Details from the Toronto Lynx press conference of Tuesday April 19th, 2005 held at the Travelodge Hotel Dixie in Toronto at 11:00am. (by Rocket Robin)

The conference was called to order at 11:30am by the Lynx's new Technical Consultant Dick Howard who acted as master of ceremonies. He first introduced the head table of head coach Hubert Busby Jr, assistant coach Lyndon Hooper, team captain Joe Mattachione, and Premier Academy & Super Y League director Duncan Wilde. He gave thanks to the sponsers including Oakville Nisson (car dealership) who now have their logo imprinted on the front of the Lynx uniforms.

He outlined the set up of the renamed USL First Division which now has twelve teams and six make the playoffs after the regular season's 28 game schedule.

New head coach Hubert Busby Jr was introduced and had some comments. He said he is from the Toronto area and it was always his dream to coach a team he had once played for. He said it would be 'difficult' to make the playoffs but he thanked team owners The Hartrells for leaving him to mould the team. It won't be good enough to got through the motions, the players will play on pride between the white lines. He has brought back experience players for their leadership.

Next introduced was returning captain Joe Mattachione who said he was honoured to be captain. He likes the mix of experience and new players. He won't make any predictions but is confident. He thanked the Hartrells, teammates, the new Lady Lynx etc.

Busby then introduced the 2005 players in attendance:
Theo Zagar as starting goalkeeper is returning after playing for the Rochester Raging Rhinos last year.
Rick Titus as a defender. (he played a one game for the Lynx in 2004 but was a mainstay on the 1997 and 1998 teams before playing for other A-League teams in between).
Carl Fletcher as a defender. (hasn't played for the Lynx before but is a veteran of many other A-League teams).
Sean Faria returns as a defender. He has recovered from the injuries that kept him out of the lineup for half the season.
Andre Arango returns as a defender.
Rumba Munthali returns as a defender.
David DiPlacido returns as a midfielder.
Conrad Smith is new to the team. He is a forward from Trinidad who played for Calgary Mustangs of the A-League in 2004.
Sean Fraser is new to the team. He is from Edmonton and played for the Aviators of the A-League in 2004. He was described as being the fastest man on the team.
Jamie Dodds returns as a midfielder after having a breakthough season last year..
Dave Simpson is new to the team. He is a forward and played for the CPSL Hamilton Thunder for part of 2004.
Niels Dekker is new to the team. He is a midfielder from the Netherlands but has Canadian citizenship.
Josue Mayard returns as a defender.
Ali Gerba returns as a forward.
Robin Hart is new to the team. He played half a season for the Edmonton Aviators of the A-League last year.
Jeremie Piette is new to the team. He is an American and played half a season with Vancouver Whitecaps of the A-League last season.
Paulo Silva returns to the Lynx after a year's absence as the goalkeeping coach.
Lyndon Hooper is the assistant coach. He has been a player for the Toronto Lynx in their early years.
Duncan Wilde was the Lynx head coach in 2004 and is now the director of the team's Premier Academy & Super Y-League teams.

Also listed on the team's roster but absent for today were:
Richard Goddard returns as a goalie. He is from Trinidad and Tobago.
Winston Griffiths is new to the team. He is a midfielder/forward who played the full season in 2004 for the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Huffman El Tabe is new to the team. He is a midfielder and was born in Cameroon and played for Ottawa St Anthony's Italia in 2004 which Busby coached.

The players than grouped together for a group picture which was tight for such a small room and some rows of chairs had to be moved.

Dick Howard returned to praise Dr Robert Gringmuth and his medical team. He also named and thanked the Lynx front office. The Hartrell's were not in attendance. He said hello to the CPSL league's media director Stan Adamson who was here today. He praised the great development system of the USL's Y-Leagues. The Lynx will by next year have ten development teams in the different age groups men's and women's soccer.

Duncan Wilde was introduced and stressed the academy program was very important for development. Last year their boy's U-17 and U-19 teams won division championships and lost in the playoff semi-finals. The boy's U-16 team has already won the Kanata Cup earlier this winter. He introduced the captains from the U-15, U-16, U-17 boys team and the U-17 coach and the captain from the girls U-16 team.

Dick Howard finished by saying this was the 9th year of operation and they will play their 250th game this year. A scramble in the audience ensued when he said whoever found a Lynx business card under their chair has just won a copy of the FIFA history DVD. The press conference was all over by 12:05pm just in time for a buffet lunch. Players and coaches stayed around for one on one interviews.

There were no players nor coaches from the Lady Lynx. Seeing how small the room was another 30 people would have brought the fire marshall calling. With players and staff and media there may have been about 70 people here.

I spoke to Duncan Wilde about a scenario where they may discover a talented 16 year old like a player who debuted for the Everton (England) first team last week. Wilde said that would be possible for the Lynx to do however the player would lose his NCAA college eligibility. There is still a four year gap between the end of their U-19 program and a post college age pro team. He said Lynx need to get a PDL team because players could retain their amateur status. After college, any graduate would enter the USL draft which means after six years of the Lynx developing a player, the Montreal Impact could step in and draft him.

At the buffet my table compared notes of who was here from the media today. There were five cameras recording this conference including CFMT, and Global (well that was the label on their equipment), and Sportsnet for footage for their SoccerCentral show. The FAN590 radio was there conducting interviews. Biggest surprise was seeing 'The Bear' Alan Ryan, The Toronto Star newspaper's baseball guy taking notes. They gave the team no coverage last year. USL writer for Toronto Rob Lynch was there. Frequent Voyageurs message board posters the Keay brothers were there. That was Ryan who had his picture in the Star at the NBA Raptors game on the weekend. With his picture also in the paper last Fall at the Grey Cup game, I said if he ever made the Star for being at a Lynx game, the world woulld really end. That was before I saw Alan Ryan. JOHNN from the old Voyageurs Network 54 board was there and enjoying talking to new Dutch/Canadian player Niels Dekker. Inside Soccer publisher Alfons Rubbens was there. Pete Irving from The FAN590 World Sports report also there. Leno Terra from the Ontario Soccer Web also here as was Globe and Mail's Rick Boulton and old newspaperman Bob Koep.

I seemed to be the only person fooled by re-reading an old e-mail from the Lynx that the press conference would be held at the Travelodge Hotel Yorkville at 10:00am. When I got out there by 9:30am, I found the hotel was closed and the building was being converted to condos. I found a telephone at a donut shop and started calling the Toronto Lynx phone number and pressing extension numbers. Everybody was on voice mail which was understandable at they'd all be at the press conference. I drove all the way home to double check my mail again. Yep I'd read that right! This was a real low point as it comes on top of my internet provider being so slow to process a rather simple request that I wanted to buy a larger webspace for my web site. (My advise, stay away from WINTEL). All the favours I called in to get the day off from work and what would I say tomorrow? Last chance and I phoned the Lynx office and ran down the ten extension lines one by one. The tenth number had a live voice who said the press conference was at the Travelodge out by the airport. Back in my car and actually arrived before the meeting was called to order. To be fair it appears that when the team recompiled their media mailing list, my name got dropped and although I got back on it, there was a critical ten days when I missed the e-mail about this revised location.

I got to speak to Craig Forrest for the first time saying I had his picture (and Jason Devos holding the Gold Cup) as my screen saver for a few years. Later I was there to lend him one of my pens. Fellow SoccerCentral co-host Gary Dobson joined in too. Although their show will be off the air between mid May to the end of August during the English league offseason, soccer will be well covered during the Gold Cup and the U-20 World Cup.

Now home to see how much of this coference actually makes the suppertime news!

Rocket Robin

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