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If fans don’t fill the seats, should the CFL get government aid to stay alive? “Yes” or “No” on CFL help?

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Here’s the question: If fans stay away from home games, should the CFL get government aid to stay alive?

Does the Canadian Football League really matter anymore? I hope so, but I’m not sure. Honestly, I don’t know what the CFL is any more. If you’ve got ideas to share – please, no comparisons with the NFL – I’m interested in seeing them.

The first team I ever paid attention to was the Toronto Argonauts. It was a long time ago – 1950, to be exact. Al Dekdebrun (who?) was the quarterback. Ulysses Curtis (who?) and Bill Bass (who?) were the running backs. Toronto won the Grey Cup that year, beating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 13-0. All were among a rare group at the time: U.S guys known for gridiron purpose as immigrants.

This happened a full four years before Jackie Parker, the best player in CFL history, became an Edmonton Eskimo and seven years before Jim Finks arrived from the National Football League to develop running back Earl Lunsford and quarterback Joe Kapp for the Calgary Stampeders. They were imports, too.

There’s no real room to question whether these Alberta franchises have been the brightest and most stable of all Canadian franchises, east and west, since that distant time.

Equally valuable, some of the time, have been the Bombers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders. All the rest have staggered more often than a room full of heavy drinkers on New Year’s Eve; except perhaps for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, they’re still off balance. The B.C. Lions, despite the presence of Mike Reilly, who might be the best quarterback in the league, drew mostly yawns from spectators.

The Argos play home games in a facility where fans come disguised as empty seats. The Montreal Alouettes had a loyal owner who finally got tired of writing million-dollar cheques to cover team costs, so the league took control. About six months ago, two Toronto men bought the franchise. How long before league president Randy Ambrosie has to step up and take control again?

Ottawa had a terrible year on the field and a poor one at the gate last year. For billions of reasons tied logically to COVID-19, the outlook is not promising there.

Millions of words have been written and spoken about Ambrosie’s big international dreams. Accountants have spent countless hours attempting to find the basis for his claim that the league needs about $30 million from the government to play at least a partial 2020 season. If no games are played, he estimates the need is more than 100 million so the CFL can operate in 2021.

Provincial governments have stepped up to help individual teams: then-Premier Don Getty introduced a fund to help Edmonton and Calgary; Saskatchewan’s political bosses understood the province-wide love of the Roughriders and showed admirable tolerance when necessary.

For me, the Grey Cup has always been a mainstay in Canadian sports. Mature writers often referred to it as “the grand national drunk” because of the hordes who scheduled their annual holidays to attend. To ride eastward to Toronto on the old Grey Cup trains was a exercise in durability, especially if you had to write for publication on the way.

Prairie cities have continued to treat Grey Cup week as a celebration. Great times are had, civic and provincial budgets are fattened. A large number of games, regular season and playoffs, are exciting. Speed means more than bulk in the CFL. Many of the talented import players – Pinball Clemons and Tom Wilkinson are prime examples – have stayed in Canada to benefit our game.

All returns to the question: if fans stay away from home games, should the CFL get government aid to stay alive?

I vote yes, but I’ve been wrong before.

Our sports history has value

 

Community

Winners announced for Red Deer Hospital Lottery

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The Red Deer Regional Health Foundation has announced the winners of the 2024 Red Deer Hospital Lottery Dream Home and Tiny Home prize packages, as well as the Mega Bucks 50.

The Mega Bucks 50 jackpot reached $607,200.00, which makes Carolyn Pelerine of Cochrane, Alberta the winner of $303,600.00.

In addition, the luxurious Tree Hugger Tiny Home Prize Package, complete with accessories by Urban Barn and valued at $163,798.00, is now owned by Mary Vincent of Red Deer.

The coveted Sorento Dream Home Prize Package, which includes furnishings and accessories by Urban Barn and boasts a total value of $1,072,624.00, has been awarded to Maxine Rumohr of Sylvan Lake.

The highly anticipated draw took place at 10:00 a.m. Thursday at the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation office, located within the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, with an announcement following live on Facebook, allowing participants and supporters to join in the excitement virtually.

“We are delighted to congratulate the winners of this year’s Red Deer Hospital Lottery,” said Manon Therriault, Chief Executive Officer of the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation. “The funds raised from this lottery will significantly contribute to enhancing patient care and services at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who participated and supported this important cause.”

Proceeds from the Red Deer Hospital Lottery and Mega Bucks 50 will contribute to acquiring critically needed, state-of-the-art equipment for several units at the Red Deer Hospital.

This year’s lottery will fund equipment such as a phototherapy system, which allows parents to hold and soothe their infant while undergoing phototherapy, a cardiology case cart to monitor cardiac rhythms during stress testing, and other equipment to help provide excellent care for patients in the emergency and operating rooms at the Red Deer Hospital.

The winners of a variety of electronics were also drawn today. A full list of winners will be available in the coming days on the official lottery website at reddeerhospitallottery.ca. Prize winners who have not already been notified will receive a letter in the mail with instructions on how to claim their prizes.

The keys to the Sorento Dream Home and the Tree Hugger Tiny Home will be presented to the winners at a special ceremony this summer.

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Community

The Grand Opening is TODAY!

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A Day Filled With Hope – Years in the Making!
For years the CACAC has been walking hand-in-hand with many different partners, community members, donors, policy makers, and leaders in research and advocacy towards this moment.The Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence now stands in the heart of Central Alberta, the first Centre of its kind in North America, creating space for different strategic partners to operate alongside one another in the best interest of children, youths, and families who have experienced any form of abuse.

Now, during this momentous chapter in our history, we invite you to join us for the Grand Opening of the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence. 

We’re excited to welcome you and your family to the Grand Opening of the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence today!

Today’s events are family friendly, and there’s something for everyone!

From Noon to 5:00PM the public is welcome to come and see everything the building has to offer at the SKCOE Open House! Staff from every organization from within the SKCOE will be there to answer questions. This is a great opportunity to learn about why this Centre is so important for Central Alberta.

Beginning at 7:00PM, the public is also invited to the formal program at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, which is the building immediately North West of us across the parking lot. The formal program will have many messages and presentations from dignitaries, and you can pick up our Champions of Courage pin, which was minted for the Grand Opening only! Following the program there is a ribbon cutting ceremony.

There is a lot to celebrate, so come out and say hi!

When: Thursday, May 16

Where: Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence, and Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, Main Campus of Red Deer Polytechnic, Red Deer, AB.

12:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Open House

7:00 PM – Formal Program at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to follow.

How to get to the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence

Please note that there will also be parking available at the lot directly North of the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.

Detailed RDP Parking Map

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