Thursday, January 13, 2005

Farewell to the F troop!

Football sanity has returned to the Stampede city. With the stroke of a pen and the transfer of a few million dollars the days of the Feterik's in Calgary have come to an end. Hallelujah Stamp fans, and indeed CFL fans, the F troop is no more!

The Stampeders were sold Wednesday to a group of local Calgarians, who plan to do something that hasn't been seen in Calgary for three years, allow the football people to run the football team.

Michael Feterik made his farewell bows, ran to the bank and cashed his cheque. Leaving behind a bending, but not broken football team in his wake. Feterik a self made millionaire a number of times over will return to the box building business from whence he came. Leaving behind a football team that seem to lurch from one crisis to another during his three year tenure. Chasing away to the shores of the Pacific, one of the most successful football minds in the country while taking a Grey Cup championship squad and turning it into a West division doormat. All while telling anyone to listen just how smart a business mind he had.

And while the bills were paid on time and no salaries were ever missed, the sense of turmoil never seemed far from the surface during the Feterik years. From insisting that his son Kevin be on the depth chart at Quarterback, to the many questionable personnel decisions over the three years the Stamps went from a template franchise to a tumbling franchise.

As Feterik exits the Stampeder stable, the new crew have a great deal of work to do and fortunately for Calgarians hard work is something the new ownership group thrives on. Led by John Forzani, Dave Sapunjis, Doug Mitchell and Ted Hellard the new ownership has deep ties to the city and will be quick to bring the franchise into good books with a city that has remained loyal if worried about their team.

It's expected that Head coach and GM Matt Dunigan will be bought out of his commitment to the franchise as will team President Ron Rooke. Expected to join the Stamps shortly are former coach JIm Barker who is expected to be given charge of the team personnel department. Joining him at McMahon stadium will be Tom Higgins who spent the last three years as Head Coach of the Edmonton Eskimos. Higgins of course has a deep history with the Stamps, having been an assistant coach in Calgary for nine seasons before hopping on the Red Arrow north.

While the Feterik funhouse was in full operation, Higgins was busy winning in Edmonton. Something that the Calgary faithful will forgive quite easily, should he deliver their first winning season since Wallyball played on the turf at McMahon.

CFL Commissioner Tom Wright said it all with some simple words, said Wright "I'm excited about this". Football fans across the country can share in his excitement, a proud CFL Franchise has been delivered to some sure hands. Whether you're a Stamps fan or not, the circus days are gone in Calgary, for that all CFL fans should say Thanks.

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