'Gades sacked by CFL

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:27 AM ET

The CFL mothballed the financially troubled Ottawa Renegades franchise yesterday with the plans of bringing the team back in 2007.

The league's board of governors opted to suspend the club's operations this season rather than go ahead without a new ownership group in place.

Stamps president Ted Hellard said the eight governors weren't willing to fund the 'Gades until a white knight appeared, if that happens at all.

"The overriding theme was until it's the right situation with the right owner, that's someone who can make a financial commitment, we didn't want to move forward for the sake of moving forward," said Hellard. "There's a lot of sombreness about this decision but I think it's the right one."

Despite losing one of its members for a season, Hellard sees the CFL as stronger without a weak link in Ottawa.

The next year will be dedicated to finding the right group willing to commit long-term to the nation's capital.

"We have eight solid franchises and we had one that didn't have strong ownership," said Hellard, who doesn't blame Ottawa fans for the team's demise.

"It's very difficult to understand what's happening in that marketplace, whether it's representative of a city that isn't ready to support a CFL team or if they're sick and tired of losing and need an owner to commit."

It was a tough call for the CFL to make according to commissioner Tom Wright.

"The decision to suspend the Ottawa franchise was certainly a difficult one but one we think was the right one," said Wright.

A dispersal draft of Renegades players is expected early this week, with such notables names as quarterback Kerry Joseph, receiver Jason Armstead and defensive back Korey Banks available.

However, that draft isn't expected to drastically add to the Stampeders depth.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will move to the East Division this season and a new schedule was drawn up. The Stamps were to play the Blue Bombers three times this season but in the new schedule they play Winnipeg only twice.

Calgary will play B.C. and Saskatchewan three times and have four Battles of Alberta this season, starting June 17 at home to the Eskimos.

The league has also scrapped the exhibition Touchdown Atlantic game in Halifax between Ottawa and Montreal.

Since majority owner Bernie Glieberman decided to walk away from the Renegades three weeks ago, a newly created committee has tried to find a suitable buyer.

With training camp only two months away, the right person didn't emerge, although plenty of people expressed interest if they could move the team.


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