Canadian Football League

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Canadian Football League to return to Ottawa next season?

The Ottawa Rough Riders could be back in the CFL as early as next season.
The deadline for groups looking to return the CFL to Ottawa next season came Friday. Although the league wouldn't say how many applications it has received, a CFL source requesting anonymity said three have applied for the Ottawa team.
In fact, one of the groups, which is based in the United States and includes former CFL player Bill Palmer - whose son, Jesse, is a quarterback with the NFL's San Francisco 49ers - has reached an agreement with former Rough Riders owner Horn Chen to purchase the team name and R logo if it is successful.
The other groups interested in securing the Ottawa franchise are Golden Gate Capital Corporation - a Toronto financial services company - and Steelback Brewery owner Frank D'Angelo.
A fourth group is reportedly also interested, but it's not known if it has made a formal application to the CFL, which is seeking a $3.5-million franchise fee.
"We will now take the necessary steps to communicate and work with the parties that have expressed their interest by providing them with the necessary documentation and information to continue the evaluation process," CFL commissioner Tom Wright said in a statement. "We have also been reviewing information from these prospective owners to evaluate the strength of their proposed plans and organization to ensure that a strong, committed and sustainable ownership group is placed in Ottawa for the longterm.
"It is our hope as a league that some time in the fall we will be able to formally announce a new owner - one with character, commitment and financial stability - for the Ottawa-Gatineau region."
The Golden Gate bid is regarded as the front-runner because it includes Jeff Hunt, the owner of the OHL's Ottawa 67's.
But the potential return of the Rough Riders name would certainly please many Ottawa fans. That name was synonymous with the CFL in Ottawa, but the Rough Riders name and logo remained the property of Chen when the franchise folded after the '96 season.
When Ottawa returned to the CFL in 2002, it was as the Renegades. But the league suspended the franchise's operations last spring when then-owners Bernie Glieberman and Bill Smith walked away rather than cover a projected $6-million operating loss.


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