CFL's 'Don' backs city bid

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

The most successful coach in CFL history is throwing his support behind Ottawa's bid to get back in the league.

Whether Don Matthews' relationship with Jeff Hunt's ownership group extends beyond that of an adviser is purely speculation.

"Who knows what happens down the road?" Hunt asked last night. "But as far as I know, Don is enjoying his retirement."

Matthews, 69, resigned suddenly as Montreal Alouettes coach during the 2006 season.

His list of accomplishments is impressive -- five Grey Cup championships and 231 wins, the most all-time in the CFL.

Hunt said he met Matthews through a mutual friend, and chatted with the man known as "The Don" on numerous occasions while forming the bid from he and three local developers that was accepted by the CFL as a conditional expansion franchise.

MUST FIX LANSDOWNE

Those developers -- Trinity Development Group's John Ruddy, Minto Development Inc.'s Roger Greenberg and Shenkman Corp.'s Bill Shenkman -- are big-time businessmen in Ottawa.

All that stands in the way of the group losing the "conditional" tag is the commitment in Ottawa for a new and improved facility at Lansdowne Park.

Matthews, who lives in Oregon, recently contacted Hunt and offered to come to the capital for a luncheon the latter is hosting next Friday at the Civic Centre.

Alouettes president Larry Smith will speak at the function, on how the Alouettes franchise was able to rise from the ashes to become a booming success.

Tables and single tickets for the luncheon are available to the public.


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