THE Blue Bombers are coming off a horrible campaign and haven't had a sniff of playoff action in two years.

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This article was published 7/6/2011 (4046 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

THE Blue Bombers are coming off a horrible campaign and haven't had a sniff of playoff action in two years.

So how is it possible the club is nearing 20,000 in season-ticket sales?

Joe Lobendahn

Joe Lobendahn

Tuesday, the team announced it had surpassed the 18,800 mark in season-ticket sales, eclipsing the old mark of 18,642 set for the 2008 season.

"Last year -- we won four games -- and for us to be at 19,000 season tickets, our hat as an organization is off to the community for the support that we get," Bombers president Jim Bell said.

Tickets have been brisk of late and the reasons for the surge vary.

Some point to the new stadium at the University of Manitoba next year (season-ticket holders will have seat priority in the new digs), while others point to the price of the newly-minted NHL ticket in this market.

The theory is that sports fans waited to see if they could afford both the CFL and NHL. Those who could spend the dough on both, did; those who didn't have the money opted for the less expensive football option instead.

Bomber season tickets are on sale right up until June 23.

LINEBACKER UPDATE: And now, a word (or words) on the middle linebacker battle as told through the evaluator eyes of head coach Paul LaPolice.

First off, Joe Lobendahn. The 27-year-old is coming off a disappointing season where he registered 55 defensive tackles in 17 games. We say disappointing on the basis that those numbers are well behind the pace he had during the 2009 season (54 defensive tackles in just 11 games).

"Joe wants to play like he did in '09," LaPolice said. "He's lost weight, he's faster. He was a dynamic player, and we'll give him a chance to compete."

On top draft pick Henoc Muamba, who seems to be settling into the pro game as the week moves along, the reaction is more positive. One gets the sense the club is almost surprised how quickly the young Canadian is progressing.

"Henoc gets better every day," the coach said. "We'll keep getting these guys reps and we'll see where they fall but Henoc... he doesn't look overwhelmed in any way, shape, or form."

Finally, Rico McCoy hasn't been a factor yet. He returned to the field Tuesday following an illness.

RED-HANDED: He's not taking questions about his elbow -- at least not until there's something to talk about, according to the team -- but QB Buck Pierce did field a query about his hands after Tuesday's workout.

"Why are your hands bright red? Are you sick or something?"

No worries. When it rains (as it did during most of the workout), the dye manufacturers use to colour the footballs bleeds out, and when a pivot takes dozens of snaps throughout the course of a practice, the unnatural stain occurs.

-- Adam Wazny

You say goodbye

Winnipeg bid adieu to non-import WR Liam Mahoney. The sixth-round pick

in last month's CFL college draft suffered a hamstring injury on Friday, and was looking at a three-week rehab. Coach Paul LaPolice indicated the Bombers would like to have him back next year.

Out and in

To get down the CFL camp roster limit (68 players) Tuesday night, the club released import DB C.J. James, non-import DB Chayce Elliott, and announced the retirement of import KR Tim Brown. The Bombers also added import DB Andre Jones Tuesday.