Benny and eggs for breakfast while dishing up goods on Lions; Lucic uses Cup ‘excuse’ for missing event
At the crack of dawn Thursday, B.C. Lions head coach Mike Benevides literally took his audience of 150 corporate citizens into a space normally reserved for his football players. The scene was Silks dining area at Hastings Racecourse where the Waterboys had gathered over breakfast to celebrate a 10th anniversary.
The Waterboys, which, for the record, includes girls, is the group of business leaders in the community that was the brainchild of the late Bob Ackles in 2003. In the past decade, it has been a support system copied by several other CFL teams, especially after the Vancouver chapter was acknowledged with a Commissioner’s Award in 2005.
With the exception of the thoroughbreds working out on a muddy track one level below where Benevides stood, the coach had the undivided attention of everyone within earshot.
Not a creature was stirring as he said: “I’m going to take you inside my head and share some thoughts with you. The last 23 days of training in Kamloops were fantastic; very productive. We started with 88 players and we’re down to 60 or so. The three keys to success are sacrifice, no excuses, no regrets. Our goal is always the same: to win a championship. I am convinced we have guys on our team who care; people we can be proud of as we start our new journey.”
Jamie Taras, who spent 16 star-studded years on the Lions’ offensive line, leaned to a tablemate and said: “Man, this is like being back in the locker-room. How can you not get revved just listening to him?”
That was Benevides’ breakfast game plan from the outset.
HERE ‘N’ THERE: Abbotsford Heat president Ryan Walter had a surprise for golfers at The Centre for Child Development charity tournament Thursday at Newlands GCC in Surrey. He brought along his 1986 Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup ring and passed it table to table for people to place on their fingers for picture-taking purposes. The 12th annual McDonald’s Challenger Celebrity Golf Classic Tuesday at Meadow Gardens raised a record $75,000 with oodles of sports personalities on hand. Burnaby’s Milan Lucic, a tournament regular, sent his regrets because of a previous commitment. “Something about a Stanley Cup Final,” deadpanned Al Dodimead, one of the organizers.
SHORT HOPS: Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim Robson did a double-take during the Canadians’ home opener at Nat Bailey Stadium on Monday when he saw the name Bob Robertson listed as the Spokane Indians play-by-play man. When Robson was calling Vancouver Mounties games in the 1960s at Capilano Stadium, Robertson, now 84, was in the next booth doing play-by-play for the Tacoma Raniers. They became reacquainted in the same location Monday.
END ZONE: Robson wouldn’t want you to share it with too many people but his first trip to the legendary ballpark adjacent to Little Mountain was as a 16-year-old freelance reporter for the Maple Ridge Gazette in 1951. He made the 47-kilometre journey by bicycle.
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