Former Montreal Alouettes' staffer Mark Clermont sentenced to life in prison in Australia on drug trafficking chargesAndrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line 4 days ago
From working with the Montreal Alouettes to receiving a life sentence in Australia this week for a road roller-based scheme to import cocaine and methamphetamine, it's been a weird five years for Mark Clermont. Clermont was a part-time member of the Alouettes' strength and conditioning staff from 2007 to 2009 while also working at a Montreal health club and helping to train NHL players like Pascal Leclaire, but soon after the Alouettes won the 2009 Grey Cup, he left for Australia to set up a machinery import business. That business, which prosecutors say was just a front for drug smuggling, was what eventually led to his arrest and charges after police seized 85.5 kilograms of pure cocaine and 192.9 kilograms of pure methylamphetamine, with a street value estimated at $255 million Canadian. From Tu Thanh Ha and Sean Gordon in The Globe and Mail , here's what happened in Australia:
Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line 4 days ago
How many players does it take to connect through all of CFL history? How about to Hollywood? In both cases, the answer is probably less than you think. Inspired by Matt English tracing back 63 years of NHL history through three players (Jaromir Jagr, Guy Lafleur, and Jacques Plante), I embarked on a quest to get back to the origins of the CFL (officially formed in 1958, but effectively formed in 1954 when the B.C. Lions came into being). As I discussed on Twitter, it's possible to trace all of CFL history from 1954 through the present through four B.C. Lions teammates: Paul McCallum (in the CFL from 1993 to present), Lui Passaglia (played for B.C. from '76-'00, teammate of McCallum in '93 and '94), Jim Young (played for B.C. from '67-'79, teammate of Passaglia's from '76-'79) and Norm Fieldgate (played for B.C. from '54-'67, teammate of Young's in '67). However, that's just the start of what's possible.
Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line 5 days ago
There have been plenty of notable coaching changes over this offseason, but one announced this week combines one of the biggest differences in job description with one of the shortest geographical moves. That would be the Simon Fraser University Clan's hire of Kelly Bates, who was previously the B.C. Lions' running backs coach and Canadian draft coordinator, but didn't have his contract renewed following B.C.'s hire of Jeff Tedford as head coach. Bates is not just going from a position coach to a head coach, but also from Canadian professional football to American college football, which can be a difficult transition. Fortunately, the geographical transition won't be as hard; Bates' new job is at the SFU campus in Burnaby, just 10 and a half miles from his old job at the Lions' facility in Surrey.
Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line 5 days ago
The Montreal Alouettes' signing of receiver Nik Lewis Wednesday afternoon looked like a good fit for both the player and the team, but while their Wednesday evening signing of quarterback Dan LeFevour is a boost for the team, it may be more ambiguous for the player. LeFevour is a nice addition for Montreal; in the wake of Kevin Glenn's signing with Saskatchewan, he was clearly the best quarterback left on the free-agent market (and there's a case that he's a better signing than Glenn; he's less proven, but is younger with more upside and put up better per-game numbers in 2014), and he gives the Alouettes some much-needed depth behind Jonathon Crompton. However, the question is if LeFevour will get much of a chance to play with Montreal.
Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line 6 days ago
One of the Calgary Stampeders' longest-tenured players is moving on to new pastures. Import receiver Nik Lewis had been with the team since 2004, posting 11,250 receiving yards and 65 touchdowns for them across 11 regular seasons and helping them win two Grey Cups, but he battled an ankle injury this year and had trouble cracking the lineup when he returned, recording just 37 catches for 377 yards in the regular season. He became a free agent this offseason, and while some figured there was still a chance he'd return to Calgary, Lewis himself shot down that idea, announcing on Twitter Wednesday afternoon that he's signed with the Montreal Alouettes:
I would like to say thank you to all the Stampeders fans, coaches, and management for a wonderful 11 yrs. Truly a magical ride
I have the upmost respect for Huff and the rest of the Stampeders coaching Staff.They do a great job of putting great product on the field
Thank u to all the players that I have taken the field with in Calgary, I will truly miss that locker room.
Lewis told Scott Mitchell of The Calgary Sun leaving Calgary was emotional for him:
Andrew Bucholtz at Eh Game 7 days ago
Much of the recent media attention around concussions has centred on football, with the NFL and NCAA attempting to settleconcussion lawsuits and the CFL currently facing litigation of its own. However, football's far from the only sport dealing with concussion issues, and it may not even be the one with the most prevalent brain injuries. Roy MacGregor explored concussions in women's (ice, although field hockey has its own concussion issues) hockey this week in The Globe and Mail, starting his piece by stating data suggests they may be even a bigger problem than football concussions:
CFL teams get into the Academy Awards spirit in a special edition of #MemeWarMonday, creating #CFLOscars for "Best Hair," "Best Fight Scene" and much moreAndrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line 8 days ago
Sunday's 87th Academy Awards clearly left an impression on the people who run CFL teams' social media accounts, as they took their usual #MemeWarMonday to new heights with a #CFLOscars theme, causing plenty of fans to join in as well. The Toronto Argonauts appear to have started it with a "Best Tattoos" nomination for Chad Owens:
The Saskatchewan Roughriders had a good response featuring a certain green Oscar:
The Calgary Stampeders jumped in with their own movie poster (the Brian Griffin review is appropriate, considering Family Guy's recent CFL discussion):
There was an excellent debate over "Best Hair":
Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line 12 days ago
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts have always had a fierce rivalry, but there have been some players and executives who have made notable contributions to both clubs. One was John Barrow, who passed away Tuesday at 79, leaving a remarkable legacy with both teams. Barrow became a true CFL legend, and one who should be appreciated by CFL fans throughout Southern Ontario and beyond.
Many of those former teammates have chimed in with their own remembrances, including one of Barrow's neighbours on the line, famed Ticat Angelo Mosca:
“John was quite a leader and teammate. His voice in the locker room was well respected while his play on the field was very tough”, said Ticats great Angelo Mosca. “I had the pleasure to play alongside John for ten years, in which we worked hard, played physical and accomplished great things. I’ll cherish our memories together forever”.
Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line 18 days ago
There are still plenty of CFL free agents out there, but a lot of the big names have already signed. In fact, this year, many of the biggest names didn't even make it to free agency, with eight of the nine available league all-stars signing new deals with their previous team or heading to the NFL. While there are still other signings and the Canadian draft ahead, we have a pretty good picture of what each of the CFL's teams will look like in 2015, and how that's changed from last year. It's important to consider both the offseason and the free agency period together here; some teams didn't do much in the first few days of free agency, but made big moves before the period opened. We can't predict exactly how any of these moves will work out, or what else teams will do in the coming days to bolster their rosters, but we can at least get a sense of how each team has changed since the end of the 2014 season. With that in mind, here are grades out of 10 for each East Division team, following the same format we've used before. Remember, these grades are about how the team's changed since the end of the season, not how they stack up overall. Go here for a look at the West Division teams.
Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line 18 days ago
There are still plenty of CFL free agents out there, but a lot of the big names have already signed. In fact, this year, many of the biggest names didn't even make it to free agency, with eight of the nine available league all-stars signing new deals with their previous team or heading to the NFL. While there are still other signings and the Canadian draft ahead, we have a pretty good picture of what each of the CFL's teams will look like in 2015, and how that's changed from last year. It's important to consider both the offseason and the free agency period together here; some teams haven't done much in free agency, but made big moves before it opened. We can't predict exactly how any of these moves will work out, or what else teams will do in the coming days to bolster their rosters, but we can at least get a sense of how each team has changed since the end of the 2014 season. With that in mind, here are grades out of 10 for each West Division team, following the same format we've used before. Go here for a look at the East teams.