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'People are ready': Dayna Spiring's journey to Grey Cup history

Last Updated Jan 30, 2020 at 2:37 pm MST

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. Spiring is the first woman in Grey Cup history to have her name appear on the trophy. (Tyler Walsh/CP/HO-Economic Development Winnipeg)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Last fall, when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers captured the 107th Grey Cup, the club not only snapped a 29-year championship drought — it also made history.

Dayna Spiring, chair of the Blue Bombers board of directors, became the first woman to have her name etched on the championship trophy.

“It was with about two minutes left when I let myself think about the fact that we’d won that game,” she recalled of her experience at the title match in Calgary last fall. “It’s surreal. To see our players, to see how they were cheering each other on and to see our coaches. People had worked so far for so long, literally blood, sweat and tears.”

FULL INTERVIEW: 660 NEWS’s Sandra Prusina speaks with Dayna Spiring

Half a decade ago, when Spiring joined the Blue Bombers’ board of directors, she never expected to be a trailblazer. She was content with her journey from vice-chair and later to the board’s chair.

“I never would’ve dreamed five years ago, or before I joined the board, it never would’ve come into my thought that I would’ve been hoisting a Grey Cup,” she admitted of making sporting history. “It certainly caught me by surprise.”

A lawyer by trade and current president and CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg, her background was a natural fit with the Blue Bombers.

“I’m a corporate commercial and securities lawyer and evolved from that after my years in private practice,” Spiring said. “I report to a board in my day to day job, and I chair a board in my volunteer work. I understand that a good board has its nose in and fingers out.”

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She hopes her unexpected journey will inspire other women to get involved in sports.

“Sports teams have the ability to unite a community,” she said. “I believe that strong sports teams often reflect communities that are strong. I was asked to be a part of it and use the skill set that I use in my day to day job for the Winnipeg football club.

“Sometimes we don’t open the door of possibility to understanding that we can serve on those boards and do those tasks. People have come up to me and said, ‘I think it’s so cool a woman has her name on the Grey Cup.’ I think there’s a presumption that the world isn’t ready. I think that presumption is wrong. People are ready and open to have new people be a part of their organization.”