Many New Brunswick football fans are celebrating Sunday night's Grey Cup win by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and the success of two New Brunswick players on the team..
Jake Thomas of Douglas and Mike Miller of Riverview are both members of the Bombers team that defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 33-12 in Calgary, to capture the team's first league championship in 29 years.
"It was a pretty spectacular night," said Jamie Watson, who helped organize a watch party at the Capital Winter Curling Club in Fredericton.
"There was a lot of screaming."
Thomas is a 28-year-old starting defensive tackle for the Blue Bombers, at six feet two inches and 267 pounds, who was drafted by the Blue Bombers in 2012.
Watson said the team's defence had a fantastic game.
"He had a couple of tackles and … there were so many great moments that they showed Jake on TV and they spoke about him so many times."
After the game, Watson said, Thomas was involved in the traditional dumping of a large cooler of Gatorade over the coach's head.
And being the longest-serving Winnipeg Blue Bomber, he was the first to be handed the cup by the commissioner.
Miller is a 30-year-old fullback who stands six feet tall and weighs 207 pounds. He won his first Grey Cup in 2015 with the Edmonton Eskimos.
Special Teams Dynamo
"Everyone was very happy to see Mike come away with another championship," said Jason Terris, who gathered with other members of the Moncton Mustangs senior football team to watch the game at the Cheers Beverage Room.
"We're extremely happy. We're very excited and we're very proud of him."
Miller is known as one of the best special teams players in the league.
Miller is on the punt and kick coverage team, which means his job is to keep the opposition from getting long returns on kicking plays.
"He's saving lots of touchdowns out there with all the tackles he's made," said Terris.
Terris and Miller were team mates on the Mustangs and Terris also coached him at Riverview High School in 2006-2007.
"We all knew he was a very special player and would excel at the next level," Terris said.
"It's no surprise to anybody that he's having this success in the pros."
Miller matched the record for special team tackles in a game this year with seven.
"That's quite an accomplishment."
"He's got a quite a nose for the ball and is fearless out on the field."
Miller only needs nine special teams tackles to match the all-time Canadian Football League record.
Terris said Miller is well on his way and has a good chance of doing so with a couple of years left in his contract.
Good Year For Fredericton
Watson expects both players will be in Fredericton on Feb. 22 for a celebrity curling tournament and hopes they have the Grey Cup trophy with them.
Thomas started the event a couple of years ago and it has already raised more than $20,000 for young people who want to curl or play football, Watson said.
He also does a lot of charity work in Winnipeg, she said, for groups including Big Brothers Big Sisters.
"He's just a quality guy," she said.
The City of Fredericton can now boast two professional athletes named Jake who won big-league titles this year —Thomas's win following Jake Allen's Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues.
Allen and Thomas were friends in high school, said Watson.
She calls it "tremendous" that they are both bringing home championships in the same year.
"It's so nice to see so many people — my Facebook feed and my Twitter feed were full … of people celebrating," Watson said.
"We just can't wait to have him home now."