Canadian Football League

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Canadian Football League Week #6 Picks

Ti-Cats vs. Als

The Als layed quite a beaten on The Bombers last week and while The Cats picked up a
win last week, on paper this should not even be close.
Sometimes paper can be right. Als by 15

Bombers vs. Eskimos

The Bombers destroyed the Grey Cup Champs in Winnipeg on Canada Day. But that was
Winnipeg and this is Edmonton and a grass field along with 7 changes to the Bomber line-up.

Eskimos by 13

Lions vs. Stamps

Everyone is taking The Stamps in this one. The feeling is the Lions are in a slump.
Call it a hunch but take the Lions by 5

Argos vs. Riders

Argos are comming off a bye and usually do not fair well in Regina.

Riders by 7

Lat Week: 0-3 over-all 8-10

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Former Canadian Football League player named Head Coach of Daytona Beach

Former New York Giant, Tampa Bay Buc and Canadian Football League Hall of Famer Leon Bright has been named the Head Coach/Director of Football Operations for the Daytona Beach Thunder.
Owners Kevin McDonald, Zack McDonald and Antone Smothers introduced Bright at a media event on Wednesday, July 19 at the DBCC Public Broadcasting 15 Studios' set for "Thirty Minutes of Thunder and Lightning," the team's television show airing on the local PBS affiliate.
"Forgive the pun, but today is a very Bright day," Zack McDonald said. "In Leon, we have a distinguished individual with an impressive background and impressive connections. Our football operations have improved drastically simply by having Leon on board."
"This is a great opportunity, said Bright, 51. "The Thunder is an outstanding organization dedicated to the community. The ownership is strong, the support is strong and the opportunity for success is unlimited. It's time to bring a championship to Daytona Beach and Volusia County."
The franchise received 39 applicants for the position from every professional indoor league, including the Arena Football League and from as far away as Australia and Ireland.
However, as the process continued, Thunder owners realized that the new coach needed to have strong local connections to be successful both on and off the field.
"We're continuing to build a championship team and a championship franchise," McDonald said. "Sponsorships and community ties are as important as victories at this point.
Bright is a resident of DeLand and is currently the director for the Chisholm Community Center. He's been active in the West Volusia community for numerous years.
"One of our team's goals is to break down the `wall' between West Volusia and East Volusia," McDonald said. "Leon will help us do that."
Other candidates from the area included local high school football coaching Rocky Yocam and Chad Rhodes, a Thunder assistant and head coach at Lighthouse Christian Academy. Yocam served as a color commentary for Thunder broadcasts in 2006.
"To have well-respected coaches such as Rocky Yocam apply for our job gave us a sense of pride in the fact that name coaches want to be a part of our organization," McDonald said. "Chad has done a great job for us and deserved consideration."
The Thunder also considered three assistants from the AFL and interested parties from every other team (excluding Rome) in the American Indoor Football League's Southern Conference as well as former Evansville Bluecats (UIF) defensive coordinator Russ Shearer.
"The overall quality of applicant was impressive," McDonald said. "But we know Leon can get the job done."
A native of Merritt Island, Bright was a two-year letterman at Florida State University and still holds the record for longest kickoff return.
In 1977, he opted to venture north to the Canadian Football League, where he was named Rookie of The Year and an All-Pro receiver for the British Columbia Lions. He spent four seasons with the Lions as a part of a corps of players that returned the franchise to success. Fans voted him to CFL Hall of Fame as a member of their "Dream Team:
Bright joined the New York Giants in 1981 and spent three seasons there under the tutelage of then assistants Bill Parcells, Bill Bellichik and Romeo Crennel, who are now the head coaches of the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns. His playing days concluded with two seasons with the Bucs.
"Leon's maintained those connections with the NFL and CFL, and also has connections with the AFL," McDonald. "That will help us help our players make it to the next level."
After his playing days, Bright settled in DeLand and has served as an assistant coach at DeLand High School, Atlantic High School and Lighthouse Christian Academy. He was briefly involved in women's football, serving as head coach for the Orlando Fire of the Women's American Football League in 2001 that finished 7-3 and won a division title.
In the community, Bright has been active with the Stewart-Marchman Center, which helps individuals overcome substance abuse.
Bright is married to the former Tammy McGee. He has five children - Tracy, Darron, Phillip, Leon and Ashley.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Loyal Canadian Football League Fan

Immediately after the Toronto Argonauts finish their workout today, they will return to a barbecue grill and an old flame.

The barbecue brigade, once led by a tiny field general named Doug Flutie, will storm up a hill about 100 yards from the practice field and go into a different kind of spread formation: taking seats around a picnic table set by Lori Bursey.
For more than a decade, Bursey has been setting a table — and a family tone — after weekend practices at the University of Toronto, flipping burgers for the team she flipped for years ago.
“I’ve loved these guys since I was a schoolgirl,” said Bursey, who is in her 40’s and works as an advertising sales manager for The Toronto Star.
“I have to take care of them.”
Born in Scarborough, Ontario, she was reared on the Argos, one of the Canadian Football League’s oldest teams. Bursey was 12 when she attended her first game and developed an instant crush on them. “Thirteen of us cut school to go to that first game, but as the years passed, my circle of Argos friends got smaller and smaller,” Bursey said. “Until there was only me.”
Once a diehard fan of the Maple Leafs and the Blue Jays, Bursey eventually soured on them. By the time the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball returned from their most recent work stoppages, she had lost interest.
“I started to ask myself, ‘How could anyone make that much money and not be satisfied?’ ” Bursey said. “I’d rather root for the Argos and other C.F.L. players because they are ordinary people earning ordinary salaries, and that makes them a lot more accessible.”
A season-ticket holder and president of the Argos’ fan club, Bursey has the kind of relationship with the players and the coaches that cannot be found at a fantasy camp.
After home games, she goes to Joe Badali’s, a local restaurant and bar, where she is joined by a group of players. The Bursey bunch gathered there July 8, after Toronto lost to Winnipeg.
“Lori’s relationship with the players extends beyond the football field,” said Noel Prefontaine, the Argos’ place-kicker and punter, who often calls Bursey just to chat.
“She has always proven her loyalty,” Prefontaine added. “As a player, it’s comforting to have a true fan on your side, someone who is not patting us on the back when we’re doing well and talking behind our backs when we’re going bad.”
Bursey travels for most road games — her license plate reads ARGOZ — and has been to 21 straight Grey Cups. She is as well known around the C.F.L. as some of the star players. On July 1, the newly arrived Ricky Williams, serving a one-year suspension from the N.F.L. for a fourth violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy, wasted no time becoming acquainted.
“Ricky walked over to me and wished me a happy Canada Day,” Bursey said. “He seems like a pretty nice guy.”
Bursey was asked by her extended family to handle coin-tossing duties before the season opener against archrival Hamilton.
Now living in Markham, a Toronto suburb, Bursey has a home with a room dedicated to her first love. She has been married to Ron Keffer for 20 years, and they take two cars to home games.
“We go separately because I stay too long,” Bursey said.
The Argos room, she said, is filled with “tons of footballs,” autographed jerseys and other memorabilia. She owns a necklace with a diamond-and-sapphire pendant that mirrors the Argos’ championship ring from the 1997 Grey Cup, a reward from the team for her unwavering loyalty.
She also owns a 1991 Argos championship ring from an auction. “I put in a winning bid of $1,800,” she said proudly.
But Bursey could not put a price on the second-row seat she occupies at the Rogers Center, some 30 feet behind the Argos’ bench.
“I need to be close enough to have my guys hear me rooting for them,” she said. “When I start screaming, they just kind of laugh, but I usually get my message across, if not during a game, then after.”