Monday, June 29, 2009

CIS Corner: Losses hit Gaels hard; mulling the Ravens revival

Being on vacation last week precluded weighing in on a couple pertinent university football stories, the emerging details about a Carleton Ravens revival and Queen's losses to the CFL.

Ravens/Gee-Gees: Ottawa's WCE — whose turn is it to wear the mayor's chain of office this week? — could still screw this up. After last week, it is easier to picture a double launch in 2012, with the Ravens joining the Reconstituted.

CFL commissioner Mark Cohon said recently that Ottawa will come back into the pro league in 2012. Three years is enough lead time for Carleton to prepare the proper exploitation for a football revival.

Carleton would basically run on the Laval model, with the football team almost separate from the university save for academics and admissions. Quoth John Ruddy, one of the Lansdowne Live leaders (and a former Ravens defensive back):
"The Ravens would utilize our professional training facilities, they’d play in a new, fan-friendly stadium and they’d leverage our marking and operations staff ... At the end of the day, I think those elements would benefit recruiting and player development and fast-track success on the field."
David Naylor, the excellent Globe & Mail football reporter, noted this gives Jeff Hunt, Roger Greenberg, John Shenkman and Ruddy an important card to play in their negotiations with the city:
"... The revitalization of Lansdowne starts to look less like the building of a home for a CFL team and more like the construction of a community asset that will be used for two sports at both the amateur and professional levels.

That is surely the message the (Jeff) Hunt group wants to get out in advance of city council vote scheduled for Aug. 26."
Two questions pop immediately to mind:
  1. How does this affect the Ottawa Gee-Gees, who play at Lansdowne? As an user noted, the Gee-Gees would not want to play at a stadium run by a group which is putting its fundraising and marketing expertise toward their cross-town rivals. It would be similar to the situation where Waterloo used Laurier's stadium for many years, the irony here being the Gee-Gees have been a powerhouse while Carleton was an also-ran more often than not.

  2. Carleton coming back likely means another OUA school is exploring starting a football team to bring the conference to even 12. Not to play coy, but feel free to speculate away about who might be that school. The one these ears heard would be a stunner.
Golden Gaels: Losing Dee Sterling to the Edmonton Eskimos probably leaves more of a hole in Pat Sheahan's two-deep than Mike Giffin making the Montréal Alouettes.

That is not a knock on Giffin, who made the Als as a fullback and special-teamer. Sterling going up to the CFL probably was less anticipated.

Meantime, Thaine Carter, the middle linebacker, ripped up his shoulder at Winnipeg Blue Bombers camp and Osie Ukwuoma might remain on the Calgary Stampeders practice roster, so that is three players lost off the front seven if Sterling stays in Edmonton and Carter does not comeback from his surgery. In order, that means Queen's is without a linebacker who could play sideline to sideline, its best rusher coming off the edge and a disruptor in the middle of the defensive line.

The Whig's article from last Friday noted cornerback-kick returner Jimmy Allin is a maybe to return for a fifth season. Centre Dan Bederman is "expected to return."

Meantime, good on Giffin for making the Alouettes. He was in tough after converting from tailback, since one of the other fullback spots was being used for Martin Bédard, a tight end from UConn who can also long snap. Giffin is not the first Queen's rushing star to earn his keep in the CFL as a fill-in back and special teamer. Bryan Crawford is going into his fifth season with the Toronto Argonauts, while Brad Elberg did it for the better part of a decade.

It just took Giff a little time to commit to the switch:
"I didn't go in with a good attitude last year (with Hamilton) ... My head just wasn't in it with my wife (Heidi) being eight months pregnant. I didn't think I had to perform. I was naive."
— Kingston Whig-Standard

Carleton aims for return of football (Terri Saunders, Sun Media, June 25)

(Cross-posted to

1 comment:

dzuunmod said...

I'd love to see a school up north (I guess it'd have to be Laurentian or Nippissing; the former would have a slight shot at it I'd think, the latter none whatsoever) throw into university football.

If my memory serves me right, I think there's a field in Sudbury that could do the trick with minimal upgrades. Certainly not much worse than Concordia's current digs, for example.