Best man traded

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 1:21 PM ET

Tim Bakker has been traded for the best man at his upcoming wedding.

It sounds crazy, but it's true.

When Bakker gets married in April in Oakville, Ontario, Jason Maas will be standing right beside him.

"Unfortunately, I had to get traded for my best friend," said Bakker, who comes to Edmonton as part of the Maas trade to Hamilton.

"It is just a quirky thing that has happened."

Added Maas: "To be honest with you, the worst part of the trade for me is the fact he is one of my best friends and would I just as soon he had stayed in Hamilton because I was looking very much forward to playing with him again."

But Edmonton really wanted Bakker.

A non-import Canadian offensive lineman, Bakker played 35 games over the past two seasons for the Tabbies.

With the Eskimos potentially losing three starters on the O-line - Bruce Beaton, Kevin Lefsrud and Chris Morris - Baker is a valuable addition.

Able to play centre or guard, Bakker could easily slip into Lefsrud's centre position if he retires to farming in the off-season.

"Edmonton is getting a heck of a football player," said Maas.

The Eskimos are actually getting Bakker for the second time.

Originally drafted third overall by the Green and Gold in the 2000 Canadian college draft, Bakker broke into the league that season, which is when he met Maas.

He stayed for three years, appearing in 47 games - playing on the line and fullback - before being completely stunned by a trade to the B.C. Lions during training camp in 2003.

"To be perfectly honest with you, I never thought I would ever leave," said the 28-year-old Oakville native, who spent a year in B.C. before signing with Hamilton as a free agent in 2004.

"In hindsight (the initial trade) was probably one of the best things that could have happened to me because it afforded me the opportunity to play on a more consistent basis and improve my game that way.

"And in the back of my mind I really hoped that one day I would get a shot to come back."

It's a trip home for Bakker's fiance - and will at least give her a chance to be close to her best friend.

"My fiance and Jason's wife are best friends too," said Bakker.

SHORT YARDAGE: In a strange twist of fate, all three players coming from Hamilton in yesterday's trade have spent time with the Eskimos.

Besides Bakker and Danny McManus, 28-year-old non-import defensive back Imokhai Atogwe also played in Eskimos colours - 15 games last year before being released in training camp this year.

Atogwe registered one defensive tackle and seven special teams tackles in Steeltown this year.


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