Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday Update: When It Rains It Pours

After surviving for weeks on end on scattered crumbs of football news, this week I have been inundated with noteworthy items and actually will have some substance to a post beyond trying in vain to turn my obscure observations on a solitary event into a post. The plus side is that after weeks of turning relative crap into publicly published literary content, I’m now qualified for a career running political campaigns should my current job not pan out.  

The biggest news was of course the City’s unveiling of the Regina Revitalization plan. It’s a huge, billion dollar, multi-year plan to redevelop the CP rail yards and the current Mosaic stadium property. Phase 1 involves a complete redevelopment of the rail yards including hotels, restaurants, retail and condo properties which will all of course be anchored by a new stadium… ahem sorry a new… multipurpose facility. You see the city has explicitly kept any mention of the Riders to a bare minimum. Once the new stadi … err Multipurpose Facility is up and running, Taylor Field will be demolished and the land will be turned into a new residential neighbourhood. The end result will be stunning improvement to both sites and the city as a whole and will result in a dramatic increase in tax revenue from the properties, not to mention the economic impact of the construction and resulting commercial outlets. Bottom line this is an ambitious project by the city but the end result will be massive. The best part is the plan calls for 75% funding to come from the private sector.

The only thing I find kinda weird about this whole thing is how we go from needing $100 million from the federal government or the project is a no-go to a situation where only 25% funding is needed from governments in general for this to happen. Now its partly due to expanding the scope of the project… for the private sector there is minimal gains to be made on a stadium alone… but a large scale redevelopment of commercial and residential properties equals $$$$$ for them.

The other thing is that this is some very smart wording/marketing by the city. Clearly the private sector funding only a small % of the original proposal sounds awful compared to them funding 75% of the newest incarnation… that sounds awesome. But let’s not forget that the scope of the project has expanded from a $430 million stadium to over a billion dollar mega project. 25% of a billion-plus is a lot of money and I would guess that the bulk of that 25% will be going towards the stadium and the 75% private sector’s contribution will mostly be towards the commercial and residential development since that is their cash cow.  Like I said before… it’s all wordsmithing.  If they wanted to make this look even better they could tie in Harbour Landing under the “urban redevelopment” umbrella and the % of government funding would decrease even further even though the actual dollars needed would remain unchanged.

The Riders added 2 import receivers yesterday, Efrem Hill and Ernie Wheelright. By this point in the season I tend not to get too excited about signings since there is a very real possibility that they might not make it to main camp. The way I see it we are pretty set at receiver so if one of these new guys is good enough to unseat one of the current guys that’s just a bonus for us.

Personally I’m hoping Efrem Hill doesn’t make the team. Not because I have anything in particular against the guy… just because the name Efrem has forever been tarnished for me by the following scene from Family Guy.

I somehow doubt Mr. Hill would appreciate the nickname "Efrem the Retarded Rabbit" that is now permanently ingrained in my head for him.

By far the most shocking story of the week was the news that BC returner Yonus Davis has been arrested in California on charges of drug trafficking. It’s not really surprising that an import player got himself in a little trouble down south over the offseason (especially someone Roy Shivers recruited). But to call Yonus Davis’ predicament “a little trouble” would be like calling World War 2 a minor disagreement between countries. Davis was allegedly in possession of 67 pounds of ecstasy! Now unless Davis was putting on a rave for elephants, its going to be tough to explain the need for that much ecstasy unless you happen to be a big time drug dealer.

Now given the meagre salaries most imports work for in the CFL its not uncommon for them to get other offseason jobs… however while some players are selling cars/houses, substituting as gym teachers or even working security, Davis opted instead for multi-million dollar drug trafficker. While that line of work is far more lucrative than the other options is does come with certain risks such as inability to play football again, fines, lengthy imprisonment and a sore anus.

Davis was an exciting player to watch so it would be a shame is his career was done but things are not looking good… 67 pounds!!!

CFL Ins and Outs

Out: QB Adam Tafralis (released)
Apparently Tafralis asked for his release because he was tired of being stuck at 3rd string and wants to go to a team where he’ll get to play. His options will be fairly limited though as outside of Winnipeg and possibly Edmonton no one is really looking for a 2nd string QB. If it’s playing time Tafralis wants, signing with Winnipeg should be his top priority.

In: LB JC Sheritt
Out: RB Chris Ciezki (retired)

In: LB James Yurichuk (contract extension)

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