new hope for renegades?**

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For the first time in a long time, Ottawa Renegades fans have reason for hope.

As many as three groups have met with Canadian Football League officials to discuss purchasing the beleaguered club, and at least one party is requesting detailed information to determine whether the team can kick off in 2006.

League governors and commissioner Tom Wright will hold a conference call April 5 to determine the future of the Renegades. At that time, a decision will be made either to negotiate with an interested party and try to salvage the season, or to suspend the team's operations for 2006.

"I have not been involved, but I'll do anything possible to facilitate somebody stepping up for this season," said Renegades majority owner Bernie Glieberman, who has already provided money to fund the team until mid-April.

Yesterday, a CFL official and a lawyer representing one of the interested parties were supposed to visit Frank Clair Stadium and take inventory of the team's equipment and assets. It is believed the lawyer represents a group that has not given up on assuming control before the scheduled start of training camp next month. The tour was postponed, however, for "logistical" reasons, CFL spokeswoman Alexis Redmond said.

Of the interested parties, two groups are Ontario-based. The other is from Florida, but is not real-estate developer Glenn Straub, who previously showed interest. The CFL is comfortable that these groups are sufficiently capitalized, but might still be willing to provide financial assistance this year if it feels the right ownership group can be put in place.

Wright and B.C. Lions owner David Braley, who is chairing a three-member search committee, met with two groups this week, and at least one has advanced knowledge of the Renegades' books. Former team president Lonie Glieberman said he had the team's financial records forwarded to the CFL office more than one week ago and that the club had not received requests for additional information.

One group, based in southern Ontario, has what business people consider "synergies" with pro athletics and business interests in Ottawa-Gatineau.

It is believed the leader of this group spends his time between residences in Ontario and the U.S., and that he has spoken with at least one candidate for a front-office position. It is further believed he currently holds no sports properties, but that his core business features consumer goods that would be familiar to the public.

The CFL met with Ottawa mayor Bob Chiarelli last week, hoping to broker some relief from the team's lease at Frank Clair Stadium. The Renegades pay the city roughly $650,000 for 10 home games, and it is generally regarded as the most punitive lease in the CFL.

A Chiarelli assistant did not return a telephone message left by The Citizen yesterday. Previously, Chiarelli had said he would be open to changes so long as the lease still provided "cost recovery" for taxpayers.

Yesterday, league power brokers held their second conference call in as many days. If the Renegades fold or have their 2006 operations suspended, the league will carry on with an eight-team schedule after a dispersal draft of Ottawa players.

The Renegades were put up for sale last week after the league rejected an offer from Bernie Glieberman to partially fund the team. The club stands to lose between $4 million and $6 million this year, and Glieberman and minority partner Bill Smith have let it be known they are not prepared to foot the entire bill.

Meanwhile, reports yesterday that Renegades head coach John Jenkins and his staff had been terminated were denied.

"It is absolutely not true," added Jenkins, who reported to work and even submitted his monthly expense report to team accountants. "We have not been told anything. I'm not disputing that it could happen because given the state of things, that is an option."

Rumours about the Ottawa staff have swirled in CFL coaching ranks since last weekend, when the league held an evaluation of draft-eligible players in Toronto. Somebody from the Renegades told a colleague on another team that Ottawa staff members had been told they would not coach in 2006, either because a new owner would fire them or because the team would be mothballed.

It would cost a new owner roughly $2 million to buy out the contracts of general manager Forrest Gregg, Jenkins and his assistants and to hire a new football operations team.

It is believed that the prospective buyers are aware of this extra cost.

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In what already has been a month beyond description for the Canadian Football League's Ottawa Renegades, head coach John Jenkins awoke yesterday to reports that he and his entire staff had been fired.

The story in an Ottawa newspaper, repeated on broadcasts throughout the city yesterday morning, turned about to be false, according to coaches, the league's head office and the ownership group itself. But it did little to ease the perspectives of Jenkins and his staff while they wait out the Renegades' storm from their homes in the United States.

"Obviously, we're in a position where I'd say the state of CFL football in Ottawa is in its 11th hour or more, so to speak," Jenkins said. "And I plan on meeting with anybody at any time to discuss what would be best for the CFL team here."

Last night, Jenkins took part in a televised town hall meeting in Ottawa that included former general manager Eric Tillman, broadcaster Jeff Avery and current Renegade Jason Kralt.

During the telecast, Jenkins repeated his mantra that the football operations side is raring to go for the 2006 season.

"We're talking about as fine an assembly of players that I've ever put on the field," he said.

None of that, however, is going to matter unless the league is able to make progress with a potential new owner by early next week, after which the team could be suspended or folded.

As part of that process, the league intends to send Kevin McDonald from its football operations department to take stock of the Renegades' equipment and supplies.

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How could an Ottawa newspaper mess up so bad on this? This tells me something about the journalism industry and what it tells me, I can't repeat on a public forum.
Let's just say extremely unprofessional.

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"Kershaw also did not discount the possibility of Glieberman remaining as a minority owner if a principal buyer can be found."

maybe if glieb stays as minority owner, that will help ease concerns of a new buyer. cuz then they wont have to pay the $6 million in losses by themself just for buying the team.

Hmmm.....I wonder where Chewy is to defend the "honour" of the media over this latest

his whole "if I buy, I'm moving them" stance before doesn't quite sit well for me, but I guess the meeting last night must have really gone well for Ottawa that if he became the owner, he would try to make the team work there.

bottomline: he is definally a 4th canidate for the Ottawa owner race, the other two having conects to Ontario and the other being an intreterd American.

....this circus just keeps getting a new act.... Jenkins is fired ...then he's not....Melnyk is the he's not....Bruce Urban is the he needs somebody to prop him up to keep things going in 06...and that someone could be the league OR none other than the Glieberguys (this seems like the most likely scenario)..What a mish-mash....I think I'll reserve my final comment on this fiasco....when all of the dust FINALLYsettles...and the LEAGUE makes a FINAL decision...I just hope they can keep things going in the Cap....maybe out of all this confusion something concrete will happen....HERE'S HOPING... :roll:

Media is no different out here on the Wet Coast.....Last Week JP McConnel of CKNW did his best Marty York impressions...... Its all a game to "Out Scoop" the others...whether the story is true or not.

Urban is not a possibility --- he's publicity hound. Just ask folks in Cgy.

Lot's of ifs. If and hopefully the Gades are sold, but I hope it is not to Urban. Especially since previously on record about not working in Ottawa. Can you imagine the media hit this guy would take with this position, it would be like the Gleiberguy circus being back in town. Hey, maybe he will take on the Gleiberguy as a minority partner?

After his previous statements, he was obviously told by the league that they have no intention of selling to team to someone who will relocate it. So now he probably wants to buy the team, and put on a show of "making it work in Ottawa", with the intention of allowing it to fail. Then he'll go to the league as the team owner and get approval for relocation to Halifax.

or QC!!!!!!!!!....if he says that, he'll have my

in all seriousness, atleast he would be an owner that would allow the Gades to play in '06 without placing financial burden on the other 8 teams.

They made another mistake in the Urban story stating that the new ownership group of the Stamps bought the team from Kevin Feeterik ( the QB son) not dad Micheal. Good research!

Not true the guy would be great he runs the NLL team in Edmonton very well and the league likes his tools for owning the team? Where in the world did you get that he likes publicity! And if he does would that not be good marketing!