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Hufnagels bring winning ways to Stampeders

Having never owned a business, I can’t really say this is a fact; but I was told once that to be a good business operator you must surround yourself with the right people.

Having never owned a business, I can’t really say this is a fact; but I was told once that to be a good business operator you must surround yourself with the right people.

In fact, I remember a general manager of a radio station I worked with years ago calling annual meetings and saying, basically, that if everybody in the office did their jobs he really didn’t have to work.

Well, I think John Forzani and the Calgary Stampeders ownership group did just that when they enticed John Hufnagel to come back to Calgary as the coach and general manager of the football team. Just look at the results.

“Huf’s” been here for five years and has twice led the team to the Grey Cup final while making the Western Conference final the other three years. Now that is what you call performance.

But there was another bonus of that move in that “Huf” brought his wife, Peni, along for the ride. And she has proven a huge winner in her own right. Of course, she has nothing to do with the football club. But it was her idea early on her arrival back in the town she left years ago to follow her husband first into Arena Football and then into the National Football League with stops in New England with the Patriots, Indianapolis with the Colts and finally with the New York Giants, all teams that have enjoyed Super Bowl success in the last little while in part because of the Hugnagel touch.

But Peni brought along a different idea from the NFL. It wasn’t a new draw play, or a new-fangled sleeper play or even a way to bust a wide receiver loose for the long bomb. Instead it was “Pink Power.”

This is a program she simply suggested to the club to help support breast cancer awareness.

At first the team was reluctant to get into the new deal mostly because the Canadian Football League wasn’t into straying from the norm by adding pink wrist bands or pink tape to push the program. But, someone, I’m thinking with husband John’s push if you will, decided they’d buy 500 pink hats and watch what happened.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that those hats were gone even before the first “Pink Power” game had started. Since then, they have sold more hats but added scarves and toques to the shopping list. And, each year since that opening offer, they were sold out before half time. In fact, the recent event at McMahon Stadium realized more than $60,000 for the fund.

But more than that, the response of Stampeder fans throughout southern Alberta caught the attention of the rest of the league and this past season all eight teams staged a game that featured players wearing some sort of pink equipment with fans in each city following suit. Because it’s an individual stadium promotion, the CFL doesn’t keep track of monies raised. But they do know that whatever is realized goes to cancer research in each area. And that, you have to agree, is a good thing. John and Peni Hufnagel have proven to be winners, albeit in different areas.

We switch topics in a big way by taking a look at the continuing problems of our free-spending provincial government and the recent discovery of the Premier’s sister spending taxpayer dollars in many questionable, and some suggest totally illegal, ways. This forcing Premier Redford to clam up once again as she was caught once again with her pants down or hands in the cookie jar. It got to the point that one politician, probably from the Wildrose Party, suggested that she was spending our money like a drunken sailor. This was after the word came down that she was willing to go further into debt to straighten out the province’s financial situation that was so strong under former Premier Ralph Klein but now is in a weakened state.

Well, I got a call from a drunken sailor the other day and he said he took exception to the aforementioned statement. His words were: “Hey, I was a drunken sailor once but I quit when I ran out of money.”

Kind of tells the story doesn’t it.

Today’s chuckle is about the guy who goes for a job interview and, on leaving, is told that he won the position. Asking about salary he is told that he will be paid $12,000 to start and $20,000 after six months. “Excellent,” the guy replies, “I’ll come back in six months.”