GMs: It's always the same, cars & women top priorities

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:37 PM ET

It's almost as certain as the sunrise.

That's how Winnipeg Blue Bombers GM Brendan Taman describes the initial conversation he usually has with players he brings to town to play for his football team.

"There's three things they want," Taman said. "They want a car or where to get a car, they want to know where the housing is, and they want to know where the girls hang out.

"So those three things -- not necessarily in that order -- are the most important things we have to deal with them about ... and why the taxes are so high when they get their first cheque."

That's what happens when they get here. But how, exactly, do they get here?

A player's acquisition may constitute only one line in a newspaper story, but the actual process of getting him here is way more significant than that.

The Bombers and Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball team must first acquire work permits for the player if he isn't from Canada.

The Goldeyes have quite an international flavour, which keeps GM Andrew Collier on his toes. Sometimes it even ties his hands.

Collier said the Goldeyes don't bring in a player from the Dominican Republic during the season because the paper trail takes forever.

"Americans and Australians can just fly in and get their permit at the border," he said. "Dominicans and Venezuelans need to get their work permit done at the (Canadian) embassy in their home country first.

"Caracas (Venezuela) can turn around a work authorization in a day, because they can actually process it. In the Dominican they have to go to the Canadian embassy in Santo Domingo, and they in turn send it to Haiti to be processed. That takes two weeks. That's too long."

The main concern of the local pro hockey team, the Manitoba Moose, is ensuring its European players have passports and visas that are up to date, although the Russians still seem to spend quite a bit of time in U.S. customs offices no matter how prepared they are.

Americans who have criminal records in their native country are subject to scrutiny at the border, as Bombers receiver Vinny Sutherland found out this past spring when he tried to come to Winnipeg well before training camp began.

Sutherland actually had to return home to Florida to get his ducks in a row before finally gaining entrance to Canada a few days later.

As for physically getting the players to Winnipeg, each team buys a plane ticket for the player and always has someone waiting at the airport to pick him up.

Then it's time to find out where the babes are.

"I haven't had the girl question over the phone," Collier said, "but usually when they get here, the guys that have been here before usually fill them in on where to go."


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