ‘on a schedule’ as B.C. appoints liaison for Wet’suwet’en

670-kilometre pipeline is schedule to be completed by end of 2023

Tough year ahead for the aluminium industry

U.S. market is still Canada’s most important

Kitselas receive $1.2M boost for apprenticeship development program, open to Tsimshian and Haisla Nations

Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education announces $7.5M for six Indigenous training programs

VIDEO: Feds look to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

Alessia Cara to host and perform at 2020 Juno Awards

Multi-platinum Canadian singer-songwriter also up for six awards, including Artist of the Year

Most Read