Jim Mullin is the Sports Director at CKNW 980 AM in Vancouver and has offered us the chance to share his blog posts here on BCLionsDen.ca. We’re excited to have Jim’s opinions on the CFL and encourage you to follow his own blog on CKNW.com
By Jim Mullin (CKNW 980)
The season is quietly rolling up upon us, but no stretch in time may be as important to the long-term operations of the BC Lions. The next two years will set the Lions path for the next decade.
Attendance was way off last season. It dropped from 32,000 per game down to 28,000. A bad economy, bad play – especially at home – and a vacuum of leadership all contributed to the downward spiral.
This is a year to right the ship with new president Dennis Skulsky at the helm.
Fate gives the new boss a good start. The 27,500-seat (T)empire Stadium will be a one-year wonder of nostalgia. That, of course, until the rain arrives in October and the familiar fan fickleness from Vancouverites ensues.
Then it’s off to a brief honeymoon period in the dome with a sunroof.
The Lions will have to roll up their sleeves. The Vancouver Whitecaps will have lots of money to spend in the market to launch their new brand, and will compete for corporate support.
Wally Buono will have a decision to make soon. When will he become the full-time general manager and hand the coaching reigns off to another? And who will that new head coach be?
As for the parts on the field, Casey Printers has the athleticism and the charisma, but the questions remain: Can he stay healthy? Can he deliver in big games? And can he keep his emotions in check?
Out of all the sports operations in this city, the Lions are the team with the deepest roots in the community. They have been operating under the same banner for 56 years.
However, the brand staggered and got stale somewhere along the way in the last two years.
Now it is up to their leadership to reenergize the base, and find new ways to get the message to new fans while renewal in the front office and the buildings they play in have the buzz in this burg.