Stamps score off field

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:42 AM ET

The Calgary Stampeders are scoring points in all phases of the team's revival, according to team president Ted Hellard.

Hellard said yesterday the on-field product, fan support and business involvement are moving along at a remarkable clip just one-third of the way through the 2005 CFL season.

"As a newcomer at this, without a lot of experience, I don't know if I had a real educated vision but I would say we're significantly ahead of where I thought we'd be," said Hellard.

Hellard teamed with John Forzani and Doug Mitchell in January to head a group of local businessmen that bought the team from Michael Feterik.

Hellard was appointed president, Darrell Moir took on the title of senior vice-president of club operations and former president Stan Schwartz returned as executive VP. The Calgary Flames also jumped on board and has taken control of McMahon's concessions.

"There's three big categories," Hellard said. "Business-wise, we couldn't be further ahead. Our crowds are excellent, our relationship with the Flames is getting better and better in the concession area. Our corporate sponsorship is up significantly and our management people (Schwartz and Moir) are just doing a hell of a job running this thing.

"When it comes to football, obviously I'm happy with our record. It is a good start for us, all things considered. But more important than that, I really like the players. These are quality people which is important for the community and it's important when we're trying to re-sign players to long-term contracts. We've pretty much signed 90 percent of our core group, so we've been able to get that done a year-and-a-half ahead of when their free agency would have come up, so we're so far ahead of where I thought we'd be.

"It's still going to be a topsy-turvy season. We don't know what's going to happen but I think we're very happy with what we've been able to accomplish in a relatively short amount of time."

Attendance through four home games has averaged more than 30,000 fans while the team is making a bid for a West Division playoff spot just seven games into the season.

The Stampeders also entered the year with one of the CFL's strongest season ticket bases at just under 21,000.

That wave of support came in the wake of a string of off-season free-agent signings, highlighted by the addition of QB Henry Burris and receiver Jeremaine Copeland.


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