I assume the "semi-pro" designation is simply as opposed to fully amateur, as in the players are semi=pro because they're receiving SOME money as opposed to being totally unpaid.
So, a player in some regional indoor football league who is making $100 a game is technically "semi-pro" because as tiny as the wage is, he's being paid it.
I remember reading on an ice hockey forum one time, a North American player had an opportunity in a very low-level German league (I think it was something like Division 4 or 5) and wondered how much (or if) he'd be paid.
The answer came back that many clubs in the league had a workaround - instead of them paying you wages as a pro hockey player, you'd instead be set up with a job with a local employer and/or club sponsor, so although you'd obviously be given leeway for training and matches, your "salary" would technically be coming from the employer instead of the team.
Maybe these semi-pro football clubs have an arrangement like that, especially if they are attracting players from all over Canada?
On another note, I thought the Fredericton logo was bad, but looking again I think Moncton tops it.
Canadian football team with a white horse logo - yes, the first team you'll think of will REALLY be the Moncton Mustangs, won't it?
I suspect you're scenario is exactly correct here. Players maybe received a nominal payment per game, but also get a job somehow. I've been seeing recruits posted on FB from the Cold Lake, AB team, and somehow they are convincing players from all over the country to come play there.
The teams from the MFL don't seem to play the teams from the NFC and AFL, but maybe that will happen in the future.
As long as everything is above board I don't see what the issue is - if a team has rich sponsors or a good number of sponsors to provide plenty of opportunities and/or higher paying jobs, then they are naturally going to be the most tempting option for players - any kind of regional/local league always has that team you know you're going to need to beat at some point - frankly, look the Vanier Cup in USports, people expect the championship game to be "someone vs. Laval".
Only problem would be if there is some kind of clear sham or BS "contract language" going on. Best example I can think of is a Scottish soccer team called Queen's Park, for over a century they were the only amateur team playing in the pro/semi-pro ranks. This meant that they were the only club playing national-level soccer allowed to enter the Scottish Amateur Cup.
Only thing is, they were amateur because although they didn't pay their players wages, they DID pay them "expenses", which in some cases were suspiciously high - does a player really need £150 a week "petrol money" when he can see the stadium from his house?
In the end, the "blind eye" stopped and they got kicked out the amateur cup, and now they genuinely have transformed themselves into a semi-pro club.
Of course by the time the Grey Cup was donated in 1909 the game being played in Eastern Canada was rugby in name only. Burnside rules, which formed the basis of the transition from rugby to a more gridiron game, were adopted by the Ontario Rugby Football Union in 1903... Western teams didn't adopt the new rules until 1921 but did not compete for the Grey Cup prior to then.
I came across the Toronto Phamtom Raiders logo yesterday, and it's the Redblacks R, except in lime green. Actually, they have more than one logo, but the helmet logo is that R. And I think their numbers font is the one designed by the Redblacks.
Or how about Pro Flag Football ?
I played amateur Flag in Saskatoon and Calgary in late 70s and believe me we were tough, playing both ways and sometimes our brides forgot to bring the beer ! Or the abomination Arena Football. Or let's get really smart and put govt funds into CIAU football and try and build something akin to US division 1 or 2 College ball. Our Canadian U's are churning out some fine NFL prospects yet play in what are considered high school stadiums in the US. There is little hype by Canadian sports media of the U game so the majority of fans are students, parents or die hard alumni. Pity..