With less than 24hrs left to opening kick-off in Hamilton, against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, in what will be the last season @ Ivor Wynne Staduim, the Hamilton Tiger Cats have revamped their team in the off season adding a mass infusion of talent, from receivers, to quarter backs and coaching.
Some are calling this year Cats, “the team to be feared”, “the Cats are winning the 100th Grey Cup” which ever way you look at it, the Cats are fearful contenders on the field this year.
Hamilton fell short in the East Final against Winnipeg, but after earning a thrilling, back-and-forth 52-54 overtime win over the Alouettes in the 2011 East Division Semi-Final
the Tiger-Cats have continued to build momentum during the off-season and assured all the Ticats fans they were headed in the right direction.
Hamilton brought in a proven winner, acquiring veteran quarterback Henry ‘Hank’ Burris in a trade with Calgary on January 3. Giving up QB Kevin Glenn to Calgary.
Days later, George Cortez was hired to take over the head coaching reins and replace Marcel Bellefeuille who was let go shortly after the 2011 season. Cortez and Burris – two major high profile additions to the Ticats organization, have been reunited after winning a Grey Cup together with the Calgary Stampeders in 2008.
Cortez also has NFL coaching under his belt with two seasons as QB coach with Buffalo Bills,
Martell Mallet (BC Lions), the CFL’s 2009 Most Outstanding Rookie, was brought in to upgrade the running game, at the expense of Avon Cobourne who was released on Feb. 1.
However, the topper of off the 2012 CFL free agency class was receiver Andy Fantuz from the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Fantuz’s signing made major headlines around the league and was easily the Ticats’ biggest splash in free agency.
The Ticats also announced that former Ticat kick/punter that Paul Osbaldison, has joined the coaching staff as Assistant Special Teams Coach.
The latest singing to makes waves in Steel Town was Josh Bartel (6-3, 200-pounds) he attended training camp with the Ticats after impressing team scouts during a series of tryouts in April. Bartel joins the Black and Gold following an Australian rules football career and a tryout with the NFL’s Green Bay Packers last season.
During training it was confirmed that RB Martell Mallett would miss the remainder of the season with an Achilles injury, Avon Cobourne, who was released by the club in February, is returning to the Ti-Cats.
The Ticats fell short in their first pre-season game of the 2012 season (June 13) in Hamilton vs. Toronto (Arch Rivals), but there were some positives that came from the game…we saw that Henry Burris was just as comfortable in the Black and Gold as we was with Calgary, not really missing anything, he connected with Chris Williams (Rookie of the year 2011) and Sam Giguere, 52 yrd complete to Giguere, who showed a lot of promise with catches and his run game, and a 75 yrd TD pass to Williams who showed why he was Rookie of the year in 2011.
The same could be said for there final pre-season game in Winnipeg, the Cats won a hard fought battle to win 26-25 against the Blue Bombers.
The Ticats have also re-acquired Geoff Tisdale from the Calgary Stampeders.
Here are some interesting numbers going into Friday’s game…Ticats Qb Burris threw for 402 yrds during the two pre-season games, Andy Fantuz makes his debut against his former team, 6 Ex-Roughriders currently on the Ticats roster.
There are only 9 games remaining @ Ivor Wynne Staduim.
Game time!!! 7pm @ Ivor Wynne Stadium, Hamilton, On
Hope to see you there!!!
OSKEE WEE! GO CATS GO!