Feterik still a fan

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:27 AM ET

A time zone away from the team he ran for 3 1/2 years, Michael Feterik sits in his office at Orange County Container applauding a Calgary Stampeders turnaround for which he feels partly responsible.

Professing to have followed the Stamps online since he sold the club in January, the controversial Californian eagerly anticipates Sunday's regular-season finale against Edmonton, which could net the club its 11th win of the season -- four fewer than the Stamps accumulated in three years of his ownership.

"I'm really excited they're doing well," said a genuinely enthused Feterik.

"I knew they'd do well -- everybody did. (Former head coach) Matt (Dunigan) and (former president) Ron (Rooke) put in a really good defence and we found Joffrey (Reynolds). Things were coming around. I think they're the best team in the league and I think they're going to win the Grey Cup."

Feterik is so convinced the team will return to the glory he experienced just a month after he bought into the team in 2001, he's already made a few phone calls in an effort to gain entry to B.C. Place for the league's sold- out championship game Nov. 27.

"I'm trying to get a ticket from (Lions owner David) Braley but he wants to charge me," said Feterik, laughing.

Having turned a tidy profit when selling the team to a local conglomerate for a reported $6.5 million, you can bet Feterik will still have a few bucks left to fuel up the private jet and stock the bar for the Vancouver jaunt if the club still dear to him wins its first two playoff games.

After all, if it wasn't for an ever-flourishing box business, a scathing Calgary media corps, a fed-up fan base and a generous local offer for the Red & White, he'd still oversee a club that went 15-39 under his control.

"It was a fun thing but you have to do business where you make your money," said Feterik. "Selling the Stampeders was a business transaction I had to do because it was taking too much of my time. You want to be there all the time but you can't be."

Although yet to set foot in Calgary since he sold the team, he has stayed in touch with a handful of current players he brought in.

"I better not say who because they'll get canned," laughed Feterik, still leery of the disdain most Calgarians have for him.

"I see (running back) Ronney Jenkins got knocked out of there. I thought he was a good player but I guess he didn't fit into their plans."

Criticized heavily for exercising the little-used right of sports team owners to dictate player- personnel moves -- not the least of which was insisting his son quarterback the squad -- Feterik says he's confident he could have steered last year's 4-14 team back to respectability without Henry Burris and a coaching staff headed up by Tom Higgins.

"We were pretty happy with (quarterback) Khari (Jones) -- we would've got a couple better backups for him," said Feterik, sitting just a few doors down from son Kevin, who works for dad when not toiling in the Arena2 League.

Asked about the lawsuit filed by former Stamps COO/Calgary whipping boy Fred Fateri, Feterik guessed it is still in the Calgary court system.

"I lost track of that -- it's been so long," he said, before adding in bewilderment something he noticed while following media reports on the new ownership group that added stability to a team now sitting at 10-7.

"You guys are nice to 'em."

Indeed, it's been a radical transformation for everyone involved.


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