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  #121  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2017, 3:40 AM
elly63 elly63 is offline
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Saskatchewan RCMP chirps Bombers while getting drinking and driving message out
3Down Staff December 30, 2017

The Saskatchewan detachment of the RCMP used a little good-natured chirping to deliver a drinking-and-driving prevention message on Facebook.



While there’s likely to be some grumping about the professionalism of the campaign, the post has already been widely shared and commented on… meaning its an effective way to get out an important message. And it would appear the Saskatchewan RCMP have a bit of a cheeky streak. #notacop



Anyway, it’s probably worth mentioning that the Bombers finished 12-6, two games ahead of the Riders in the West Division last season (and won the Banjo Bowl.)

Hope that doesn’t get us locked up.
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  #122  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2017, 2:51 PM
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^ Not surprisingly, Manitoba RCMP is 1000 times more clever

Quote:
RCMP Manitoba‏
@rcmpmb

In a RUSH to travel MILES for today’s #Bomber game? It should be a GIVENS, but DRESSLER warm & don’t FOKETI your COATES. It’s not FOGG like in DENMARK, but the weather could get WILD. And if you spend your NICHOLS on MILLER, pls WALKER & don’t drive. Too CORNEY? #ForTheW #rcmpmb

6:35 AM - 12 Nov 2017
696 Retweets 2,254 Likes
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  #123  
Old Posted Jan 3, 2018, 5:05 PM
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https://www.tsn.ca/ticats-send-qb-co...iders-1.957824

Zach Collaros traded to Sask for #10 pick.

I'm torn, I feel that given an honest chance he could have done well in Hamilton again. Too many other politics and forces at play, plus we never see the same things the coaches do, for that to happen I guess. I think Zach has an excellent shot at lighting it up elsewhere. A fresh start should do him wonders.

The upside: didn't have to pay the huge bonus, got something in return, and he didn't end up at a Eastern rival. We now have money to sign Masoli, sign Tasker, Banks, and other FAs, and find a backup QB. Manziel or other, I don't care either way with that, as long as JM2 has to earn his spot.
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  #124  
Old Posted Jan 3, 2018, 5:32 PM
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So what does this mean in Sask? Do Collaros and Bridge (assuming he doesn't go south) fight it out for the starter job? Bridge really showed amazing potential so if he stays in Canada I would think he'd put up a solid case for being the starter... I wouldn't think it would be a slam dunk for Collaros. What does it mean for Glenn? I don't think he'd be ready to pack it in just yet... no one will name him a starter in June but you can bet he'd be in some demand come Labour Day once injuries become a factor.

How about Hamilton? Is Masoli the guy unless Manziel shows up in which case the two of them fight it out for the starter's job?
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  #125  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 2:17 AM
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So what does this mean in Sask? Do Collaros and Bridge (assuming he doesn't go south) fight it out for the starter job? Bridge really showed amazing potential so if he stays in Canada I would think he'd put up a solid case for being the starter... I wouldn't think it would be a slam dunk for Collaros. What does it mean for Glenn? I don't think he'd be ready to pack it in just yet... no one will name him a starter in June but you can bet he'd be in some demand come Labour Day once injuries become a factor.

How about Hamilton? Is Masoli the guy unless Manziel shows up in which case the two of them fight it out for the starter's job?
I think Collaros and Bridge (who did sign) battle it out for the starters job

Kevin Glenn backs up Mike Reilly in Edmonton and makes a run at a Cup

Either Manziel and Masoli battle it out in Hamilton or one of them ends up in Montreal....

James Franklin can still be a wild card too if Ricky Ray resigns too
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  #126  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 3:32 PM
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  #127  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 4:01 PM
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Aside from the above CFL connection (American Zylstra) five Canadians have signed/re-signed with NFL teams within the past few weeks which kinda counters the red herring the CFL haterz have as to the quality of football played in Canada. Boyko is the only NCAA player on the list below.

Geoff Gray signed to Browns’ active roster
John Hodge 3downnation December 12, 2017

Saskie native Brett Boyko promoted to Chargers active roster
3Down Staff 3downnation.com December 18, 2017

Riders neg lister and Canadian rugby star Adam Zaruba signs with Eagles
3Down Staff 3downnation January 3, 2018

Canadian DB Elie Bouka released by Riders, signs with Philadelphia Eagles
Justin Dunk 3downnation January 3, 2018

Canadian DL Stefan Charles signs with Kansas City Chiefs
3Down Staff 3downnation January 3, 2018

While Canadians (the majority of which are USports trained) and landing everywhere in the NFL, it seems like the Jets, Giants and maybe now Eagles are particularly Canadian friendly, especially the Giants who have annual mass Canadian tryouts.
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  #128  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 4:04 PM
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100% certain that someone will want Glenn as insurance but you have to wonder how much longer he wants to live this lifestyle of packing up and moving every year? With his businesses it's not like he even needs the income from playing anymore.

I guess the Masoli announcement was imminent after Collaros left.

I'm not surprised that Zylstra got picked up by a NFL team.

So how much longer until the big press conference in Hamilton?
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  #129  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 4:10 PM
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Now Justin Dunk is reporting that James Franklin has signed a 2 year deal with the Argos......so is Ricky Ray done?

http://3downnation.com/2018/01/04/ar...ames-franklin/

Who is left for the Als to sign?
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  #130  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 4:18 PM
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^ I don't know, but the Als have the makings of a total tire fire. Buck Pierce reportedly refused the OC's job there - smart decision on his part.
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  #131  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 4:19 PM
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Incidentally, this is pretty much shaping up to be the greatest off season ever. I can't remember a time where it has been non-stop off field action like this at a time when there is usually jack all going on.
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  #132  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 4:21 PM
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^ You're absolutely right about the Als, what a bloody mess in Montreal. I guess the only option right now is to stick with Durant for one more year. Who knows, insulating him with better players and a competent coaching staff you might get some productivity out of Durant but I doubt it. I think his arm has retired based on the number of throws that came up well short last year.

Glenn should go to Toronto to help Franklin while he waits for the Schooners to arrive? JK about the last part.
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  #133  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 4:25 PM
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^ You're absolutely right about the Als, what a bloody mess in Montreal.
Don't think it's all that bad...

New Alouettes coaching staff features plenty of CFL experience
3Down Staff 3downnation.com January 3, 2018

New Montreal Alouettes head coach Mike Sherman has hired a coaching staff with plenty of CFL experience.

The team announced their coordinators on Wednesday and they include former CFL quarterback and ex-B.C. Lions offensive coordinator Khari Jones in charge of the offence, ex-Stampeders defensive backs coach Khalil Carter as defensive coordinator, former Concordia University Stingers head coach Mickey Donovon as special teams coordinator and CFL veteran coach Rich Stubler as the “special advisor to the defensive coordinator.”

Jones played 11 years for five CFL teams then started his coaching career in 2009 with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He spent two years as quarterbacks coach, then one year as offensive coordinator in Hamilton before moving on to the Saskatchewan Roughriders where he won a Grey Cup in 2013. He has been the offensive coordinator in B.C. the last four seasons.

Carter has three seasons of positional coach experience with the Calgary Stampeders and has been in the coaching racket for almost a decade, including stints as a defensive coordinator in the Arena league. Calgary’s defence allowed the fewest touchdowns and yards against through the air this year and he’s considered one of the up-and-coming young coaches in the league. Carter is a former CFL player – including a stint under Stubler with the Argonauts – and also suited up for the Alouettes.

Donovan has been the Concordia head coach since 2014 but his CFL experience is limited to guest coaching stints in Winnipeg (2011) and Toronto (2013.) Alouettes team president Patrick Boivin was the athletic director with the Stingers for a time while Donovan was the head coach.

Stubler has spent more than 30 years in the CFL, winning five Grey Cups and well-known as one of the game’s most experienced defensive coordinators. He has a close relationship with general manager Kavis Reed and will likely play a mentor role for Carter in his first year as a defensive coordinator in the CFL.

Sherman, who was hired in December by the Alouettes, talked about the importance of CFL experience at his opening press conference. He’s certainly got it now.
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  #134  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 4:29 PM
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For those who may be unfamiliar with Zaruba, here's some of the reasons why the Eagles liked him and called him back.

Video Link


Video Link


Video Link
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  #135  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 5:56 PM
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Chris Getzlaf retires today, what a great career and important player for the CFl over the past decade.
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  #136  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2018, 7:19 PM
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I always smiled when Ryan Getzlaf would say he was the second biggest celebrity in his home town Saskatchewan.
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  #137  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2018, 4:38 AM
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Some fun memories checking out this site StatsCrew Canadian Football League Team Rosters and Statistics

Here's some CFL roster trivia for the 1953 Edmonton Eskimos

Let's start with the pro wrestlers/promotors: Gene Kiniski, Wilbur (Bill) Snyder and Joe Blanchard (father of Tully)
Then there's the politicos: Normie Kwong (Lieutenant Governor of Alberta) and Steve Paproski (Federal Minister of State for Fitness and Amateur Sport and Minister of State for Multiculturalism)
And the coaches: Eagle Keys and Eskimo head coach Darrell Royal (later legendary Texas head coach)
And to top it off 1952 Heisman Trophy winner Billy Vessels
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  #138  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2018, 5:00 AM
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Would Halifax support pro football?
FRANCIS CAMPBELL The Chronicle Herald January 1, 2018

‘We feel that we could actually support a stadium that holds upwards of 30,000’

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part four of a series on the latest attempt to bring a CFL team to Halifax.

PART 1: CFL in Halifax: A gamble with lots of field to cover
PART 2: Stadium talks dominates CFL expansion discussion
PART 3: Halifax CFL franchise would make football a coast-to-coast sports, says commissioner
PART 5: Roughriders show that CFL fan support can be province-wide
PART 6: Retired CFL pros want to see Halifax team
PART 7: Could a public-private partnership secure a CFL stadium?
PART 8: Stadium will make or break Halifax’s CFL bid

That is the challenge facing the business group that wants to bring the Canadian Football League to Halifax. If they construct a stadium to house their field of CFL dreams, will the fans come in numbers large enough to make it viable?

Anthony LeBlanc, one of three men who front the Maritime Football Ltd., ownership group, said the bid to bring an expansion team to the Atlantic region is in its first phase, the stage of trying to determine “what a conditional franchise would look like and allow us to really go out and gauge the market and see what the support is going to be like.”

“That’s very critical but very common,” said LeBlanc, a longtime executive with Research in Motion and the former president and chief executive of the Arizona Coyotes of the National Hockey League. “Let them go out and gauge the interest. The league wants to see it, the city, the province and, quite frankly, economic investors want to ensure that our expectations are real.”

LeBlanc said the ownership group hired Don Mills and his Corporate Research Associates to do some detailed polling about fan support for a CFL expansion team.

“The results that came back were really positive, that people want to go to a game” LeBlanc said. “He put some pretty strong factors in (the survey questions) with regards to the results and ensuring that it wasn’t over-inflated, and the numbers were really, really positive. He only looked in a 100-mile radius. We feel that we could actually support a stadium that holds upwards of 30,000.”

A larger audience

The CRA polling extended for only 160 kilometres from the Halifax area, a survey that would reach respondents as far afield as Middleton, Liverpool, New Glasgow, Oxford, Economy and Ecum Secum.

Add another 100 kilometres to the catchment radius and you can reach fans from Moncton, a few more kilometres and you are into the heart of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Greg Turner, a Moncton city councillor who was instrumental in bringing major junior hockey to Moncton, said his city has a strong relationship with the CFL. The first regular-season game ever played in the Atlantic region was held on Sept. 26, 2010, at the 10,000-seat Moncton Stadium, a $17-million venue that had opened earlier that year to host the world junior athletics championships. The stadium sold out for the neutral-site game between the Edmonton Eskimos and Toronto Argonauts, a capacity crowd that filled about 10,000 additional temporary seats.

The following year, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Montreal Alouettes played another regular-season game in Moncton. Those games followed league exhibition tilts at Saint John, N.B., and Huskies Stadium in Halifax earlier in the decade.

“When we had those games, we added seats in the endzones that brought us up to 20,000,” Turner said of the regular-season games in Moncton. “We were very successful and it worked out well and the CFL was great to work with, great partners.

“We’ve always been open to working with the CFL and bringing them to Atlantic Canada.”

The hope in Moncton was for a team to locate there but the size of the stadium remained a drawback.

“We knew they were very interested in Atlantic Canada,” Turner said. “Like anything else, you have to find a willing partner and it looks like (Halifax) may have accomplished that. It’s great news for Atlantic Canada. It’s exciting.”

Turner thinks the fans that filled the Moncton Stadium on the campus of Universite de Moncton would also buy tickets for games in Halifax.

“We’ve always thought regionally about a franchise. We’ve all looked toward Saskatchewan and what’s happened there and see the same kind of model working in Atlantic Canada. All of our markets are probably too small but, collectively, we can certainly support a franchise.

“We are optimistic that there might be a role that we could play — exhibition games, training camp, even regular season games. We’ve got a really great stadium and it’s a proven entity. The CFL knows how Moncton embraces the CFL and, with the successes we’ve had, we now have to look toward Halifax and Nova Scotia.”

Turner said a “tremendous” number of Nova Scotia fans attended the two regular season CFL games in Moncton.

“I’m sure the reverse will happen if the team is playing out of Halifax. You will see New Brunswick and P.E.I. supporting it. It’s good for the region, really.”

Worth the risk?

Not everyone is convinced that the league is good for the region or that sufficient regional, or even local support, will materialize.

Derek Martin is president of Sports and Entertainment Atlantic, which plans, delivers and promotes events across the region.

“I grew up in Hamilton going to CFL games,” Martin said. “I played high school football, university football and pro football in Europe. I love the game but I am now a parent and my two sons are not registered in football due to the risks to their brains and bodies.”

Martin said there is no assurance that fans will embrace the league here.

“The future of the sport of football is precarious and we may be a few decades late to the party. The NFL is trending down in all applicable metrics and I fear the CFL is not far behind. Our market size is also small, it’s growing but is still small and there is not a grassroots base in Nova Scotia like there is in markets that have had professional football for decades. I hear the comparison to Saskatchewan often as a similar-sized market that has embraced the CFL but there are decades of cultural immersion at play in that market that can’t simply be replicated here overnight.”

Martin is also lukewarm toward the construction of an expensive stadium to host CFL games.

“Anything is possible and Halifax has certainly been kicking the can on a stadium for a long time but I don’t believe the fundamental issues have changed,” he said. “The business case for a permanent 20,000-plus-seat stadium is difficult to make and will likely require significant public investment one way or another. As a sports fan, it would certainly be nice to have but as a taxpayer, I can appreciate the valid concerns that we have other priorities in our community.”

Martin, who has led the push for a Halifax soccer team in the Canadian Premier League that is to begin play next year with six to eight teams, proposed a 7,000-seat pop-up stadium on the Wanderers Grounds in downtown Halifax. City council signed off on that proposal in June.

“We are committed to our plan to play at the Wanderers Grounds in a privately funded, modular, right-sized stadium,” said Martin, adding that if Halifax is awarded a team, it would likely begin play in 2019. He said the soccer team would not play in the bigger stadium if it were built.

The city will continue to own the four-hectare, natural-grass Wanderers Grounds property and would rent it to Sports and Entertainment Atlantic to host 10 home games. The stands will be removed at season’s end.

While the soccer stadium deal seems to be falling into place, the football stadium debate about financing and ownership is ongoing. But if somebody builds it, Mayor Mike Savage thinks there are enough interested fans to fill it. “I think there are a lot of football fans in HRM, I think there are a lot of concert fans in HRM,” Savage said. “By and large, the support would come from here, but I think you do need to supplement that with interest from around the region. It’s there as well.”

Turner said people would travel from New Brunswick and P.E.I. for CFL games in Halifax, stay overnight and spend their money in Halifax hotels, restaurants, bars and shops.

“Absolutely,” Turner said. “Anytime you have a major professional sports team in your community, it’s good for the economy. That’s what it’s all about. If you can drive your economy, it’s good for everyone.”

LeBlanc agrees, saying a CFL schedule of 10 games a season would spark the local economy.

“Our view of the world is that these types of stadiums obviously need an anchor tenant to get off the ground,” LeBlanc said of his proposed 24,000- to 26,000-seat facility. “Especially with football, they have to be much more than just a football stadium. But those are an important 10 dates. You throw 10 dates in, you’re bringing 250,000-plus people to the stadium on an annual basis. That’s real money, not to mention the benefit to the community.”
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  #139  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2018, 5:05 AM
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Roughriders show that CFL fan support can be province-wide
DARRELL DAVIS The Chronicle Herald January 2, 2018

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part five of a series on the latest attempt to bring a CFL team to Halifax.

PART 1: CFL in Halifax: A gamble with lots of field to cover
PART 2: Stadium talks dominates CFL expansion discussion
PART 3: Halifax CFL franchise would make football a coast-to-coast sports, says commissioner
PART 4: Would Halifax support pro football?
PART 6: Retired CFL pros want to see Halifax team
PART 7: Could a public-private partnership secure a CFL stadium?
PART 8: Stadium will make or break Halifax’s CFL bid

REGINA — A brand-new $278-million, 33,000-seat football stadium sits just northwest of downtown and it’s regularly filled to capacity by its primary tenant, the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders.

It’s more than just a stadium though; in reality it’s a testament to the connection between the residents of the province and its capital city, who happily buy season tickets, green-and-white Riders merchandise, team-ownership shares, and tickets in a fund-raising lottery to help keep the 108-year-old, community-owned franchise alive. What’s referred to as Rider Pride has grown so intensely that even though the team is in the CFL’s smallest centre, the Roughriders might be the league’s richest franchise as the nine-team league courts a 10th franchise in the Maritimes. How times have changed.

“NFL bailouts, government loans, debt forgiveness, pay cuts — this team found ways to keep itself alive,’’ said Jim Hopson, a Regina native and former Riders offensive lineman who served as the team’s president/CEO from 2005-14. “Decades ago there was often talk about the franchise folding.

“There’s no talk of that now.’’

Going through a rough patch

Indeed, in the 1970s and 1980s, the Roughriders could barely keep up to the big-city teams and their wealthy owners in Toronto and Montreal. Gate equalization payments propped up the rinky-dink Roughriders, who made it into the 21st century by any means possible.

Known as the world’s bread basket because of its border-to-border farmland, Saskatchewan’s farmers could trade their grain for Rider tickets. The team held telethons, with famous alumni like Ron Lancaster and George Reed answering phones to accept the pledges of diehard fans. A fundraising lottery was established to go along with the team’s annual fundraising dinner, plus the volunteer board of directors was constantly renegotiating terms with governments and financial institutions for life-saving loans. The CFL even attempted expansion into the United States, an ill-fated move in the mid-1990s that netted a few million dollars in expansion fees that kept the league afloat. Despite their best efforts, the Roughriders were threatening to fold in 1997 until the National Football League, in exchange for accessibility in signing their players, offered interest-free loans of $500,000 to CFL teams.

“It’s all about 100 years of history,’’ said Hopson. “The Roughriders have benefited by not having competing sports, like the NHL, in the same market. It’s also a provincial team, not a city team, which has benefited, sort of, from the people who left Saskatchewan. People from Saskatchewan have moved all over the world and the Roughriders have become their lifeline to home. They say, ‘That’s my team!’ And they buy the merchandise and invest in the franchise.

“There’s a perception that every game is attended by people from across the province. Although it’s true that people make five-hour trips from Meadow Lake or Macklin or Prince Albert, the majority of the fans come from within a 100-mile radius. They might not have season tickets, but they’ll come to one or two games a season. It would kind of be like the Maritimes, except on a bigger area. And the challenge, like in the Maritimes, would be the corporate sponsorship. Saskatchewan doesn’t have large, corporate sponsorship available. I suppose, if you look at the facts today, I don’t know if you would start a team here (in Saskatchewan) now. But for the last several years, things have been really good and the Roughriders are doing exceptionally well.’’

Private owners or community effort?

Although most of the CFL’s franchises have been community-owned at some point in their history, only three fit that description now — Saskatchewan, Edmonton Eskimos and Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The other six have private owners with a variety of backgrounds, ranging from individual ownership such as Bob Wetenhall (Montreal Alouettes) and David Braley (B.C. Lions) to the NHL’s Calgary Flames, who own the Calgary Stampeders. The Ottawa Redblacks have a consortium of wealthy investors who most closely resemble the group reportedly interested in starting a franchise in Halifax.

“If there were private ownership in Saskatchewan, it would have to be a unique owner,’’ said Hopson. “In Saskatchewan we own the team. We know the money goes back to the team, not into an owner’s pockets, and in Saskatchewan that generates a pride of ownership. You have to admire (Hamilton Tiger-Cats) owner Bob Young. He calls himself ‘The Caretaker’ because he’s looking after the community’s franchise. Bob has made it clear that he’s not in it for the money.’’

Unlike privately owned teams, community-owned franchises are often registered as non-profit corporations. For the Roughriders, that means they must publicly disclose their financial statements.

In 2013, after playing host and winning their fourth Grey Cup in their history, the Roughriders reported a record-setting profit of $10.4 million. Stabilized by the CFL’s television contract, their profits still rise when the team has a successful on-field season and dip when they struggle. For 2016-17 there were costs associated with moving into the new stadium, yet the Roughriders reported a $33,000 profit despite a 5-13 record. Their football revenues were $37.8 million ($16.0 million in gate receipts) with expenditures of $40.3 million. The Roughriders, who reportedly sell more merchandise than the other eight CFL teams combined, also sold $6.1 million in jerseys, hats, T-shirts, coffee mugs, onesies, sweats, jewelry . . . .

Thirty-one years ago the CFL implemented its first salary cap; it has evolved into a salary management system that allows a team to spend as much as it wants on anything except players’ salaries, which are supposed to be capped at $5.15 million in 2018. The current collective bargaining agreement between the CFL and its players expires before the 2019 season.

The Roughriders also committed to contributing $25 million to help the provincial ($80 million) and municipal ($73 million) governments offset some of the costs for the new stadium. Another $100 million comes from facility fees of $10-$12 attached to ticket sales, such as concerts, outdoor hockey games and Riders games. With a population base of 236,000 in Regina, another 295,000 two hours away in the province’s largest city, Saskatoon, and 1.16 million people throughout Saskatchewan, that payment should be completed in 31.5 years.
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  #140  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2018, 5:10 AM
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Retired CFL pros want to see Halifax team
FRANCIS CAMPBELL The Chronicle Herald January 3, 2018

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part six of a series on the latest attempt to bring a CFL team to Halifax.

PART 1: CFL in Halifax: A gamble with lots of field to cover
PART 2: Stadium talks dominates CFL expansion discussion
PART 3: Halifax CFL franchise would make football a coast-to-coast sports, says commissioner
PART 4: Would Halifax support pro football?
PART 5: Roughriders show that CFL fan support can be province-wide
PART 7: Could a public-private partnership secure a CFL stadium?
PART 8: Stadium will make or break Halifax’s CFL bid

A pair of retired Canadian Football League players would like to see the league touch down in Halifax with an expansion team.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” said two-time CFL points champion Terry Baker, a punter and placekicker who played 15 seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the Ottawa Rough Riders, the Toronto Argonauts and the Montreal Alouettes.

“I think it would be just a great addition to the area and it would be inclusion from the CFL, too, from coast to coast, to unite Canada from Halifax to Vancouver and all points in between. It would enable teams and fans to be very appreciative of the fact that it is a Canadian league.”

Bruce Beaton, a Port Hood native who didn’t play football until he arrived at Acadia University, said having professional teams located across the country would help the game.

“In terms of growing the game, the more geographic locations you have at the highest level you have in the country, I think there is a trickle-down benefit there, too.”

Baker agrees.

“I think that certainly it would help the minor football program. If they were able to see a professional football team play on a consistent basis, it would certainly increase the profile of the sport with the younger generation growing up, and it might even inspire them a little more to look at this as a profession that they could try to get into,” said Baker, 55, who played football at Cobequid Educational Centre in Truro, Acadia and Mount Allison universities before going on to win two CFL scoring titles.

The CFL life

Beaton, 49, parlayed his skills on the offensive line into 13 seasons with Ottawa, Montreal, the British Columbia Lions, the Edmonton Eskimos and the Calgary Stampeders. He was named a league all-star three times and was part of two Grey Cup championship teams in Edmonton. But he never got to play pro football in Nova Scotia.

“Playing close to home is special for anybody for a whole bunch of reasons — the fans, the family, the coaches who coached you, ex-teammates,” Beaton said. “In the CFL, you typically are going to make less than $100,000 a year and you have a fairly short career. . . . To me, the two most preferable places to live in Canada are here and British Columbia, and that’s not to say there aren't other nice places but for me, I liked both ends of the country and to have an opportunity to live where you play year round and to develop your career after football without having to live somewhere else is a real positive thing. It just works on every level.”

Baker, too, said it would have been a kick to play as a pro in front of Nova Scotia fans.

“It would have been great to be able to come home and play in front of family and firends,” Baker said. “It just would have been a great opportunity. Unfortunately that never happened, never materialized.”

Baker is confident that the fans would come to see the CFL if an expansion team took root here.

“I do believe there is enough fan support here. The exhibition game that they had at Saint Mary’s in 2000, just after I retired, I was surprised that they had such great support. . . . I do believe that there is support out there for a team in Halifax. Obviously, the biggest stumbling block will be if a stadium can be built.”

As part of the Touchdown Atlantic series, the Argonauts and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats played an exhibition game at Huskies Stadium in Halifax in June 2005. The game, which ended in a 16-16 tie, attracted a sellout crowd of 11,148 to the stadium, that had added temporary seating.

“I think it’s an enjoyable product,” Beaton said. “On a nice sunny day and in the right environment, you are definitely going to want to partake.”

Development league option

Beaton said league expansion to Halifax is a good idea but he is far from convinced that the league’s overall vision is focused in the right direction.

“The question is more around the direction of the CFL as opposed to Halifax as a market,” he said. “If the CFL gets their direction right, Halifax would be a great market. I just mean the NFL (National Football League) is a multi-billion (dollar) league with no development league. Compared to all the other major sports — baseball, basketball and hockey — I would make the argument that football needs a developmental league more than any of the others.”

And that developmental league should be the CFL, he said.

“I think the NFL field is too small. I think we have a great field. I think we should look at things like American rules and becoming a development league similar to the AHL (American Hockey League.) You could still develop Canadian content, develop Canadian coaches. We could do an awful lot of positive things. There is a huge market demand for that, a huge need for that, and if you sort of miss the boat on that and deny people in those hungry 12-month-of-the-year NFL markets to look at potential, future players, then I think you are really missing an opportunity.”

Beaton, a real estate entrepreneur who lives in Kentville, said the NFL’s massive visibility hurts the CFL product.

“If you juxtapose that, when the CFL was on par with the NFL, going back to the 50s before technology changed and exploded the market for elite sports and eroded the market for ticket-driven, gate-driven sports where there was a lot of talent and a lot of ability and an exciting contest, when you could watch that or you could watch the best in the world, you are going to choose the best in the world.”

Baker, too, harkened back to yesteryear when asked if the Maritimes could drum up the support that football-crazed Saskatchewan provides for its Roughriders.

“If Halifax had a team since the 1930s or 1940s or whatever and they could sustain that for the 60 or 70 years since, I think that there would be a loyalty, it would be built into the culture and you could have the same thing here,” said Baker, who lives in Bridgewater and operates his seasonal business, the Admiral Benbow Trading Co., in Lunenburg. “ I don’t know if Nova Scotia would be all on its own. New Brunswick and P.E.I. aren’t too far away and if you could truly generate a Maritime team, that would be the marketing way to go. You’ve got a real possibility of creating a special unity with the three provinces and make it truly a Maritime team.”
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