Archive for the ‘CFL’ Category

A group of businessmen with ties to Eastern Canada would like to make the Canadian Football League’s dream of a tenth franchise come true in Halifax.

The group made a presentation to the league’s board of governors several weeks ago in Toronto. Meetings have since taken place with various levels of government in Nova Scotia, including an in-camera session with Halifax city council this week that was attended by CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie.

“We have had discussions with the CFL’s board of governors and ongoing discussions with commissioner Ambrosie,” said Anthony LeBlanc, a partner in the group and former president and CEO of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.

“The conversations have all been very productive. Chief among all we have discussed, we have a clear understanding of the CFL’s requirements for an expansion franchise, and this clarity is allowing us to move our project forward in a thoughtful way.”

Along with LeBlanc, whose family is from New Brunswick and who began his business career in the province, the group includes Bruce Bowser, a Halifax native who is currently president of AMJ Campbell Van Lines, and Gary Drummond, a businessman from Regina who was president of hockey operations for the Coyotes.

A league spokesman confirmed it had received an expression of interest for a Halifax franchise but said that a process and timetable for awarding a team has yet to be established.

One CFL source described the group’s presentation as “very credible.”

The Halifax group is modelling its plan on that of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, which received a conditional franchise from the CFL in 2008 and then redeveloped Frank Clair Stadium and the land surrounding it.

It’s believed the Halifax group would like to have a conditional franchise granted before the start of the 2018 CFL season, with a goal of beginning play as soon as 2020.

The potential owners want to brand the franchise to identity not just with Halifax but all of Atlantic Canada.

Halifax mayor Mike Savage has been on record as saying he would like to see his city host a CFL franchise. Sources say discussions with Savage and members of his council have been very positive over the past few months.

Central to the idea is the construction of a multi-purpose stadium, at one of several locations currently being explored – one of which is the Shannon Park, located next to the A. Murray MacKay Bridge.

Commissioner Ambrosie is expected to update the league’s board of governors on the state of the Halifax proposal when they meet the day before Grey Cup Sunday.

Besides expanding the league’s television footprint into Atlantic Canada, a Halifax-based franchise would allow the league to create two five-team divisions and avoid the number of bye weeks required with a nine-team league.

The CFL awarded a conditional franchise to a Halifax group in 1982 under the name Atlantic Schooners but the financing to build a suitable stadium never materialized.

Dating back to the mid-1980s, the CFL has staged exhibition games in Halifax. In 2010, 2011 and 2013 it played three regular-season games in Moncton, N.B.

 

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The CFL announced Wednesday it won’t register any contract for former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel this season, and will only allow him to play in the league next year if he meets certain conditions spelled out by the commissioner.

“The specifics of those conditions are confidential and will not be disclosed,” a statement from the league read.

Manziel, who had an in-person meeting with commissioner Randy Ambrosie, will remain on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats‘ exclusive negotiating rights list until Nov. 30, according to the statement.

Known as Johnny Football, Manziel is intent on resuming his career after addressing numerous off-field issues. He worked out for the Tiger-Cats in August, but Hamilton said at the time it chose not to offer him a contract.

Manziel released the following statement Wednesday:

I recently had a really positive meeting with Commissioner Ambrosie and welcomed the chance for us to get to know each other and have an in-depth talk about a possible future with the CFL. I love this game and want to be back on the field in a situation where I can help a franchise in the long term. Over the past months, my agent helped me vet all of my options for playing, figuring out where I could be most effective and get back to having the most fun with the game I love. I’m ready to play today, but we all agreed with the Commissioner that it made no sense for me to join a team with only a month left in the season – it wouldn’t have been fair to my teammates, coaches or the fan base. I want to come into a team and earn my job day one, like everyone else. I look forward to preparing myself as best I can and look forward to what the future holds.

A former Heisman Trophy winner at Texas A&M, Manziel spent two years with the Cleveland Browns before being released. The Browns drafted him in the first round, 22nd overall, in 2014.

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Trent Richardson admitted he doesn’t know the difference in rules between the NFL and CFL, but the running back doesn’t believe it’ll make a difference once he touches the field as a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

“I know if you put a pigskin in my hand, football in my hand, I’m ready to run, I’m ready to play and I’m ready to do what I do best – get in the end zone and probably run somebody over, a player or two,” the former NFL No. 3 overall pick said at his introductory press conference, according to Mark Inabinett of AL.com.

“It is what it is. At the end of the day, I’m here to play football. I don’t know if it’s much to get used to other than playing football.”

Richardson, 27, hasn’t appeared in a competitive game since 2014. He signed with Saskatchewan on Tuesday, two months after he appeared to strike an agreement with the club, only for it to fall apart at the last second.

The former Alabama star played three NFL seasons, spending most of them with the Indianapolis Colts. He had his most productive campaign as a rookie, rushing for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns, though he only averaged 3.6 yards per carry.

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Travis Lulay‘s season is officially over because of a knee injury, the BC Lions announced Tuesday.

The Lions noted Lulay suffered “significant ligament damage,” but didn’t specify the injury. After going down in Friday’s win over the Montreal Alouettes, it was reported that Lulay tore his ACL.

Lulay threw for 1,693 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. Quarterback Jonathon Jennings will take over behind center when BC takes on the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday.

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Despite failing to earn a contract following a recent workout with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel is still eager to play in the CFL, a source told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

Manziel is reportedly continuing to discuss a potential contract with the Tiger-Cats, though no deal is on the horizon.

“This is something he very much wants,” the source told Fowler.

Manziel worked out for the Tiger-Cats last week but the team decided not to sign him, reportedly because it saw “too many red flags” in the former Heisman Trophy winner. Manziel repeatedly had his work ethic and dedication to the sport questioned while playing with the Cleveland Browns.

Hamilton owns the Manziel’s negotiating rights, meaning the 24-year-old can’t sign with another CFL team unless the Tiger-Cats trade his rights.

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Hamilton Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young issued an apology one day after the club hired former Baylor coach Art Briles and then released him amid intense public and league pressure.

Young apologized via the club’s website for the decision to bring in the disgraced coach:

We made a large and serious mistake. We want to apologize to our fans, corporate partners and the Canadian Football League. It has been a difficult season and we are searching for answers. This is clearly not one of them. We have listened, we are reviewing our decision-making processes and we will learn. We will go on. We want to thank our fans, partners and the CFL for their help and support.

Briles was dismissed by Baylor in May in the wake of a sexual assault scandal that rocked the institution. CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie convinced the Tiger-Cats to drop the 61-year-old last night, just hours after they announced the hiring, according to Drew Edwards of 3DownNation.

Hamilton is winless on the season and sits dead last in the CFL in a number of offensive categories. Briles’ offense regularly ranked among the best in college football, and his familiarity with new head coach June Jones likely led to the move to bring him in.

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If OneRepublic didn’t impress you much at the 2016 Grey Cup halftime show, the CFL has booked someone who will for 2017.

Shania Twain will perform at halftime at the 105th Grey Cup on Nov. 26 at TD Place in Ottawa, the CFL announced Thursday.

“It’s an absolute honour to return to the Grey Cup stage in the nation’s capital during Canada’s 150th birthday,” said Twain, the top-selling female country artist of all time. “I’m thrilled to be coming home and being a part of the country’s biggest annual party.”

“Shania is a massive Canadian icon and a global superstar, so we are so excited that she will help us cap off such a significant year for our country at the 105th Grey Cup in Ottawa,” added Randy Ambrosie, CFL Commissioner. “This promises to be a fantastic event and a special performance for our fans and viewers across Canada and all around the world. I can’t wait to get the party started at my first Grey Cup as Commissioner.”

Twain previously performed at the Grey Cup halftime, in Edmonton in 2002. She will release her fifth studio album – “NOW” – on Sept. 29.