Feterik hands off team

Stampeders outgoing owner Michael Feterik arrives at team offices for a meeting with Stamps staff...

Stampeders outgoing owner Michael Feterik arrives at team offices for a meeting with Stamps staff Monday to tell them the sale is done. (Calgary Sun/Jim Wells)

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:12 PM ET

In one breath, Michael Feterik actually denied the sale of the Calgary Stampeders was complete.

In another, he admitted it.

The Feterik era at McMahon is now in its final phase and it seems it'll come with more of the tension and turmoil that signified every other moment.

After addressing the Stampeders staff gathered at McMahon Stadium yesterday -- telling them the sale to a local group that includes the likes of John Forzani, Doug Mitchell and Ted Hellard was complete and will be officially announced as early as today -- the outgoing owner tried to keep the city's worst-kept secret for a little longer yesterday.

"I'm not trying to be evasive, I'm just trying to be fair to all the parties. That's the only way I can be," Feterik said.

Prodded for what he told the gathered staff members, he said: "I wanted to wish everybody a happy new year. We went on (so) when the transaction takes place, I wish everybody well and that's all I can tell."

What it means for the staff remains to be seen.

It's expected both president Ron Rooke and GM-head coach Matt Dunigan will be let go, bought out from their contracts even though they each have two years remaining on their deals.

Feterik said he didn't have "a clue" what would happen with Rooke and Dunigan.

Of course, he also denied telling staff members the sale was done.

When it was relayed staff members had said to the media they were told as much, Feterik replied: "Which ones. Can you be specific?"

Told they didn't want to go on the record, Feterik snapped, "I don't either."

Moments later, he began to reminisce about his tenure with the club he purchased in 2001.

"When I took over the team, the team was in a slide. That's a fact. We won the Grey Cup but then we were left empty the following year," he said.

"We were trying to rebuild it -- I brought people in and made a lot of mistakes -- but I thought we rectified things and we were moving forward.

"I really believe this team, right now, is a Grey Cup contender. Not a playoff contender, a Grey Cup contender."

Which begs the question: Why sell it then?

"I just bought three more companies for $45 million," said Feterik, president of Orange County Container. "I closed one (Friday) and two more in Mexico I'm closing. I have other outside interests, to say the least.

"I enjoyed the team and enjoyed my experience in Calgary," he continued. "The fans are always good to me, believe it or not. You could read differently in the papers but I have a lot of friends here.

"If I lived here, it'd be a different story," he continued. "When I bought the team, I didn't realize the hassle of travelling, the hassle of having duel personalities with Orange County Container and then coming up here with a totally different personality. The two businesses are not alike. I always said a business was a business but no. This is a different business than the corrugated box business."

Of course, not as many people remember who owns a cardboard box company as those who remember the owner of a championship football team. Feterik knows how he wants local fans to think of him.

"For winning the Grey Cup. I was officially owner when we won," he said. "You can't take that away from me. I've got the ring."

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THE MICHAEL FETERIK ERA IN CALGARY APPEARS TO BE COMING TO A CLOSE

OCT. 5, 2001

Michael Feterik assumes 49.9% ownership. He takes control of the remaining 50.1% Nov. 7.

JAN. 13, 2003

After several run-ins with Feterik's COO Fred Fateri, longtime coach Wally Buono decides to resign.

SEPT. 2, 2003

Fred Fateri is replaced by Mark McLoughlin but sues over a portion of the team he's been promised -- at least 2.5%.

MARCH 6, 2004

CFL commissioner Tom Wright confirms the CFL is working to help Feterik find a buyer for the club.


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