Well that certainly came out of nowhere! Just days after the province released a feasibility study into a new stadium in Regina, thingst got a whole lot more interesting when a new proposal was unveiled.
A group of independent First Nation bands have come forward with a jaw dropping proposal for a 55,000 person stadium and a Vegas-style Hard Rock hotel/casino with a $1.2 billion price tag. Yeah that’s right BILLION! The group is partnered with the Seminole tribe of the US who are huge players down south. They own the Hard Rock chain and have ties with the Vegas entertainment scene. They also are willing to invest $600 million into the project and provide credit for the remaining costs. The catch is that this is all contingent upon the government selling Casinos Regina and Moose Jaw to the First Nations group for $350 million and then turning around and investing $200 million of that right back into the new stadium.
At first glance, this plan is just way too ambitious for a province of a million people but when a people come to the table with $600 million you damn well listen to what they have to say!
While I love the idea of deep pocketed private investors being interested in the project and thinking big, I do have some concerns about the plan. First off, there is just no way that and 55K capacity stadium is sustainable in a city and province this small. We may be growing but not fast enough to consistently fill a stadium that big. Second, while the vision of Regina being turned into a Canadian sin city is intriguing, in reality it’s not going to happen. Sure the Hard Rock may be a glamourous trendy place but let’s not forget that it would be placed in between train tracks on one side and Gabbos and Fabricland on the other… which would pretty much ruin any illusions of Vegas. Also, until the province allows us the drink while women dance around a pole while taking their clothes off, the “Vegas” mystique is further ruined. Not that I would ever frequent such an establishment. I mean sure I admit I was in one once but I maintain that I thought it was a soup kitchen and I was looking to volunteer my time and I only threw money on stage because I thought they were collecting donations for said soup kitchen. Lastly, I don’t like the idea of the province selling the casinos, which generate a profit of $40 million a year, for a net gain of $150 million. The casinos would generate more than that in 4 years if we just kept them.
So as you can see there are some concerns with the proposal, but as I said when someone comes forward with this kind of cash, you don’t just brush them off… you see of you can work something out. Personally, I think it would be awesome if we could build a stadium that is 5% more extravagant that the new Dallas stadium just to piss off Jerry Jones.
Apparently this proposal is only 1 of 7 that have been submitted. That goes to show you the level of interest that the private sector has in this project.
In player news, the Riders signed OL Dan Goodspeed. Given that Taman brought him into the league this signing was pretty much a given from the moment Goodspeed was released by Hamilton. He is one of the better tackles in the league so he’s a good pick-up. But it appears that with Geno, O’Day, Bates and now Goodsppeed in the fold we are aiming for the oldest OL in the league by far. I propose we start referring to our line as the Great Wall of China. Because it will be a significant obstacle, and it is of approximately the same age.
It appears the CFL is considering a couple rule changes for the upcoming season. One would be to force teams to attempt 2 point converts if they score a TD in overtime to make things more exciting. The other would be to reinstate the option of fielding the ball at the 35 yd line following a FG. They are also looking at some minor changes to the no yards rules. As with past years my “ref should ride trained ostriches” suggestion does not appear to be getting much consideration. Same with my suggestion to mandate mascot soccer as the halftime show at every football game.
Elsewhere in the CFL the Als traded Stan Van Sichem (awesome name) to Winnipeg for Gavin Walls… only to release Walls a couple days later. Apparently, the Als were hoping to renegotiate Walls’ $120K/year contract and imminent $15K bonus but were unsuccessful and released him rather than pay the bonus. Van Sichem (a former Regina Ram) must feel pretty low given how this all played out. Players all like to think that they are valued by their team but how much could the Als have really valued Van Sichem when they were willing to trade for the right to have Gavin Walls on their roster for 48 hours?
CFL Ins and Outs
In: DB Jordan Younger (re-signed)
The Argos just can’t seem to make up their mind about Younger. They traded him to Edmonton in 2008 only to end up re-signing him in 2009. Then they cut him just 4 weeks ago only to end up re-signing him. I hope for Younger’s sake he has been negotiating signing bonuses each time Toronto has signed him because that alone would make him a very rich man.
In: QB Cody Pickett (free agent signing)
This move baffles me. The Als have Calvillo who is still the top QB in the league. McPhearson who is the chosen one to succeed AC (estimate succession date pegged at 2033 at the current pace). And Leak who looked promising in his limited appearances last season. I have no idea why they would want to add an embarrassing failure from Toronto when they appear to be pretty set at pivot. Maybe Jim Popp will try and claim Pickett’s contract as a charitable donation… since charity is about the only explanation I can come up with for this move.
Out: DB Lenny Walls (released)Lenny Walls was 2nd in the league last season with 7 interceptions so I have no idea why Winnipeg suddenly decided he was no longer needed. He was probably making good money but when you consider that they are also still paying the likes of Brock Ralph, Fred Perry and Stephan LeFors… paying good money to Walls seems like a better use of your money since you are at least getting some tangible results out of the deal.