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Stamps' sale nears reality
Deal could be done next week
Michael Petrie
Calgary Herald

The tide is beginning to turn at McMahon Stadium.

Calgary Stampeders president Ron Rooke cleaned out his personal belongings and office staff has been instructed to tie up all loose ends by closing time today.

Sources say the keys to the organization will be handed to new ownership by the end of next week, as Calgary businessmen Ted Hellard, Doug Mitchell, John Forzani and a group of oilmen are set to take control of the Canadian Football League club from Michael Feterik.

Contrary to local reports Wednesday, Calgarian Bruce Urban, owner of Western R.V., is not a factor in the fate of the Stampeders.

Hellard, Forzani, Mitchell and their group agreed to a deal in principle with Feterik three weeks ago. They should complete the due diligence process early next week and a sale announcement would follow soon after.

There has been public concern about how long it has taken to officially close this deal, but several factors must be considered:

- Performing due diligence often can take several weeks. Even though a CFL team is a relatively simple business, it still takes time to analyse all the facts and figures.

- It isn't always easy to collect information. The new owners must rely on current staff to provide the necessary data.

- The holiday season can delay the process, as several members of both sides are on vacation.

Once the deal is finalized, ownership must move quickly to assemble its coaching staff and move forward.

Tom Higgins appears to be the most likely head coaching candidate. The former Stamps player and assistant coach led the Edmonton Eskimos to a Grey Cup title in 2003, when he was named CFL coach of the year. He resigned from the Esks after this past season.

Former Stamps head coach Jim Barker is expected to be named director of player personnel.

The only certain returnees appear to be defensive co-ordinator Denny Creehan and defensive-line coach Casey Creehan, who already are under contract for the 2005 CFL season. Craig Dickenson is the front-runner as special-teams coach.

Rooke and head coach/general manager Matt Dunigan are on their way out.

(c) The Calgary Herald 2005

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