Call it earning goodwill.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers may not have netted a profit from hosting the CFL Congress/CFL Coach of the Year Luncheon this week but it was used to showcase the city.
"With the 2006 Grey Cup coming here, it showed what the city can be about," Bomber marketing director Jerry Maslowsky said yesterday. "It hasn't been decided where it's going to be next year yet. Maybe the CFL will come back and say that, because we did such a fine job this year, they want to come back here."
The luncheon was sold out (560) and the net proceeds of $25,000 were presented to CancerCare Manitoba at the urging of Bomber president/CEO Lyle Bauer, who recently had his last treatment for throat cancer.
The Bombers also started selling $5 bracelets at the luncheon, with those proceeds also designated for CancerCare. They sold 350 yesterday alone and will continue to sell them at the Bomber Store and all home games this season, Maslowsky said.
COACHING QUIPS: Most head coaches who attended the luncheon were in jovial moods with the best exchange between Saskatchewan's Danny Barrett and Winnipeg's Jim Daley on the podium.
Barrett started, "I'm glad you guys clapped for me when I came up here because the rivalry between Saskatchewan and Winnipeg is second to none," he said. "I'm looking forward to the re-match after the Labour Day Game just as long as you don't put that name (Banjo Bowl) on it this year."
Responded Daley: "I can't wait for the Banjo Bowl."
But Toronto's Mike Clemons, who has filed for his Canadian citizenship, drew the biggest cheer.
"I am American by birth but Canadian by choice," he said.
NETWORKING: Both receiver/cornerback Markus Howell and linebacker Ryland Wickman, free agents who played for the Bombers last year, were seen networking with several CFL reps at the hotel yesterday -- including Ottawa's Joe Paopao, who must be desperate to acquire some experienced CFL players by now.
TEE-ING UP: While in Toronto on Tuesday, Bomber GM Brendan Taman discussed a new contract for backup quarterback Tee Martin with Gil Scott, an agent who is helping out Martin's U.S.-based rep.
"They initiated the discussions and we made them an offer," Taman said.
Taman also discussed free agent defensive lineman Roger Dunbrack with Scott, his agent, but decided not to go that route.
Although the 2005 CFL schedule is apparently slated to come out today, Taman said he had yet to see a final draft.