Hellard looks for answers

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

Like a sick patient eager for a cure, the Calgary Stampeders have sought a second opinion ... and a third and a fourth and a fifth.

The Stamps have chosen to look outside McMahon Stadium's walls for an evaluation of the team's talent base and performance, still wondering what ails them.

Club president Ted Hellard essentially asked close to a dozen sources with CFL experience to snap on some rubber gloves, whip out their tongue depressors to give the Stamps a thorough examination.

Say a*****!

"That happens all the time in business," Hellard said.

"We have people who know football, we've phoned them and talked to them and said, 'From what you know, from what you see, what do you think?'

"They can be anything from former players to people involved in the broadcast side, just to get input. It's easy in Calgary to hear just one side or the other. When we're good, we're the best there has ever been. When we're bad, we're the worst there has ever been. Somewhere in the middle lies the truth and the best way to find that is to get some outside opinion as to where they think we stand. I think unilaterally, they feel we have a very competitive talent base."

Hellard won't name names but said everyone polled is independent of the team and has no emotional attachments to the situation.

Although the club remains tied for first place in the CFL West, the team has been plagued by inconsistent performances and is mired in a two-game losing skid.

Hellard said feedback from outside sources underlines what most Stamps insiders already feel.

The team has tremendous potential it has yet to achieve.

"It's just to reaffirm what we actually believe -- that we have a talent level that is among the top-third in the league and we are underachieving," Hellard said.

He added his business background led him to revert to an approach common in his enterprises away from the team.

"I'm a relatively emotional guy, so I need to temper those emotions," said Hellard, who also owns a portion of the franchise.

"I'm used to being in a business where if I want to make changes, I make them. So it's important that I get my emotions tempered so that I'm comfortable and go back to remembering what our long-term goals are and try to walk that middle ground."

Calgary's next two games are against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, beginning Saturday. The Stamps have owned the Roughies the last three contests, including a 53-36 thrashing three weeks ago.

Head coach Tom Higgins continues to preach his team is on the right course while spurning temptations to juggle the roster.

"The solution has to come from within our locker-room," Higgins said. "You can't continually beat people down ... Telling them they aren't any good creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.


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