Stamps onwers show class again! Helping charities again

If money talks, the Calgary Stampeders hope they’ll be flapping their gums at a season-ending party while raising money for charity.

That’s when the players will receive payouts of a new team financial incentive program introduced yesterday by president/ part-owner Ted Hellard.

The plan, never before tried by the Stamps, is intended to pay team bonuses for game-breaking plays like interceptions, sacks and special-teams excellence. The financial carrots were itemized for the players in a handout from Hellard at the end of yesterday’s practice for a new program called Critical Mass Kids for Cancer Reach for Success program.

The program offers about 30 different ways for offensive, defensive and special teams units to raise money for themselves, while Critical Mass will match each dollar to create a fund for Kids for Cancer. Hellard hopes the program net $8,000 to $10,000 for Kids for Cancer.

Greybeard Jamie Crysdale, a 13-year veteran of the offensive line, said bonuses in the form of electronics and other gifts were used by some U.S.-based CFL teams in the 1990s.

The Stamps plan, Crysdale said, should help overall team performance.

“It gives people extra incentive and if you want to give people added incentives, you do it with money,” Crysdale said. “The good thing is it’s all based on team goals.”

Linemate Jay McNeil feels the incentives are a light-hearted initiative that aren’t necessary to maximize performance.

“It’s for fun so if guys do well in games we’ll have some extra money for a party at the end of the year,” McNeil said. “It’s not like we’re taking this like a serious thing. We’re obviously taking preventing sacks very seriously but whether it’s a hundred bucks or nothing, we’re fighting just as hard.”

While players wouldn’t reveal the financial values, coach Tom Higgins said it is a minor monetary boost intended as a fun diversion.

“They’re all attainable team goals so at the end of the day they’ll have a chance to go out and have a nice get-together,” Higgins said.

First-year receiver Ken-Yon Rambo likes the idea and expects it will provide results.

“That’s for us to go out and showcase our abilities and for us to want it even more,” Rambo said. “It’s a fun thing for the owner to come out like that and help us to set goals for us like that. That’s means now we have to go out and get it and that’s what we’re going to do.”

DROPS CREATE FRUSTRATION: If Tom Higgins had more hair he’d be pulling it out whenever a pass clangs off a receiver’s hands. Last week in Winnipeg, Jeremaine Copeland, Nik Lewis and Ken-Yon Rambo all committed unforced errors, something Higgins hopes to rectify this week.

“When you are a good receiver and you’re dropping passes it’s about getting back to the fundamentals,” Higgins said. "A lot of times they might be thinking about running and don’t catch the ball first, so a lot of times you have to let them work through it because we know they can catch. ‘Catch first, run second.’ That’s an oversimplification but that’s what it comes down to.

“You can’t necessarily put your finger on it, otherwise you’d be able to fix it quickly.”

Copeland and Lewis are the only Stamps among the top-20 receivers in the league

Dan Toth Calgary Sun