Posts Tagged ‘CFL’

The Ottawa Redblacks fired head coach Paul LaPolice on Saturday.

“I have enjoyed working with Paul and thank him for his contributions to this team over the past two seasons; today isn’t an easy day,” said general manager Shawn Burke. “In this business, sometimes a change is required to help move a team forward, and that’s what we’ve done here.”

Special teams coordinator Bob Dyce will serve as interim head coach.

“Although I am disappointed in what has happened, I understand that each year in pro sports, coaches are fired,” LaPolice said in a statement obtained by 3DownNation. “I am accountable for our record and we have not won enough games this season.”

Burke and Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group CEO Mark Goudie are expected to hold a press conference Monday.

The Redblacks hired LaPolice as their head coach in 2019 after he served as the offensive coordinator for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He didn’t make his coaching debut until 2021 after the league canceled the 2020 campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

LaPolice led Ottawa to a fourth-place finish in the East Division with a 3-11 record in his first year at the helm. The 52-year-old couldn’t change the franchise’s fortunes to start the 2022 season after a 0-6 start.

The Redblacks lost 34-19 to the BC Lions on Friday, dropping their record to 3-11 on the season. Ottawa compiled a 6-26 record during LaPolice’s tenure.

Call the Guinness Book of World Records, because the Edmonton Elks’ home ineptitude has reached historic levels.

Saturday’s 25-18 defeat at the hands of the Montreal Alouettes marked the team’s 15th consecutive loss at Commonwealth Stadium, setting a new pro football record for the longest home losing streak.

Edmonton looked to be on pace to avoid that inauspicious honour, taking a narrow 18-17 lead into halftime. However, the Elks were shut out after the break and committed two turnovers in the red zone — the first being a 100-yard pick-six by Alouettes’ linebacker Tyrice Beverette which would prove to be the margin of victory.

That broke a four-way tie for the all-time lead in consecutive home losses, passing the 1987-88 Ottawa Rough Riders, 1988-89 Dallas Cowboys, and 2008-10 St. Louis Rams.

Edmonton’s last victory at Commonwealth came on October 12, 2019 — 1,085 days ago –against the B.C. Lions. The intervening years have included an organizational name change, a global pandemic and four separate head coaches — Jason Maas, Scott Milanovich (who never coached a game), Jaime Elizondo, and now Chris Jones. None have been able to deliver a win for the hometown crowd.

The Elks will have two more opportunities to avoid going two full seasons without recording a home victory, with the next coming on Saturday, October 15 against the Toronto Argonauts.

Calgary Stampeders linebacker Cameron Judge was suspended one game Tuesday for violating the CFL’s player code of conduct by punching BC Lions receiver Lucky Whitehead on the field after Saturday’s game.

Whitehead wasn’t at BC’s team facility Monday due to an injury he’s believed to have suffered in the scuffle, according to TSN, which followed a 31-29 overtime Lions win.

The Lions wideout reportedly drew the ire of Calgary players by making comments throughout the game about Judge’s family, according to Danny Austin of the Calgary Sun. It’s unclear if the league will take action against Whitehead for breaching the code of conduct with derogatory remarks.

After the dustup, he accused Judge of sucker-punching him.

Lions players reportedly tried to reach the Stampeders locker room following the game, according to TSN’s Farhan Lalji, and police confirmed there was a verbal confrontation in the parking lot at McMahon Stadium.

“Police were on scene and kept the two sides separate,” Calgary police said in a statement Tuesday, according to TSN. “There was no physical altercation, no criminal allegations were made, and no charges were laid. We are not investigating the altercation.”

Meanwhile, the suspension means Judge will miss the rematch between the Stamps and Lions on Saturday at BC Place. The 27-year-old defender has recorded 64 tackles,one interception, and three sacksin his first season with the Stampeders.

Over the past two years, the Canadian Football League has faced trials and tribulations unlike anything it has seen over its 64 years.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the CFL to cancel the 2020 season and shorten the 2021 season from 18 to 14 games.

Prior to the start of the 2022 season, the CFL and the CFL Players’ Association went through a contentious collective bargaining negotiation that could have threatened another season.

With all those challenges now in the rear-view mirror and a full season currently underway, the league is looking towards to future to see how it can grow and continue to stabilize for generations to come.

At the top of the list is expansion to become a 10-team league.

 ” [A] 10th team for this league has been the long dreamt promised land,” CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie told TSN1050 on Friday. “We really believe we need to get that 10th team.”

Earlier this season, the Toronto Argonauts and the Saskatchewan Roughriders took part in the Touchdown Atlantic Series at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., which was the first time the league has put on a game on the East Coast in three seasons.

Tickets for that game sold out in an hour according to the CFL and has led to more interest in bringing a team to Atlantic Canada.

“We came out of this year’s Touchdown Atlantic game with so much momentum and it was a huge blockbuster-type success,” said Ambrosie. “Lots of people in Atlantic Canada are talking to us now and we’re having great conversations on how we go about expansion there.”

This isn’t the first time the CFL has tried to sell the idea of having a team on the East Coast. In 2018, the league put out a plan that would have seen the league expand to Halifax by 2021.

But that was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another way to grow the game is the ability to focus on Canadian-grown talent and the emergence of B.C. Lions quarterback Nathan Rourke has allowed the CFL to do just that.

The 24-year-old Victoria native leads the league in passing yards (3,281) and passing touchdowns (25), changing the narrative of what a Canadian quarterback can be in the CFL.

Unfortunately for the Lions and Canadian football fans, Rourke sustained at Lisfranc sprain in his foot that will sideline him for most of the remainder of the season.

“Virtually every CFL fan [was] heartbroken for him,” said Ambrosie. “You’re just devastated when you see a teammate go down, especially someone who is performing at such a high level.”

“I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Nathan Rourke, He’s going to be a great story for the CFL for many years to come.”

This season has not come without setbacks, one of them being the loss of minority Montreal Alouettes owner Gary Stern from the franchise’s day-to-day operations.

Stern has been an outspoken and passionate member of the Alouettes organization who engaged fans through social media, bringing the spotlight towards his team and the league.

Despite Stern taking a backseat, Ambrosie is reassuring fans that the Montreal organization is stable and committed to winning and creating an entertaining product.

“The messaging we got from the representatives of the majority shareholders this week was very encouraging,” said Ambrosie. “Their priorities were very clear that they want to win football games and entertain their fans.”

“From an operational point of view it’s steady as she goes.”

Returner Terry Williams has been sent to the B.C. Lions in a trade with the Ottawa Redblacks.

The 26-year-old Williams has posted 1,479 combined punt and kick return yards. He also has 71 receiving yards and 26 rushing yards on offence.

“We are excited to add Terry to our lineup ahead of a big stretch to close out the regular season,” said Lions co-general manager and head coach Rick Campbell.

“He has shown to be a dynamic return specialist in this league and he is a welcome addition.”

Ottawa receives a third-round pick in the 2023 CFL Draft, and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2024 in exchange for Williams.

A native of Greenwood, Miss., Williams signed with the Redblacks in 2021.

He has since gone on to appear in 11 games across two seasons.

The BC Lions have acquired quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. in a trade with the Montreal Alouettes, the Lions announced Wednesday.

The Alouettes received a 2023 first-round pick in return for Adams.

Adams previously landed on the six-game injured list due to elbow tendinitis, but is now healthy. He has thrown for 294 yards with one touchdown to two interceptions over five appearances this season.

The 29-year-old has accumulated 43 touchdown passes and 26 picks since entering the CFL in 2016. His best work came in 2019 when he notched 3,942 passing yards, 24 passing scores, and an additional 12 rushing touchdowns.

The Lions have been in need of a quarterback since losing Nathan Rourke to a Lisfranc sprain earlier this month. However, the club is hopeful he’ll make a late-season return after he recovers from surgery.

Rourke was in the midst of an impressive campaign prior to his injury. He tallied 3,281 passing yards and 25 touchdowns to 10 interceptions in his first season as the Lions’ starting passer.

Despite losing Rourke, the Lions remain in a good position with an 8-2 record. They rank second in the West division behind the 10-1 Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Once again, the CFL has an ownership issue with the Montreal Alouettes to deal with.

Minority owner Gary Stern announced Monday he’s stepping away from the club’s day-to-day operations as well as his position on the CFL board of governors.

“Today, I am forced to share with you my current reality; I can no longer be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Montreal Alouettes,” Stern wrote in an open letter to Alouettes fans. “This was a very tough decision for me and my family, but it is a final decision.

“I love this team. I love Montreal and our fans. As a lifelong sports fan, my role with the Alouettes was a dream come true. I loved every minute of it.”

Neither the CFL nor Alouettes immediately commented about Stern’s letter.

Stern and his business partner/father-in-law, Sid Spiegel, purchased the Alouettes in January 2020 from the CFL, but Spiegel never saw the franchise play.

The CFL cancelled the ’20 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Spiegel died in July 2020. His age wasn’t divulged but Spiegel was listed as 89 when he and Stern purchased the Alouettes.

“My wife Julie and I still mourn the loss, just over a year ago, of her father Sid Spiegel, who was my lifelong partner in business and in our shared dream of owning the Alouettes,” Stern wrote. “He was also my close partner in life.

“His death has effectively shelved the amazing plans we had for the Alouettes. We were ready and wanted to invest long-term in the future of the Alouettes. Due to COVID-19 cancelling CFL play, Sid, who was the 75 per cent majority owner, sadly never got a chance to see his team play. I will always regret that.”

Stern also served as the Alouettes’ CEO.

“Today, decisions related to team financing and operations rest with Sid’s estate,” Stern wrote. “The close partnership Sid and I had, which included our shared love of sports and our ability to grow our team the way we have invested and grown our other joint businesses for decades, no longer exists.

“I wish nothing but the best for our team, our fans and our community. I remain one of the Alouettes’ and the CFL’s biggest fans. But I will be cheering from the sidelines as I return to my role as a private citizen and step back. Thank you to everyone in Montreal. I will always cherish the memories we have made.”

American businessman Robert Wetenhall owned the Alouettes from 1997 until 2018 before the CFL took over operating the franchise while it searched for new ownership.

For much of Wetenhall’s tenure, the Alouettes were a CFL powerhouse.

From 1999 to 2012, they finished atop the East Division 10 times and advanced to the Grey Cup on eight occasions, winning three. But Montreal’s last Grey Cup win during Wetenhall’s ownership was in 2010 and the franchise missed the CFL playoffs the last four year of his tenure, amassing a 21-51 overall record over that span.

And there were reports the Alouettes lost $12 million in Wetenhall’s final season as the owner.

Wetenhall passed away in September 2021. He was 86.

Wetenhall and Stern were polar opposites as owners. While Wetenhall chose to remain behind the scenes, Stern took to social media to actively become the face of the franchise, going so far as to boldly predict victories for his team.

The ’22 season has been a roller-coaster affair for Montreal (4-6), which is second in the East Division. The team fired head coach Khari Jones after opening the season 1-3, with GM Danny Maciocia taking over as coach on an interim basis.

Montreal remains the only CFL team to have defeated the Grey Cup-champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers this season. But last week the club suspended fullback Christophe Normand indefinitely as he faces two charges of luring a child under 18, including one count of luring a child under 16, or who the accused believed was under 16 at the time of the offence.

Montreal hosts the Ottawa Redblacks (2-8) on Friday night. On Saturday, the Alouettes drew a season-high 21,014 fans to Molson Stadium for their come-from-behind 29-28 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

BC Lions quarterback Nathan Rourke suffered a foot injury Friday versus the Saskatchewan Roughriders, interrupting the latest standout performance in his breakout season.

Team doctors examined Rourke’s injury Saturday morning, but he’ll require further evaluation.

The Lions ruled out Rourke in the fourth quarter. Rourke exited after his leg got twisted on a sack from Saskatchewan’s Pete Robertson. The Canadian star threw for 375 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions before leaving.

Rourke entered Week 11 as the front-runner for the Most Outstanding Player award. The 24-year-old came into Friday’s action leading the CFL with 23 touchdown passes, 2,906 passing yards, and an 80.1% completion rate.

Michael O’Connor replaced Rourke as the Lions closed out their 28-10 victory over the Roughriders.

BC improved to 8-1 with the win, putting the club just one win behind the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for first place in the West Division. The Lions will face the Roughriders again in Week 12 before going on a bye.

The Montreal Alouettes handed the Winnipeg Blue Bombers their first loss of the season with a tight 20-17 overtime victory Thursday.

Marc Liegghio bounced a 37-yard field-goal attempt off the upright in overtime, sealing the Bombers’ loss. It was Liegghio’s second straight miss after he failed to convert a potential 32-yard game-winner in the final seconds of regulation.

The reigning Grey Cup champions came into the contest with a perfect 9-0 record and were looking for their first 10-0 start since 1960. Dating back to last postseason, the Bombers had won 11 consecutive games before Thursday’s defeat.

Montreal’s Trevor Harris completed 18-of-27 passes for 213 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Both of the Alouettes’ touchdowns were punched in by Dominique Davis.

The Bombers outgained the Alouettes 369 to 283 in yardage and outrushed their foes 118-70. Winnipeg running back Brady Oliveira accumulated 84 rushing yards while quarterback Zach Collaros threw for 251 yards with one touchdown.

The 9-1 Bombers remain on top of the West division despite the loss. Montreal now moves to 3-6, still behind the 4-3 Toronto Argonauts in the East division.

Winnipeg had defeated Montreal on the road the week prior 35-20. The Bombers will enjoy a bye before resuming their schedule with a matchup against the Calgary Stampeders on Aug. 25.

Montreal Alouettes’ owner Gary Stern has developed a reputation for making bold declarations on Twitter and this week was no exception as he expressed his belief that his team will defeat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Thursday.

Game against Winnipeg coming up fast . No one gives us a chance I sincerely believe , we are at home , we have the talent , coaches installed great systems , we will win this game . @MiltStegallTSN @MattDuniganTSN @DavisSanchez don’t write this team off .

Stern tagged a number of CFL on TSN panelists in his tweet, which was likely a reference to Milt Stegall’s guarantee that the Ottawa Redblacks would beat the Alouettes in Week 7. Montreal ended up winning the game 40-33, causing Stegall to eat crow on local radio.

When a fan of the Blue Bombers reminded Stern that Winnipeg will take full advantage of any mistakes the Alouettes make on Thursday, the owner expressed his respect for the reigning Grey Cup champions while proudly defending his team.

No question , they a great team , no question, we going to have to play almost perfect football . But that’s all doable . Look for an alouette victory !!

The Alouettes are coming off a 24-17 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats that dropped them to 2-5 on the season and a tie for second place in the East Division. They remain only two points behind the Toronto Argonauts (3-3) for first place in the standings, though the Boatmen have a game in hand.

Winnipeg is coming off a 35-28 victory over the Calgary Stampeders in which they played near-perfect football. The club is off to their first 8-0 start since 1960 and have won 16 consecutive meaningful regular-season games dating back to last season.

One thing working to Montreal’s advantage is that the Blue Bombers are coming off a short week. Winnipeg will have to play at Percival Molson Stadium on only four days of rest and their ninth consecutive week without a bye.

If the Alouettes pull off the upset over Winnipeg, Stern will look like a genius for making his bold prediction. If not, Stern will have to ask Stegall for the best way to prepare fresh crow.