Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Tiger Cats Ready to Roar-2008

The Hamilton Tiger Cats recently completed their pre season schedule with a victory over the Toronto Argonauts. The dreaded Argos. The longstanding arch rival of the Tabbies. The Hogtown double blue team which has had the upper hand with the boys from Steeltown for a long, long time.

Ivor Wynne will be packed on Thursday night for the home opener against the Montreal Alouettes. The half time show features an illusionist. Fans hope that he will not be responsible for making the scoreboard disappear. Even the very funny Canadian Martin Short will be on hand to cheer on his Ticats.

Lining up for the kickoff for his sixth year in the Canadian Football League is Belleville’s Mike Botterill. Botterill began his CFL career in Montreal, following an outstanding college career at McMaster. He captured three Yates Cup Championships at Mac, and was chosen as the defensive MVP of the 2002 Yates Cup.

During the 2006 season, he was traded by the Alouettes to the Edmonton Eskimos. He spent the 2007 season in Edmonton, and last February was traded to Hamilton.

He recently spent a weekend in Belleville running a mini camp for young Belleville and area football players. Most of the players at the camp were from the Belleville Minor Football League. Botterill was joined by other CFL players, as well as former teammates now involved in coaching in the college ranks in Canada.

All of the players who attended the camp enjoyed the experience immensely. Botterill is a “hands on” teacher. He took time to explain the game to the young players, and they responded. His quiet and caring approach will suit him well if he ever considers moving into the coaching ranks following his career.

The Belleville Minor Football League wraps up its season this coming weekend with three games on Saturday at the Paul Paddon Field at the back of Quinte Secondary School. All six teams are involved in championship games, beginning at 10:00am. Everyone is welcome, and there is no admission charge. The other two final games take place at 11:30am and 1:00pm.

Botterill has been a special teams player throughout his CFL career, with the occasional stint at middle linebacker. At six feet, three inches, he casts a substantial shadow on the turf; however, it is difficult to crack the starting roster at that particular position with well seasoned veterans ready to go. He spent a good deal of time in the off season working out in Florida, in preparation for the season.

The Tiger Cats are coming off a disappointing season last year. They finished with four wins and fourteen losses, and are better prepared for this season under head coach Charlie Taaffe. The Ticats won the Grey Cup in 1999, under head coach Ron Lancaster.

The Ticats put a lot of eggs into one basket last year when they signed Casey Printers to a three year contract, making him the highest paid player in the CFL. He played three seasons for the B. C. Lions, and was the Most Outstanding Player in 2004. Hopefully, his receivers will pull in a sufficient number of passes Thursday night to instil confidence into the offence.

There is a long and colourful history associated with the Tiger Cat franchise. The Tabbies were a dominant football team in the 1950s and the 1960s with Jim Trimble and Jake Gaudaur pulling the strings. Names like Tommy Joe Coffey, Bernie Faloney, Garney Henley, and Hal Patterson conjure up memories of the great Ticat teams. Angelo Mosca was a feared competitor for fifteen years in the CFL, and played nine times in the Grey Cup game. He was also the main attraction as a wrestler at the Memorial Arena on Friday nights in Belleville.

Team owner Bob Young, entitled “The Caretaker”, would like nothing more than to hoist Lord Grey’s silver above his head late in the fall. There is a lot of football to be played until that time. There are many rookies in the lineup. There is always an element of surprise in any CFL season.

There are two buses running from the Quinte area to the Tiger Cats game on Saturday, July 12th, in association with the Belleville Minor Football League. It is always a great experience to catch a game at Ivor Wynne Stadium. Fans will visit with Mike Botterill after the game. Cost is $ 70 for the trip, ticket and Foley Coach included in the deal. Call 613-399-2278 for information.

There will be plenty of “Oskee Wee Wee, Oskee Waw Waw” from the stands on Thursday night. The fans will politely ask their players to “Eat ‘em Raw”. This is football tradition, part of the great Canadian game.


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