Best buds to battle

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:28 AM ET

Doug Berry's closest friend in the CFL is the man who will be standing on the other sideline this weekend at Canad Inns Stadium.

Berry and Danny Maciocia spent three years together as assistants with the Montreal Alouettes. On Saturday Berry will lead his Winnipeg Blue Bombers against Maciocia's Edmonton Eskimos.

"I would say he is probably my best friend in the CFL -- excluding Edmonton -- when it comes to coaches," said Maciocia yesterday. "Him and I have a tremendous relationship."

In fact, Maciocia put in a good word for Berry when the latter was pursuing Winnipeg's head coaching position in December.

"It's a good friendship that we've had," said Berry. "... When you go for a job, you have professional references and you have people who are your friends for references.

"I would use Danny more as a personal friend reference than I would as a professional reference."

And when their teams face one another they try to go out for dinner the night before the game.

"I was going have him over to my house Friday night, but I've got something else going on, so I can't do that," said Berry.

Maciocia, unaware that Berry is busy tomorrow night, was looking forward to that dinner -- sort of.

"I hope he doesn't try to poison me," quipped Maciocia. "But I am sure as I exit the door or he takes me back to the hotel, he'll probably make some smart remark, and I'm sure the next day it will be on."

LATE HITS: Former Bombers QB Khari Jones will be on the Canad Inns Stadium field Saturday night -- as the sideline reporter for CBC's telecast. He is expected in town today ... Berry reported that KR Albert Johnson III, OL Val St. Germain and CB Omar Evans are all healthy and will be in the lineup Saturday.


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