Small country! Stamp, singer go way back

BILLY POWERS

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

It is not often, if ever, a country singer gets a mention in this space, but this one has a local touch.

Johnny Reid, a good friend as a result of a couple of golf trips to Laughlin, Nev., a few years back, was booked to sing the national anthem Monday before the Stampeders put a 42-5 hurt on the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

It was my idea to use the Canadian Country Music Male Singer of the Year on our CHQR pre-game show with Jock Wilson.

Reid, who I think is country's next superstar, agreed. He showed up, and when we asked what he knew about Canadian football, the native Scot revealed he went to school at Bishop's University and was a part-time place-kicker.

But the real story was he had walked through what he had called the Stamps "changing room" and spotted the name Robede on one of the lockers.

While at Bishop's, Reid had taken a job as a dormitory custodian to "make a few bucks while working through school and one of my charges was a Miguel Robede."

After the game, Reid went to the Stamps locker-room and discovered the Robede he had overseen as a 16-year-old is now a CFL defensive lineman. And both were surprised to see where their careers had gone since they met more than 10 years before.

Reid also gave us a professional tip the next day. He revealed that when singing the national anthem, your words come right back at you about two seconds after they're sung so "I stuffed my ears with toilet paper so that all I could hear was me. It's scary singing in front of 35,000 people."

Down the line, I say, that will be a regular happening.

Harnessing the Powers

Another name incident came this week at the Saddledome, where I was covering a Calgary Flames practice.

Since the Flames brought centre Mike Cammelleri on board, I've done several interviews with the shot-happy guy but only in a "scrum" with the rest of the media.

This time, I asked for a one-on-one and when I introduced myself as Billy Powers, he brightened up a bunch, saying his assistant coach at the University of Michigan was named Billy Powers. It made the interview a breeze.

I did look up the name on the Internet, only to find my information was part of 446,000 linked to Bill Powers. We seem to be everywhere.

Fine day for football

The task was an awesome one, bound to be tiresome and frustrating, but the goal was realized after three long years of work by amateur football people in Calgary.

And, as of yesterday, the future of your football-playing children will be in much safer hands. That's because it was officially announced as of next year, there will be three turf fields at Shouldice Athletic Park in Montgomery.

Thanks to support from the city and province, a huge donation from Enmax and some help from the private sector, including the Stamps, the project will be a go once the group gets a development permit, which apparently is forthcoming.

It will mean three fields, complete with stands. The hope is that -- down the road -- other facilities will be available to high school, bantam, pee wee, midget and any other kind of football teams that might come along.

That includes the possibility of the Calgary Colts of the Prairie Junior Football League, finding a permanent home. The fields, being turf, will be safer because there will be no ruts or gopher holes and no possibility of games being cancelled or postponed due to the oft-used frozen ground rule.

It took time, but organizers -- and they are many -- should stand and take a bow. The future of minor football in our city is in good shape.


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