This is part of a series of brief interviews with members of Canadian Premier League supporters’ groups across the country. Each supporters group was asked the same basic questions, in an attempt to get a proper feeling for the similarities and differences that we’ll see from supporters across the country when the league officially kicks off in 2019.
In addition, supporters groups were asked to provide a local beer, or a beer that best represents their group. As a result, these articles will have two parts: The Interview and The Beer.
Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself and the Pile O’ Bones.
A. We are a group of Regina and area residents who met through The Voyageurs. We have been travelling to watch Canadian Men’s and Women’s National Team games together for years. When rumours of CanPL began, it was a natural step for us to organize into a local Regina SG to support a future Saskatchewan team.
Q. What brought you to the group and soccer, in general?
A. I’ve always loved soccer but when I was younger had few ways to enjoy it regularly. It was only occasionally on TV and there were never any pro or national team games in Saskatchewan. However, as soccer got shown on TV more and more and with the connectivity of the internet, it became easier to watch, support, and find others who wanted to do the same.
Q. Are there any values and supporters vision attached to the Pile O’ Bones?
A. There are three principle values: 1) Inclusion 2) Love supporting soccer 3) Have fun
Q. Tell us about some of the initiatives the group is involved in?
A. We have been supporting local soccer events like the WCP Cup (Regina’s mini World Cup), and university women’s team. We also organized a pre/post game party and fan bus in conjunction with the Valencia – Cosmos friendly last summer. Finally, we raised funds for some recent refugee kids to help them pay for their soccer registration. Lately though we’ve been mostly on hiatus while we wait for CanPL league and team announcements.
Q. With no Canadian Premier League teams playing in 2018, is there another team that your group has been supporting?
A. We try and go watch the U of R women’s team and with CONCACAF League of Nations starting, some of us will travel to watch some of those games.
Q. What does your supporters group do on game day to make it a more exciting match?
A. We do the usual things like gather in a friendly pub, have a few beers, sing, chant, and cheer.
Q. Without a current CanPL team, how do you explain your passion to other people who may not understand the time and resources you dedicate to Pile O’ Bones?
A. I’m not sure if this is true of everyone who is in POB. But for me, supporting soccer is much bigger than just wanting to watch a local pro team. Soccer is a sport that connects the world to each other. It is cultural as well as sporting and competitive. However, soccer does not enjoy a place at the top of Canada’s sporting landscape. For me, supporting CanPL is as much about trying to do my part to advance soccer in Canada as anything else. So that’s why I’m dedicating time and energy to POB.
Q. One of the big question marks is where will they play. If CanPL launches a team in Regina, in your opinion where would be an ideal venue, (or venue location if you think something new needs to be built)?
A. Although Mosaic Stadium is a world class venue, in my opinion it would be too large initially to host a CanPL soccer team. As has been rumoured for other CanPL teams, a new, modular stadium seems the best fit and there are several pieces of land around Regina’s downtown that would be perfect. Not only would they be great for a stadium (old Taylor Field used to be a stadium in fact and now that land is empty), but they would tie in well with the more urban, pedestrian oriented culture that goes hand in hand with supporting soccer.
Q. When I contacted you, I asked that you send a local beer, or a beer that best represents the supporters of Regina. Why was this your pick and where could our readers go to try some?
A. I picked the first canned offering from the appropriately named Pile O’ Bones Brewery, their Peanut Butter Milk Stout. Besides the obvious connection with the name, POB Brewery is simply a great local brewery and we try to support local business as well as local footy. For those outside Regina though, it would be quite difficult to buy. They do growler fills from their brewery and at the farmer’s market and only recently have they started selling cans in liquor stores. To try and get yourself some it would be best to visit their website – https://www.pileobonesbrewing.com/ – and go from there.
Q. Let’s face it, bars and pubs are definitely big for local and visiting supporters. Tell us a little about the pub or bar that Pile O’ Bones prefer, and a place where you might recommend a visiting supporter to try out. (Can be same)
I would recommend two places: 1) The Lobby Kitchen and Bar has supported local soccer ever since it has opened and welcomes the local Voyageurs whenever there is a national team game to watch. They also regularly host soccer watch parties for big events like World Cup or Champions League.
2) O’ Hanlon’s Irish Pub is also very soccer friendly and is where my men’s league game usually goes post match. They have a great selection of POB and other beers (POB brewery is in the basement of O’ Hanlon’s) so we always get a chance to try the new offerings from the brewery. They also host soccer watch parties from time to time.
Q. Besides the home supporters section during a match, is there a place that visiting supporters may be tempted to visit, but should actually avoid. Why?
A. Despite Regina’s reputation, it actually is a much safer and friendlier city than it appears. And honestly, in the first few years of CanPL, if there were visiting supporters coming to Regina we would welcome them anywhere before and after the match. While the game was on though, they should simply stay out of the supporters end.
Q. Finally, how can people join your group? Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A. There are about a dozen regulars and several that are intrigued. But in all honesty, we have been saving most of our energy and ideas for when the league launches. Once it does, I suspect it will be much easier to explain what we are about and will welcome in many more members.
Pile O’ Bones chose to send me a couple of Peanut Butter Milk Stouts from the aptly named Pile O’ Bones Brewing Company. The brewer has just begun canning their beer, which makes this one of their early cans, with a very simple sticker-label.
One of my favourite types of beer, stouts are dark and heavy, typically with 7% or 8% alcohol. A milk stout actually contains lactose, which is bad news for people who are lactose-intolerant, but provides sweetness, body, and energy for the rest of us. According to Wikipedia, at one point in time milk stouts were actually recommended to nursing mothers to help with milk production.
I was a little worried the peanut butter flavour would be overpowering, but Pile O’ Bones managed to keep it in check, allowing the flavour to compliment instead of overpower the beer. Milky and smooth, this Peanut Butter Stout is a good, full-bodied beer. Despite this, I couldn’t see having more than one or two in a sitting, as the taste tends to stick to your mouth, much like peanut butter.
This well-rounded drink earned a 4.00/5.00 from me on Untapped, but sits at 3.73/5.00 overall on the beer drinker’s social network.
Are you from Regina and have different suggestions for visiting supporters? Let us know in the comments
If you think a different brew would better represent the area, feel free to message the author for his mailing information and send him a can.
The next article in this series will be released in 2-weeks. Be sure to check back.