Here's something the Ticats coaching staff might want to consider.
As many of you know I'm a dual season sports fan. Toronto Rock lacrosse in the winter and and Ticats football in the summer.
The Rock had a loosing season this year, not because of lack of talent but lack of chemistry. Many would say we had one of the best teams on paper, but they couldn't win games. Many of the players are young and had no sense of what it meant to wear the Rock crest on their chest. They played as individuals and not for each other.
Okay so here you, the Ticats fans are saying "Okay Jare, get to the point!"
My point is that does this team understand what it means to wear the Tiger-Cat on the side of their helmet?
Will this team understand that it is their opportunity to be a part of one of the greatest franchises in North American sports history? Do they realize that every time they step on the field as a Tiger Cat team they can make history? History as a Tiger-Cat.
Once this team is picked. I hope the Rookies get a course in The history of the CFL 101 and why playing in this league is a big deal. I would like to see the whole team get a course in The Hamilton Tiger-Cats-101. Title it: Your place in history is waiting if you do it together.
Woody and I have sat down with many a US player and let them know how the colour barrier was broken in the CFL long before other leagues. We also let them know that they are playing for a legendary team and why and you know what. They sit there and listen to every word, asking questions and thank us for informing them.
My point is, give this years Ticats a sense of history so they will want to make some of their own. Build a sense of chemistry and commitment into this team because you can be superstars on paper but you can't win if you don't play together. I'm hoping we will see history makers step on the field of IWS this year. Men who not only wear the Tiger-Cat on their helmet but have it beating in their hearts.
My two cents.
I see two things Jare.
Current management and past (Setta) have been very good about bringing in "good" young men in the organization. Some are Standouts. So I think your going to see only good things from this bunch. I don't see the Ticats chasing guys with drug convictions and poor "habits" like some other team...
The only downside is because of the last 10 years of instability and constant changes there is not connection with the great Ticats teams of the past. There is Danny but he is based out of Florida. So its up to guys suiting up now to create a new identity for this team. I think once they get over the stump and become a winning team on the field it will happen. Guys like Setta, Hage, Porter have all the making of a caring bunch.
And that's my whole point HfxTC, the players of today need to see what they can be, and why it's important.
Granted this is just a sport and not finding the cure for cancer, but important to us the fans none the less because they are representing our community.
I also totally agree that this new litter of young Ti-kittens will earn their stripes on and off the field very early in the season.
They, the 2009 Ticats, too can be a great team and to do that. I believe one small part (psychologically) is understanding who they are playing for.
It relects one of my biggest concerns with this team.
What is it's on-field idenity? What kind of team does our new Head Coach plan to feild?
I watched almost all the games the 08 Cats played under Marcel and not during a single one of them could I really see a game plan. There was no running x play in the 1st to open up things in the fourth. There was no picking on the rookie back-up who was in there only because of injury.
It seemed the plan of attack was simply try to get 10 yards ob this play and forget the big picture.
Now hopefully, this was more because we were already out of any realisitc contention.
But so far during this off season I still have no idea what kind of strategy our Head Coach will use to try and put us in contention.
There has been a lot of turnover in the recent past and we don't have the Morreales, Hitchcocks, Osbaldistons, Coulters, McManuses, Zatylnys, Winfields, DiPietros or as far back as the Flemings, Henleys, Barrows and Moscas to inspire and motivate the team from within itself. Not yet anyways.
The old guard leadership used to be clear in the organization right down to the equipment managers like Scotty Wright.
So, I see your concerns and they are valid.
I like your idea about educating the players about the Tiger-Cat's history and challenging them to respect it, learn the history and add their own mark.
Nick Setta seems to have really absorbed Hamilton's history and is in awe of the past teams. Maybe coming from Notre Dame instills that sort of thing into a player.
This conversation (see below link) a few weeks back touched on this and I'd like to see all new Tiger-Cat players take some time to watch the videos within. (assuming they read these forums which I'm sure they do at some point in the off-season )
I think jare is on the right track, they should give the entire roster a Ticats 101 course and have them mingle with the fans around town for a while, to show that they're not just working to put wins on paper but to put smiles on many a face. The more they know about the Ticats history and the fans, the harder they'll fight on field.
Certainly there is a sense of purpose, judging from what I've heard from the coaches and players that have spoken this offseason.
Though I think it is a good idea to let all new players know about the history of this team. The new players seem to know about the recent troubles so there should be some balance to let them know that this team has been the beast of the east in the past and that is the goal once again.
There are enough returning players from the last year and a half coming in as well as a few veterans. The fact that guys like Prechae, Thompson, Setta and Davis have signed multi year deals to return to the Cats shows that they believe this is a good place to be and are dedicated to returning the Ticats to the prominent team it once was. Porter is already setting his mind on the Grey Cup, if not this year then in the next couple of years. Watch the "catching up with Quinton Porter" video. Yeah yeah, not a single game has been played, but you gotta start that mind set before the bullets start flying.
So yes, I think there is a sense of purpose with this team and I am expecting nothing but good things and steady improvement.
We've been burned in the past with big expectations but I think the difference this year is that we do have a returning core of players who played very well last year and were actually a competitive team despite the win/loss record. Also, this isn't a bunch of all star free agents coming in who are going to have big heads on their shoulders. I really like what has been done with the team so far, so I am just looking forward, full steam ahead.
GO CATS GO!
With Marshall in charge of the D you can bet that side of the ball will at least be motivated. Marshall is very wise and can rule with an iron fist when needed. As for the O.. I think its the wait and see part of the story.
If you want the team to reflect the Past model of success then you have to build the team in the same manner, Replace Moska, Depietro, Helnly, Hitch, Zambiazy, Montford, Covington , Brown with the same type of player in the respective positions!, , OR you creat a new model and utilize the strengths of the Talent on hand. At QB Porter fill,s in for Kerrigane/Clemons type passer very well! IMHO
Good points Jare. It seems that a few years back management and the coaching staff gutted the team of practically all of the vets, erasing the continuity and sense of history of this team. I recall before the Labour Day Classic Joe Montford addressed the team explaining how important this game was and the rivalry with the Blue team and the Cat players were pumped and thought Montford was their general leading them into battle. The team is lucky they have guys like Montford and Mosca around to make them aware of how illustrious the Black and Gold are to Hamilton and the CFL. Maybe guys like Hitcock, Morreale, Danny Mac, Zambiasi and Les Brown could be brought in during training camp to give a Tiger Cat 101 talk. The Tiger Cat CFL legends DVD are a great resource too.
My perception is that guys like Setta, Hage, Auggie, Bradley and likely others will help to instill the pride and camaraderie needed to perform like a football team.
I have to agree totally. If you look at teams that have been successful they all have that past pride. Just look at what the Chicago Blackhawks did this year. Last July they hada big convevtion where many of there past stars were brought in with the players from this year being there as well. This not only brought the pride back to the team but also brought back the pride fans had in the team. Maybe something like that needs to be done with the Ticats. Thanks for posting such a positive idea to help our team. :thup: :thup:
Blue jays are doing it this year too, bringing in guys from the 93 world series to talk to the players and let them know the history and what it feels like to be on top of the MLB world. Our players shouldn't just be fighting for a raise, they should be fighting for the city of Hamilton with all of their blood, sweat and tears. That's what makes a garbage team a good team, a good team a great team and a great team a dynasty team.
In keeping with the theme of this important discussion that -jarecanada- started, I just came across the wierdest thing.
There's a website that seems to be dedicated to the history of Buffalo but has a section about Ontario's past and it focuses entirely on Hamilton it seems. There is quite a section on Ivor Wynne Stadium, Tim Hortons # 1 (on Ottawa St), Liuna Station (some cool pics of Actors Samuel L. Jackson and Geena Davis filming a movie there), the old TH & B station etc)
(Go to this link and then click on each picture to see more on the subject)
This is a very interesting section on Hamilton and shows how outsiders view us perhaps?
Excerpt from the "Forgotten Buffalo" website:
[b][i]If you were too young to cheer on the Bills at Buffalo’s War Memorial Stadium, than the home to Hamilton’s CFL team may be your best chance to experience a bit of what made the “Rockpile? unique.
Hamilton’s Ivor Wynne Stadium is a “working man’s stadium, for a working man’s team serving a working man’s city.? Just like War Memorial, Ivor Wynne is shoehorned in a blue-collar, residential neighborhood. On game day, fans and homeowners share the streets while tailgating before the Ti-Cats take the field.
The stadium was first opened in 1930 as an arena of the British Empire Games. In 1950, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats became the first permanent tenants of the stadium. The field played host to the Grey Cup in 1972 and 1996. Its current capacity is 29,600.
Although the stadium as undergone many changes over the years, it has remained true to the original vision of an outdoor stadium. In fact, it is one of the few stadiums of its kind in North American and a significant historical and cultural landmark in Canada. [/i][/b]
This is the One Thing I say about Bob and Scott Mitchel they are big making sure Our Team knows it past
I see many old Former players around The Team
.Angelo Mosca for one is there alot
Bernie Custis is allways Around ..
I think the new guy could feed of these Old timers and Really Help build a Sense of Team
we one are one oldest Football in world and have real Tradition that has to kept alive.
Players Nick Setta and Marwan Hage will make it so we don't forget are Past and Help build us Forward.
I have Faith that Past and Future is will looked after
Last year I saw Marwan and Nick soaking up the atmosphere
at the Ticat dinner honouring our 1967 Grey Cup Champions.
They watched film of the 1967 team's successful run to the Grey Cup.
They heard several of those players tell stories
about things that happened on and off the field
during their years as Hamilton Tiger Cats.
They probably met some of them and learned
what being a Tiger Cat personally meant to them.
Many players from the 1965 were also in attendance.
Ang Mosca found sponsors to get them Grey Cup rings
and what a treat it was seeing those men, with
varying degrees of battered and broken bodies
presented with rings for the first time.
The 1967 team was the first team ever
to receive Grey Cup rings from the team.
After seeing that, I had a strong feeling, everything being equal,
Nick would love to re-sign with the Ticats after his free agency.
The team stepped up to the plate, and Nick expressed
his interest in doing community work for the team.
IMO, he and Marwan are two excellent choices to be the players
to convey what it means to be a Tiger Cat to their team-mates.
I agree with you, Ron. Those two guys are excellent candidates to carry on and spread the wonderful Tiger-Cat tradition. We need people with character as well as skill and talent. A few players the rest of the team will listen to when the time comes to dig deep for the kind of pride and determination epitomized by the 1967 team. They don't have to be stars... they do need to be players who relate to the community, who want to be here, and who appreciate what the team's long history is about. Unselfish in their attitudes, generous with their time. I think these guys and a few others can do that for us.
Some big shoes to fill_ http://www.cshof.ca/hm_profile.php?i=16 ?? is Mr Isbister on the WALL of Fame?
Thanks for answering everyone one. I think the common sentiment in the responses is that we don't need a saviour, a super star. We need players who want to play for each other and recognize that they are playing for a team that has a great history.
Reverting back to lacrosse. Les Bartley, the HoF Toronto Rock coach built teams on talent and charactor. He never had the best teams on paper but he built a family of players. Team get togethers away from the field, post game bar or promotional event. He brought them together to get to know each other.
Those teams played together and always showed appreciation to the fans for coming out.
Again my point is, that if you build a team in the truest sense of the word...and you'll build a winner.
The Cats' can do this and it won't cost extra money just time.
And they all lived happily ever after........the end.
Well if the players we have decide that it means something to them (other then just a pay cheque) to play for this team.
Then...yes we may see happily ever after this season in Calgary! :rockin: