Calgarians pony up

The Calgary Stampeders named Edmonton Eskimos coach Tom Higgins the team's new head coach and...

The Calgary Stampeders named Edmonton Eskimos coach Tom Higgins the team's new head coach and senior vice-president of football operations Friday. The team is under new ownership.(CP PHOTO/Jeff McIntosh)

KRISTEN ENEVOLD, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 11:56 AM ET

The new-look Calgary Stampeders have yet to prove themselves on the gridiron, but that doesn't matter to relieved football fans who are snapping up tickets. "I know we've sold 900 more season tickets so far compared to last year," said Kelsey Goldade, the team's director of communications.

And with only two days since a complete overhaul of the team's management was announced, Goldade expects those numbers will continue to rise.

"Some season ticket-holders were maybe a little disgruntled before, and now they're willing to give us another shot," he said.

Paul Graham is one of those fans.

"The team has always operated the best with local guys running it," he said.

"The last few years have been really disappointing, with an absentee ownership, who didn't seem to care about the club -- they allowed us to go from being one of the best teams in the league, to the worst," said Graham.

Sean Hester is relieved the new management team has local roots.

"It was such a much-needed change," said Hester, who was watching NFL football action at a southwest sports pub yesterday.

"Looking at Edmonton always making the playoffs, and then we weren't, was really frustrating," he said.

"I've always gone to all the games, but now they'll be much better."

Mike Theodosis is also a big Stampeders fan and, as the owner of Atlas Pizza and Sports Bar in the city's northeast, he's depending on the new and improved team to help pack his establishment.

"With the Canadians taking over again, more people will come here to watch -- and with no hockey on, I need this," he said.


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