Try, try, try again

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

If they were moving any slower, there wouldn't be any motion.

However, that's the way Mel Kowalchuk insists on setting up the new Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League.

"We're hoping to start the league in 2009," Kowalchuk said at a press conference yesterday.

"This year we're going to have showcase games in each city.

"Next year we plan to showcase up to three times in each city.

"We also want to add at least one, probably two cities and go from there and start the following year."

Kowalchuk is the man behind the plan for Edmonton's latest attempt at professional soccer.

Originally the plan was to have six franchises on board, but solid ownership could not be secured in Vancouver and Victoria.

Currently there are ownership groups set up in Edmonton, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Calgary.

Dr. Brent Saik, a local optometrist, owns the Edmonton franchise which will be called the Drillers - the third incarnation of the team.

"I believe in the league, and I believe this is a really good model," Saik said.

"At that point I said if I can give something back to the city then why not make this thing happen?"

Chris Baker, who is vice-president of exploration for a Calgary-based oil and gas company, owns the franchise in Calgary. Kowalchuk heads the Saskatoon club and Bill Stewart - a Denver, Colorado-based businessman with Manitoba roots - has controlling interest in the Winnipeg team.

"It's a lot of money and I've got some friends to help me do this," Saik said of the franchise.

"It is a risk, but at the end of the day, the worst-case scenario is that everybody will go back to their job.

"But we're all doing it for the same reason.

"We want this to be something good for the city."

Kowalchuk is best known for bringing Triple-A baseball to the city in 1981 and going on to be GM of the Edmonton Trappers.

But he also served as the first president of the Canadian Soccer League.

He was also the general manager of the second incarnation of the Edmonton Drillers in the mid-'90s.

The showcase game in Edmonton is scheduled for March 18th at Rexall Place against Calgary.

Two games will be played that day.


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