Sports Alouettes franchise became a CFL powerhouse under former owner Wetenhall
Veteran Patrick Levels expects to bring discipline to Als' defence
There’s no guarantee the foolish penalties the Alouettes took in Calgary will cease once veteran linebacker Patrick Levels returns to the field. Nor will he necessarily negate some of the big plays Montreal surrendered. But his presence can’t hurt. Montreal head coach Khari Jones, for one, relishes the energy and communication Levels provides. “He’s constantly talking to everybody, constantly making sure people are where they’re supposed to be — besides missing an all-star player and a guy who can make plays all over the field,” Jones said Monday. “The communication’s going to be key for us. We need everybody to come together on the defensive side.
Robert Wetenhall, who was instrumental in resurrecting the Alouettes franchise and turning it into a CFL dynasty, has died, the organization and league announced late Monday night.
Wetenhall died last Friday; the cause of death and other details were not provided. He was believed to be 85 or 86.
Born in Milwaukee, Wi., Wetenhall assumed ownership of the franchise in 1997 — one year after it relocated to Montreal from Baltimore — and ran the team until the end of May 2019, when, citing his age and some health concerns, he surrendered the franchise to the league in hopes of finding a new owner.
Alouettes QB Adams Jr. hopes to raise bar against Tiger-Cats
Vernon Adams Jr. passed for 261 yards and two touchdowns last week. With one more completion, he would have connected on 50 per cent of his throws. But the Alouettes lost at Calgary, and the starting quarterback was criticized for a bad performance — one that fell a yard short of a potential victory on the final play. It makes you wonder what Adams might accomplish with a good outing? “I don’t know how to answer that,” Adams, after hesitating, said Thursday. “We all know how I played. That’s not my standard. I just need to be better. I just can’t wait to turn it on that late. “I just need to be better. That’s it.
The original Als franchise folded on the eve of the 1987 season and returned in ’96, owned by Jim Speros and Dr. Michael Gelfand. But the duo left a trail of unpaid debts that season, forcing the CFL to revoke the franchise and declare bankruptcy.
Wetenhall, an investment banker in New York and sports connoisseur, came to the franchise’s rescue, not only assuming ownership, but agreeing to pay all of the organization’s debts. Wetenhall previously had been a part owner of the AFL’s Boston Patriots and New England Patriots of the NFL. He also became involved with a North American Soccer League franchise in the 1970s.
With Larry Smith as president, general manager Jim Popp and such head coaches as Don Matthews and Marc Trestman — not to mention legendary quarterback Anthony Calvillo — the Als became one of the league’s flagship franchises, at one point announcing 105 consecutive sellouts at 23,500-seat Molson Stadium.
Alouettes bank on receiver Dante Absher to ignite struggling offence
We know Dante Absher is a patient guy. The Alouettes’ receiver spent most of 2019 on the practice roster before finally being activated late in the season. After three games on the injured list as a healthy scratch, Absher’s getting the nod over the struggling Quan Bray for Friday’s game at Ottawa. What remains to be determined is whether the 6-foot-3, 180-pound speedster can be the spark for Montreal’s struggling offence. “I think I’ll be After three games on the injured list as a healthy scratch, Absher’s getting the nod over the struggling Quan Bray for Friday’s game at Ottawa.
Over an 11-year period between 1999 and 2010, the Als finished first in the East Division nine times, advanced to the Grey Cup on eight occasions and won three championships.
But the team went into a tailspin followingin January 2014. The team missed the playoffs for four consecutive seasons, beginning in 2015 and, by 2018, most of the franchise’s were being handled by Andrew, one of Wetenhall’s two sons.
Although the Als returned to the playoffs in 2019, season-ticket sales had plummeted to about 3,600.
“Bob Wetenhall’s ownership of the Montreal Alouettes was a labour of love,” CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement. “Bob was as charming and generous in private as he was successful and determined in public. Our league is grateful for his many contributions. The people in it are deeply saddened by news of his passing.”
Arizona Coyotes submit bid to build arena in Tempe
Tempe is located on the other side of Phoenix from Glendale and about 30 miles away from the Coyotes’ current home. The area in question resides on a stretch of the Salt River known as Tempe Town Lake. It is central to Tempe, but also not far from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and the city of Scottsdale. Although the Coyotes could not make any material comment on the bidding process, they stated that they are “incredibly excited about this extraordinary opportunity.
As news of Wetenhall’s death began circulating, tributes immediately began pouring in.
“Bob Wetenhall along with David Braley were true heroes of our league,” said Bob Young, owner of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. “Bob had a joie de vivre that brought optimism and happiness to everyone who knew him. I, and the CFL, just lost a great friend.”
“Bob touched so many and made us all feel so very welcome with each warm hug, handshake and his friendly demeanour,” said, a former CFL quarterback who now works for TSN as a commentator and analyst. “Bob treated the (TSN) panel with extra loving care and he’ll be missed dearly.”
Wetenhall was granted an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by McGill University in November 2011 in recognition of his work with the Als and the expansion of Molson Stadium. He wasin 2015.
The CFL finally announced the sale of the franchise in January 2020 to Ontario steel magnates Sid Spiegel and Gary Stern. But the league announced in August of that year its season had been cancelled due to. Spiegel , never having seen the Als play a game.
Als explode on offence, obliterate Redblacks to end losing skid
OTTAWA — Nothing like a game against the terrible Ottawa Redblacks to cure whatever supposedly was ailing the Alouettes. Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. threw four touchdown passes — two each to Eugene Lewis and Jake Wieneke — as Montreal trounced the Redblacks 51-29 Friday night before 15,000 spectators at TD Place. David Côté added three field goals for the Als, now 2-2, ending a two-game losing streak. Dominique Davis passed to Daniel Petermann for both Redblacks touchdowns, Davis adding a third himself on a short one-yard run. Lewis Ward added a pair of field goals for Ottawa, now 1-3. Linebacker Patrick Levels returned an interception 74 yards for a score.
Positive COVID-19 test stuns Alouettes head coach Khari Jones .
As someone who is double vaccinated, Khari Jones never anticipated a positive COVID-19 test. Had the Alouettes’ head coach not travelled to Surrey, B.C., last week during the team’s bye in the schedule to visit family, then to Toronto, where his daughter is attending university, he wouldn’t be in isolation and preparing to watch Saturday’s game against the B.C. Lions from his apartment. “I feel like I’m a really careful person,” Jones said Tuesday, after the team announced his positive test hours earlier, although he remains asymptomatic. “No one would like to follow me around. There’s not much I do except go to the office and come home. And I walk home.