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  #341  
Old Posted Feb 8, 2018, 12:39 AM
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  #342  
Old Posted Feb 8, 2018, 12:50 AM
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Q & A with Commissioner Randy Ambrosie
George Johnson stampeders.com February 6, 2018

Early on in Stop 4 of his cross-country town-hall meetings to interact with CFL devotees, commissioner Randy Ambrosie generously took time for a chat with Stampeders.com before dashing off to the Saddledome to talk football with Calgary Stampeders season-ticket holders.

STAMPEDERS.com: On your travels, what have been the most recurring themes so far among the league’s fan base.

AMBROSIE: There are always questions about officiating. I’ve come to the conclusion I couldn’t find a more thankless job in the world. But everyone wants to talk about it.
I’m finding lots of interest in a possible season shift. I’m asking. It was one of the things I wanted to accomplish, get some feedback from the fans on that issue, build an understanding of what the fans are thinking.

The most common thread, actually, is how much they love the CFL game. They’re passionate fans. They want us to be successful. In every stop, there’s been a new idea, how we can help them further engage. In Toronto (Monday), one fan asked me; ‘What can we do more to help the CFL?’ That’s incredibly cool.

STAMPEDERS.com: You mentioned the issue of moving the seasonal-start date up earlier. There seems to be that romanticized ‘Oh, it’s snowing. The weather’s awful. This is what the CFL is all about’ as opposed to, in outdoor Grey Cups, ‘Why on earth are they playing this late?’ What’s the read you’re getting from fans on that?

AMBROSIE: I think for some it is almost nostalgic. It is how they characterize their own experiences with the game, those super-cold memorable moments. I still talk about the ’93 Western Final here in Calgary. Minus-26, snowing like crazy. We talk about it because it’s a frame of reference for a lot of us.
I do think the word nostalgic fits into it. What I keep reminding myself and telling the fans that I speak with is that we need to find the next generation of CFL fans. We need to get into the hearts and minds of this wonderful millennial generation and others who aren’t currently part of our fan eco-system. We need to ask them what they’re looking for. We might find they’re not nearly so nostalgic and they’re interested in a great game-day experience. There’s a significant weather expectation you’d have around the second, third or fourth of November as opposed to the 24th, 25th or 26th. And that’s why we have to have the conversation.

The best thing when you’re in any business is ensuring you have a strong, active dialogue with your customers and that what this tour is giving us a chance to do.

STAMPEDERS.com: You mention the milennials, young fans. That’s the demographic that will push popularity forward.

AMBROSIE: Honestly, we’re seeing it. I’ll use Ottawa as an example. You go to a game there and they really have captured that community’s … I’ll call them millennials. In my day, standing-room-only were the worst seats imaginable, arena or stadium. Now they’re the best seats in the house. They’re where the kids are hanging out, enjoying each other’s company. In Ottawa, it’s like they were having a party and a football game broke out. It’s a whole different thing.

What we’ve got to do is build game-day experiences that appeal to every fan. We’ve gotta have places for families where the kids come, have fun and keep them engaged, involved. You want to have a section for the more boisterous crowd, you want to have the more traditional fans. Businesses spend a lot of time on segmentation, understanding all their fans. We don’t have one type of fan. We have many.

Look at Winnipeg and the Rum Hut. That’s fantastic. The Pil Zone in Saskatchewan.


I saw Wade Miller dealing with their egress problem – fans exiting the stadium – by inviting fans on the field. People having fun. And it made for a smoother exit from the stadium.

STAMPEDERS.com: So it’s a balancing act, keeping the old-school fan while enticing a younger crowd.

AMBROSIE: What I’m heartened by is that for the old-school fan, we’re going to give him or her a great football game. You can never forget that at the end of the day we’re a professional football league and our game has to be world-class because that’s the glue. That’s what brings everybody together. Now we give our new fans new and different experiences. Then before you know it, we’re rocking and rolling in every stadium in the CFL.

STAMPEDERS.com: Can you share any upcoming initiatives along the ‘new experiences’ line?

AMBROSIE: We have a very large initiative underway for national game-day strategy. We’re looking at the possibility of a National Kids Day, where we do a whole bunch of fun things in our stadiums – every CFL team will host one – to create a kid-friendly atmosphere. I was teasing Huf today that he might have to learn how to make balloon animals.

STAMPEDERS.com: That I’d pay to see.

AMBROSIE: I gotta tell you, I’ll be back in Calgary for that day, too.

We’re also looking at our Diversity is Strength campaign. Our locker rooms for decades have been a bastion for diversity. What I love about our players is they don’t care where you’re from, they just want to win. That brotherhood is so welcoming of inclusion. And let’s make sure that our stadiums are a reflection of exactly that same idea. We want everyone to fans of the CFL so we’re talking about that kind of programming, as well,

STAMPEDERS.com: To close, thoughts on the need for a new stadium?

AMBROSIE: I have such a great respect for the Stampeders/Flames organization. Of course I’m going to be supportive. I’ll always be able to lean in whenever I’m asked to attend a meeting, to provide encouragement or information. This has been the most successful franchise in our league for the last 20 years. I think this franchise, this city, these fans, deserve a world-class facility that can address some of these initiatives built for the modern-fan experience.

But for now, you know what? we’re just gonna support the Stampeders any way they can and encourage the community to find a way to create a new McMahon that will give fans here another 20, 30, 40 years of enjoyment, the way this place has.
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  #343  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2018, 4:33 PM
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30 minutes to Free Agent Frenzy!!! Should be a fun day for CFL teams

Wonder if Montreal gets players to buy in?
Does BC get some help on the O line?
Do teams overpay for anyone?
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  #344  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2018, 6:45 PM
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"encourage the community to find a way to create a new McMahon that will give fans here another 20, 30, 40 years of enjoyment"

...oh great. Sounds like we'll be stuck with that POS forever. Wonder how they plan to entice new fans in a dump like that or even get the team to make more money via luxury boxes like in Regina, etc. You can't do that with the equivalent of a US high school stadium.
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  #345  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2018, 7:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjones2451 View Post
30 minutes to Free Agent Frenzy!!! Should be a fun day for CFL teams

Wonder if Montreal gets players to buy in?
Does BC get some help on the O line?
Do teams overpay for anyone?
Bombers picked up Nic Demski which is nice, although at this point it's starting to feel like they're gilding the lily. The D has some holes that need to be addressed more urgently.

What's this I hear about the Ticats dropping $150K on Hajrullahu?

Sask lets Derek Dennis go which is not a shocker. Big name FAs are nice but they always come at the cost of new talent, so it would be better for the Riders over the long haul to recruit someone to fill his spot.
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  #346  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2018, 7:31 PM
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Happy to hear the Stamps locked up Daniels & Finch.
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  #347  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2018, 7:40 PM
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Originally Posted by esquire View Post
Bombers picked up Nic Demski which is nice, although at this point it's starting to feel like they're gilding the lily. The D has some holes that need to be addressed more urgently.

What's this I hear about the Ticats dropping $150K on Hajrullahu?

Sask lets Derek Dennis go which is not a shocker. Big name FAs are nice but they always come at the cost of new talent, so it would be better for the Riders over the long haul to recruit someone to fill his spot.
Kickers are important, what is Medlock making?

150K for Nic Demski -seems like they overpaid to me
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  #348  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2018, 7:47 PM
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^ Medlock is objectively superior to Hajrullahu, though. I'm not sure what Medlock earns but I'm sure it's at the top end of the kicker scale.

I know Hajrullahu rebounded a bit last season but I didn't think he was a guy that a team would really bid aggressively for.

Demski's salary is fair for a Canadian starter... I'm assuming he's here partly to catch balls and partly as a factor in the Bombers' ratio plans for 2018.
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  #349  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2018, 9:40 PM
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Originally Posted by tomthumb2 View Post
"encourage the community to find a way to create a new McMahon that will give fans here another 20, 30, 40 years of enjoyment"

...oh great. Sounds like we'll be stuck with that POS forever. Wonder how they plan to entice new fans in a dump like that or even get the team to make more money via luxury boxes like in Regina, etc. You can't do that with the equivalent of a US high school stadium.
People's fault for not supporting a new stadium or electing officials who do. Every other major city has found a way, one way or another. Even Hamilton got a nice stadium for a bargain price.
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  #350  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2018, 9:40 PM
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150K for Nic Demski -seems like they overpaid to me
Betcha it will prove to be a bargain.
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  #351  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2018, 11:07 PM
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People's fault for not supporting a new stadium or electing officials who do. Every other major city has found a way, one way or another. Even Hamilton got a nice stadium for a bargain price.
Agree 100%. Calgary has fallen a long way from the "can do" city it was when we got the Olympics in what seems like a lifetime ago.
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  #352  
Old Posted Feb 13, 2018, 11:59 PM
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Agree 100%. Calgary has fallen a long way from the "can do" city it was when we got the Olympics in what seems like a lifetime ago.
I seem to recall posting an article where Canada was going to put in a CG bid a few years ago. It would have been the perfect opportunity for Calgary to get a new stadium. I s'pose spending the money on a CG is a long way to go to get a new stadium but other infrastructure could have benefited for a potential Winter Olympic bid down the road.
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  #353  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2018, 1:00 AM
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I seem to recall posting an article where Canada was going to put in a CG bid a few years ago. It would have been the perfect opportunity for Calgary to get a new stadium. I s'pose spending the money on a CG is a long way to go to get a new stadium but other infrastructure could have benefited for a potential Winter Olympic bid down the road.
Yeah a GC is not going to get us a new stadium and if they do go for the Olympics they will probably cheap out and put the hockey in Edmonton and not even build a stadium.

Speaking of GC though - I don't think Calgary should be allowed to have it until they can put it in a proper facility. I went the last time and the temporary seating was literally in the parking lot. The only reason it sold out was because the Riders were in it.
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  #354  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2018, 2:49 AM
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Yeah a GC is not going to get us a new stadium and if they do go for the Olympics they will probably cheap out and put the hockey in Edmonton and not even build a stadium.

Speaking of GC though - I don't think Calgary should be allowed to have it until they can put it in a proper facility. I went the last time and the temporary seating was literally in the parking lot. The only reason it sold out was because the Riders were in it.
CG=Commonwealth Games
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  #355  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2018, 5:48 AM
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CG=Commonwealth Games
Oh God that was a while ago wasn't it? And wasn't that for Halifax? Or maybe Edmonton was going to try as well but don't recall Calgary ever discussing that.
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  #356  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2018, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by cjones2451 View Post
30 minutes to Free Agent Frenzy!!! Should be a fun day for CFL teams

Wonder if Montreal gets players to buy in?
Does BC get some help on the O line?
Do teams overpay for anyone?
-Montreal got players to buy-in...but overpaying them!
-BC got the best OL in free agency(Joel Figueroa) in a lot people eyes.
-Montreal leads the way in overpaying for guys but there were a few other deals where guys were overpaid as well(Demski being one). Not to say he's not a good player but he hasn't really proven a ton in his years playing. He'll have to live up to that deal.
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  #357  
Old Posted Feb 14, 2018, 10:49 PM
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Free agency is fine if you're just trying to find the few missing puzzle pieces to take you to a championship run. It's not so great if you're trying to make up for terrible drafting and player development. We'll find out which category Montreal's FA activity fits into.
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  #358  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2018, 3:30 AM
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'Pride, respect, honour' CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie defends Eskimos name
Terry Jones Edmonton Sun February 14, 2018

It was stop eight of Randy’s Roadtrip and 480 fans gathered in the gym at Commonwealth Stadium — 130 more than at any other stop — to hear the Pied Piper of Canadian Football.

New CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie’s material didn’t change much since he delivered the same messages to the general managers at the CFL Winter Meetings a month ago in Banff.

But it was much more personal as he spoke to this crowd.

“I spent five years here and they were the best five years of my CFL career,” said the offensive lineman who won his only Grey Cup as an Eskimo in 1993.

On the day it was revealed that the football team is conducting a survey on the subject, the Commissioner was asked about what he thinks about the Eskimos keeping the team name.

Clearly the Eskimos are conducting the survey to see if it matches the informal conversations that indicate the fans are about 99 per cent in favor of retaining the name. Ambrosie said put him down as a ‘yes’ as well.

“My personal reflection is that of all the wonderful things I’ve been privileged to do in my life and all the organizations I’ve had the pleasure to be associated with, I’m not sure there was one I was more proud of than to be an Edmonton Eskimo.

“My father grew up just north of here and as happy as he was that I was playing in the league I think the day he was most proud was the day I called to say I was going to be an Eskimo.

“I never met a player who wasn’t proud to be associated with the name. All I feel when I think of the name is the pride and the respect and honour.”

It’s remarkable how many of the politically correct crowd understand the respect and honour part involved with being “an Eskimo” that reflects so positively on the Inuit people and the culture of the Canadian north.

Ambrosie gets it. So do most Eskimo fans. Always have.

No doubt that vote will turn out the same as the one Ambrosie is conducting on his own as he completes his tour.

Changing the season

When he polled those gathered here Tuesday evening about the idea moving the Grey Cup and the season up by three weeks, the room erupted with cheers, not just hands in the air, in response to the idea.

When he asked for those who would prefer keeping it the way it is, there were maybe a dozen hands in the air.

Ambrosie scored it at 95 per cent.

“The fans have been in favor at every stop so far but not by the same percentages. It was 60-40 in Montreal and 55-45 in B.C. and maybe a little higher than that in Toronto,” said Ambrosie, who will visit Hamilton next and then proceed to Halifax where he thinks it’s vitally important to make Atlantic Canada part of the conversation.

“Calgary was 95 per cent and I was a little worried that the fans against it might be chased out of the room. And Monday night in Winnipeg there was only one fan and I went and stood beside him. I thought he needed a friend.

“This has been a great opportunity to really get a grass roots perspective on it before we engage in a more thorough process. But there seems to be a lot of positive energy around the positive process.”

It’s been so overwhelming that I wonder how much thought he’s given to the potential downside of getting this part of the nation pumped about the prospects of having seen the last of football at minus 25 degrees.

To my understanding rights holder TSN has a veto on this. And it’s entirely possible they like it just the way it is.

Ambrosie said it’s far too early to look into the idea from a contractual point of view.

“At this stage, I think it is important to come to the table with a perspective on what our fans think and then have a conversation with our partner. I think we have a tremendous partnership with TSN. I couldn’t respect them any more than I do. I know they want us to be successful. They have a great interest in our long term success.”

Engaging CFL Fans

Ambrosie spoke about his goal of creating a league with the “most engaged” fans in sport and how he intended to do that by creating a whole new era of access by fans and media and selling the football organizations on no longer having football season followed by six months of disappearing from the sports pages.

Starting soon, a percentage of the players listed on teams negotiation lists are going to be made public.

“Starting now there’s football season and business season,” he said and said his ‘Bums In Seats’ initiative is about to be launched at a league level.

One of his biggest cheers came with his announcement that one game in each city would involve a major kids day promotion.

“We want it to be a major theme game. We want to get them in our stadiums and fall in love with the game. We want them to have an absolutely great time and want to come back.”

He really has become the Pied Piper of Canadian football.
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  #359  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2018, 10:08 PM
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Ambrosie launches monthly blog to fans entitled ‘Randy’s Word’
CFL.ca Staff February 15 2018

With the off-season in full swing, CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie has penned a monthly blog to fans to remain connected with CFL followers across the country.

Below is his February entry and the first of a regular feature on CFL.ca:

Randy’s Word (February 2018)

SOMEWHERE OVER CANADA — Hi everybody. We’re always looking for more ways to connect with you, our fans. So, I’m going to share a note like this with you from time to time so you know what I’m up to and, more importantly, what we’re up to at the CFL.

Road Trip

As I write this, I’m on a cross-Canada tour, with town halls scheduled this month in all nine CFL cities plus Halifax. It’s more of a listening tour than a speaking tour. I want to hear your ideas for our game and our league. Does including Halifax mean a tenth team is on the way? Time will tell if we can make expansion happen there but I do want fans there, and everywhere where we don’t have a franchise, to know that they are part of the CFL Family too. To the fans who are taking the time to come out and chat on a winter night: thank you, it means the world to me. We’ve dubbed this Randy’s Road Trip but the truth is it’s about you, not me.

Sportsmanlike Conduct

Not so long ago, I attended the NFL Pro Bowl in Orlando. (No, not because it was in sunny Florida!) The winners of our cross-Canada CFL NFL Flag Football tourney – a group of 11 and 12-year-old girls and boys from Saskatchewan – were there representing us in an international competition. Man, you should have seen these kids! They finished the tourney 2-2 and lost a hard-fought semifinal 7-0 to the U.S.A. team. But what really made me proud was their game with a team from China, which was clearly overmatched from the outset. Once it was clear the game was very one-sided, the Junior Riders started encouraging their opponents, and cheering them whenever they made a play. I said to someone that I think at that age I would have been far less mature and much more inclined to want to run up the score. Congrats to Grayson Dakis, Peter Boersch, Kaidin Clive, Jesse Engen, Jordyn Hein, Kaidyn Keith, Jett Lamb, Tayen Lloyd, Jaxon Thorne and Dayton Varga as well as coaches Tyler Lloyd and Scott Thorne for making us all proud. MVP awards (as in Most Valuable Parents) also go to their Moms and Dads for raising kids who know that respecting one another and winning friends is more important than winning games.

Women in Football


I was also in Orlando, along with Christina Litz from our league office and Jim Popp and Catherine Raiche from the Argos’ football operations, for a special session on getting more women involved in football operations. The driving force behind the NFL’s encouragement and recruitment of women is a Canadian named Sam Rapoport, their Director of Football Development. We’re making progress in our league as well. Catherine, for example, recently joined the Argos as Director of Football Administration, after previously working for the Alouettes. I’ve asked Christina, who heads up our marketing and digital content as well as our strategy, to play more of a role in football operations. And we recently added a young lady named Sarah Taplin as an intern in our own football operations department. Welcome, Sarah! One of the things I’m proudest about in our office is the number of strong and talented women, in various departments, who play important roles. If we can change the perception of football and the sports industry as male bastions, we can do our small part to help change society as a whole. And that is a pretty awesome goal.

That’s it for now. Sometimes I’ll use this forum in this way, to pass on information that may not make news sites or the sports pages but is still pretty cool. On other occasions, I might devote an entire note to an issue facing our league. I hope you like it. Let us know what you think. You can respond below or you can email us at randyword@cfl.ca.

Thanks for making everything we do at the CFL possible.

Randy.
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  #360  
Old Posted Feb 15, 2018, 10:57 PM
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First image of proposed Halifax CFL Stadium



CTV Interview from potential ownership group:
https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/video?cl...ylistPageNum=1

Last edited by q12; Feb 16, 2018 at 12:49 AM.
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