Stamps boss Hufnagel's contract extended

Stampeders president Lyle Bauer (left to right), Flames president Ken King, Stampeders co-owner...

Stampeders president Lyle Bauer (left to right), Flames president Ken King, Stampeders co-owner John Forzani and Stampeders head coach John Hufnagel pose for photos during a press conference at McMahon Stadium in Calgary, Alta., March 29, 2012. (LYLE ASPINALL/QMI Agency)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:55 PM ET

CALGARY - If anyone was worried the Calgary Flames were going to mess with the Calgary Stampeders' success, they can rest easy.

The first order of business the Flames dealt with in taking a majority stake in the CFL team was to make sure the football operations were going to stay the same.

How does five years sound? It's basically a lifetime in the week-to-week rollercoaster that is pro football.

But Stamps GM-head coach John Hufnagel is now locked up until 2016.

Hufnagel had two years left on his original deal, but that was reworked into a five-year extension.

"My original deal was six years, but I guess I had to settle for five," Hufnagel said with a chuckle, fully aware that rash decisions are made in sports all the time.

"Is this a vote of confidence? Yes it is. The only real vote of confidence I can get is by winning games. We plan on continuing doing that.

"We plan on getting in the dance and doing some damage in the dance when we get there."

President King King announced Thursday there won't be sweeping changes with the Stamps as the Flames take over controlling interest.

Certainly by keeping Hufnagel on board long-term and giving him the power over the football decisions means there will be plenty of continuity going forward.

"It was clear during this process that our first order of business needed to be reaching a long-term agreement with John to ensure long-term continuity of football operations," King said.

"The entire ownership group has great respect for what John has accomplished during his four seasons leading the Stampeders."

When Hufnagel took over the Stamps in 2008, they became instant Grey Cup contenders.

Along with a championship victory that first season, Hufnagel has won 47 games during his coaching tenure and won the West Division title twice.

He joined Bobby Dobbs and Wally Buono as the only coaches to reach the playoffs in each of the first four seasons at the helm.

Hufnagel plans on moving forward with the same staff, and his gameplan doesn't change with the Flames as owners.

"They've seen my body of work, and they know the loyalty I have," Hufnagel said. "I'm pleased. I can't deny that.

"I also believe that my staff and the people who work in the football building are pleased also. It allows them some peace of mind and security."

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter @SUNIanBusby


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