All CFL's rubber not hitting the road

CFL league commissioner Mark Cohon addresses the media about the state of the league and future...

CFL league commissioner Mark Cohon addresses the media about the state of the league and future endeavours including new stadiums for teams and possible expansion. (Jack Boland/QMI Agency)

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:00 AM ET

Interesting to hear CFL boss Mark Cohon paint hearts and flowers all over the league's future, Friday.

Of course, that's what a commissioner does on the eve of a championship game, what with all those national sponsors, and potential new ones, paying close attention.

Cohon says 75% of teams are making money or breaking even, which I don't doubt is true. That's six of eight, ie all four in the West and Winnipeg and Montreal in the East.

But when your two sisters of the poor are in the so-called centre of the wheel, in Southern Ontario, all your rubber still isn't hitting the road.

If it wasn't for Senator Pigskin, aka David Braley, who continues to pay the bills for the ailing Toronto Argos with the profits he earns in Vancouver, the league would still have a real mess on its hands.

Then there's the debacle in Hamilton, where they're demolishing Ivor Wynne Stadium for a bare-bones facility that'll seat some 23,000.

The Tiger-Cats will play most of next season at a university stadium that holds less than 10,000, with some kind of temporary seating planned.

That the team could accommodate all of its season-ticket holders tells you all you need to know about the fan base there.

The optics are one thing.

We can only guess at the financial hit.

Cohon's revelation that the rest of the league will help absorb the damage rings like a bell from the top of Mt. Deja Vu.

Out here in the colonies, we've been bailing out privately owned money losers as long as we can remember.

This past season, the league's six solvent teams shared a $1 million marketing bill rung up in Southern Ontario.

That'll be a drop in the bucket of red ink spilled in Hamilton next season.

Heaven help the CFL if Ticats owner Bob Young ever decides he doesn't want to play with his expensive toy anymore.

SWEET TWEET: Kudos to the Twitter user who grabbed a photo of Blue Bombers CEO Garth Buchko sitting, apparently in a Toronto restaurant, with potential employee Duane Forde, Friday.

Forde appears to be on Winnipeg's short list for the assistant GM position.

I'm not sure how being a TV commentator qualifies someone for a high-level front office job with a pro football team.

But what do I know? I was also in the dark about how the general manager of a radio station that runs on autopilot qualifies for the president/CEO position.

Forde does seem like a genuinely nice guy, and seems to know his stuff when it comes to scouting Canadian college players.

If he's GM Joe Mack's next assistant, he'll be able to tell Mack all about Grey Cup week, not to mention Friday night's Vanier Cup.

Mack couldn't find the time to attend the festivities, and while it's not the first time a CFL GM skipped the big week, it's curious, given Mack's position.

If you're looking to expand the football operations staff, as the Bombers are, and you're in desperate need of a quarterback, as the Bombers are, wouldn't your networking skills be working at maximum efficiency this week?

After all, Toronto's acquisition of Ricky Ray from Edmonton last winter, not to mention Hamilton's trade for Henry Burris, didn't happen in a film room.

The Vanier Cup isn't a bad place to scout and chat with potential draft picks, either, of which the Bombers have the No. 2 selection next summer.

FUTURE HEAD MAN: One assistant coach I'd be very tempted to go after, sooner rather than later, if I were looking for a head coach: Stamps offensive guru Dave Dickenson.

PREDICTION: The Stamps will remind us, once again, how much inferior the CFL East is.

And Jon Cornish will put another dent in the Canadian inferiority complex by winning the Grey Cup MVP award.

paul.friesen@sunmedia.ca

@friesensunmedia

 


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