WINNIPEG - It’s true that a few fans of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are concerned about several players who departed the Winnipeg Blue Bombers roster, mainly defensive lineman Doug Brown, offensive lineman Brendon LaBatte and Odell Willis, the outgoing Mayor of Swaggerville.
At least one longtime season ticket holder vented about how he longer has access to the best seats in the house, but the annual fan forum attracted a crowd of roughly 400 passionate fans on Monday and most of them are happy with the direction the team is heading.
Blue Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice told fans the Blue Bombers believe in what they’re doing after making it to the Grey Cup in 2011 but will guard against egotism and won’t be resting on their laurels when training camp begins.
LaPolice even provided a bit of news himself as he told those in attendance that he would relinquish in-game play-calling duties to incoming offensive co-ordinator Gary Crowton.
“It’s something he’s done his whole career and I think he’ll do a great job,” said LaPolice, noting Crowton’s transition will be eased by the fact he’s used a spread offence and likes throwing the football. “I like the fact I have a guy who is very good and has a different view of things and he can also bump ideas off a guy who was a co-ordinator in the league. Some people used to think I was a pretty good OC, that’s why I was brought here.
“We certainly have room for improvement.”
General manager Joe Mack showed his sense of humour when asked by Dancing Gabe why the Blue Bombers got burned in free agency?
“Probably because the general manager isn’t very bright,” said Mack, noting there will be an announcement or two forthcoming in free agency.
Naturally, the topic of construction delays on the new stadium was broached.
One concerned fan mentioned a friend of his in the construction business had told him that there was no chance the Blue Bombers would be in the new stadium before the end of September — and maybe not until 2013.
“You hear the rumours and I hear the rumours. I got a text two weeks ago that there was a rumour the stadium was burning down right now,” said Blue Bombers president and CEO Garth Buchko. “We stated a month ago that the critical date and timeline for us is May 1 and that’s the absolute truth. We have had delays and they’re unfortunate.
“July 26 is still our goal. Crews are working 18-hour days, seven days a week.”