Morreale: ‘It literally was gone. We left the Grey Cup there’
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats had just won the 1999 Grey Cup. They were celebrating their victory at a club in downtown Vancouver with the coveted trophy that they earned after defeating the Calgary Stampeders.
All was well until they got back to their hotel and realized that the Grey Cup was nowhere to be found.
As fomer Ticat receiver Mike Morreale tells Donnovan Bennett on this week’s episode of The Waggle, the trophy was saved by none other than NBA superstar Charles Barkley.
Here’s the fully story told by Morreale:
“We were at the Roxy after we won in 1999 and we were having a good time. (Charles) Barkley was in town because, if I’m not mistaken, the Grizzlies were playing or there was something going on with the NBA and he was in town. Of course he joined our party as we were having a good time. Then, as things usually happened with our team, we just dispersed and guys went in 100 different directions. We usually got back in the morning and told stories, the only thing was we didn’t have the prize possession. It literally was gone. We left the Grey Cup there.
“I think Chris Burns and Charles befriended each other and the next thing you know it ended up back in the hotel in the morning. Thank goodness ’cause we had to bring home on the plane that day. That was kind of indicative… as tremendous as winning the Grey Cup was and the feeling of exhilaration of holding that above your head, the best and most important thing for me was winning with my teammates and bringing that championship back to Hamilton.
“The trophy is just a symbol of it. I wish we would’ve brought it home with us that night but it was also a bit of an afterthought because we were just so wrapped up in just each other and how important it was and how happy we were for not the guys who got it and had done it before, certainly happy for them. A guy like Derek MacCready, never had a chance, we signed him late in the season. Boom, he gets a chance to retire a Grey Cup Champion. Or the guys that were just starting off or Ron adding another championship to Big Ron’s pile. All of those things were so important that we forgot sometimes about the little things, which in most people’s eyes would be the most important thing and that’s the trophy itself.”