'Necks give GM walking papers

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:01 AM ET

Citing financial losses and differences in philosophy while remaining vague about both, Calgary Roughnecks owner Brad Banister fired general manager Kurt Silcott yesterday.

"Kurt is a smart guy and a good GM, but we lost a pile of money," said Banister, who also serves as team president.

"Unfortunately I can't go, so he's going to have to."

For the time being, Banister will take over the full-time operations of the club, which is now down to only three front-office staff.

Banister refused to say how much money the team lost this season, only to say it was 'a lot.' A chunk of that loss was due to Banister's decision to give away tickets to the Roughnecks' March 8 home game against Portland.

Silcott, who had two years left on his contract and said he will have to work out financial arrangements with Banister, joined the team in 2005 from the Buffalo Bandits, where the Mt. Kisco, N.Y., native was the National Lacrosse League GM of the year in 2003.

Silcott was also made vice-president and given control over the business side of the club. His firing comes after the Riggers battled through an injury plagued season but finished strong for a 7-9 regular-season record.

They went into Colorado and knocked off the Mammoth in the opening round of the playoffs before losing at the 'Dome May 10 to the Portland LumberJax.

Based on the final month-and-a-half of the season, the team looked to be headed in the right direction on the floor, but Banister said the business was suffering, despite getting a home playoff date.

"I don't have good reasons for why this happened," Silcott said of his firing. "I think this is a catastrophic move on their part.

"I won't say anything that will damage the Calgary Roughnecks. I just fear for their future.

"I don't think getting rid of me will solve the problems of the Calgary Roughnecks."

Silcott's departure leaves the status of the coaching staff up in the air.

Head coach Troy Cordingley, whose contract expired at the end of the season, is disappointed to hear of Silcott's firing because he felt he could have helped by winning more.

"My first reaction is I let Kurt down," Cordingley said. "He put a lot of faith and trust in me. I just wish we had the season back with healthy players and it would have gone the way Kurt and I had planned."

Banister has no major complaints about the core of players Silcott helped assemble.

"I think we have a good squad," Banister said. "I'm not too concerned about the on-field at the moment or the performance of our players.

"Right now, this is strictly a business decision about revenues and expenses."


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