Grey Cup a topic today
CFL commissioner Mark Cohon -- along with Premier Greg Selinger, Mayor Sam Katz and Winnipeg Blue Bombers CEO Garth Buchko -- will take a tour this morning of the new football stadium under construction on the grounds of the University of Manitoba.
The stadium won't open until September at the earliest because of construction delays.
A subject sure to be discussed when the men meet, is when Winnipeg will get to host a Grey Cup. Selinger brought it up Sunday while making remarks at Canad Inns Stadium to a large crowd of fans gathered for opening day of Bombers training camp.
"With your support, we'll be back in the Grey Cup," Selinger told the fans. "And then we'll have a Grey Cup in the new stadium, once it's finished. It's going to look real nice."
The earliest possible date for Winnipeg to host a Grey Cup would be 2014. This year's game is in Toronto and the 2013 game will be played in Regina.
DT Smith optimistic
"NEW year, new start... and it feels pretty good."
Dorian Smith had reason for optimism as another Bombers training camp got underway Sunday morning. The defensive tackle was back on the field taking first-team reps in the middle of the D-line again, after a 2011 campaign that he'd like to forget.
Smith played in only seven games last year, missing five due to an injury and seven more as a healthy scratch. His future was cloudy after the year, too, as the retirement of Doug Brown, the Odell Willis trade and the departure of Donny Oramasionwu seemed to indicate a total renovation inside the line.
"There are so many new faces here," he said. "It's crazy how much turnover there is in this league. Over the off-season, I checked to see who the team is signing sporadically; I want to know who my competition is."
The battle will be intense, with 12 other players looking for spots along the defensive line. Smith seemed to be in good standing with the coaches Sunday, though, working with a first-group that included Fernand Kashama, Bryant Turner and Jason Vega.
Buck buys into BBQ joint
BUCK Pierce is one of the shareholders behind a new sports bar opening in town.
Pierce revealed on Sunday that his group has purchased the Hu's Asian Bistro on Ellice Avenue and will be re-opening it as a southern BBQ joint and sports bar.
Pierce spoke about the new venture only reluctantly on Sunday -- "I'd rather just stick to football right now" -- but revealed it will be called 'Danny's Southern Smokehouse BBQ.'
"We'll have Goldeyes, Bombers, Jets (memorabilia), just a good sports bar for everybody," said Pierce.
Fred Ex in Montreal
FRED Reid has resurfaced in Montreal.
The former Bomber running back was invited to camp by the Alouettes and will remain there as a non-active participant. CFL rules allow clubs to bring two 'injury-exempt' players to training camp.
Reid, who was released by the Bombers in February, is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered in a game against the Argonauts last September. The former CFL rushing champ likely won't be medically cleared before the end of camp. "But that doesn't mean, five months later in you need somebody, that we won't sign Reid," Als GM Jim Popp told the Montreal Gazette. "At least we've met him, know him and can see how hard he works."
A host of players -- new faces and old -- appear ready to take a stab at the kick returner position. Sunday, the group included running backs Chad Simpson and Bloi-Dei Dorzon, receivers Clarence Denmark and Jeremy Blount, and defensive backs Demond Washington and Darrell Pasco. And yes, we haven't even factored in defensive backs Jovon Johnson, Deon Beasley and Johnny Sears yet.
Jonathan Hefney was scheduled to arrive in Winnipeg Sunday. If he can get his physical done in time, he'll be on the field this morning. Fellow DB Jovon Johnson is expected to be in later today. Both had personal matters to attend to... Safety Brady Browne (hamstring) was on the field Sunday, but wasn't an active participant... Running back Carl Volny is out to continue treatment on his injured knee.