Putting teeth back in Tabbies

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 3:19 PM ET

HAMILTON -- It's the beginning of a new era here in the Steel City.

The mighty Casey Printers has been signed, sealed and delivered, and he will make his debut for the toothless Hamilton Tiger-Cats tonight against the Blue Bombers.

It was four short summers ago when the Tabbies were on the verge of extinction. Their owners had thrown in the towel, and the CFL had taken over operations of the club.

SAD-SACK

After that sad-sack 2003 season, however, local billionaire Bob Young bought the club and quickly restored some glory to the storied franchise. The Ticats made the playoffs in his first year of ownership with a 9-8-1 mark, but it's been downhill since.

The playoff season was followed by a 5-13 mark in 2005. Last year it was even worse, at 4-14, and the Jason Maas quarterback experiment was still going nowhere fast this season, as their 1-8 record (before last week's loss to Toronto) indicated.

Off the field, however, things were much brighter. Young, through clever marketing and his own bubbly enthusiasm, rubbed off on the locals and kept the fannies in the seats.

The Ticats are averaging more than 25,600 fans this season, and at least that many are expected at Ivor Wynne tonight. You can bet it's because Young went out and got them one big reason to stick around and see what happens.

The mighty Casey Printers is here, and there's a very good chance he will put the teeth back in the Tabbies.


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