Quarterback Buck Pierce said the players are also blessed with up-to-date-training facilities and other perks at the 33,500-seat stadium, located on the grounds of the University of Manitoba.
“At the old place we maybe had one fridge, a microwave and a coffee pot that worked half the time,” he said.
“Here we have everything that we need.”
Coach Tim Burke said except for a couple of holes on defence, the team is also in much better shape than it was for much of last season, particularly on offence.
The Bombers stumbled out of the gate and missed the playoffs, after making a Grey Cup appearance in 2011. It cost coach Paul LaPolice his job mid-season.
Offensive coordinator Gary Crowton now has a year of CFL football under his belt and Burke says that should lead to more production.
“I think we’re in much better shape as a team than where we were when I took over as interim coach,” said Burke.
During the off-season, the Bombers lost defensive end Jason Vega to the NFL and linebacker Marcellus Bowman to the Hamiton Tiger-Cats, who weren’t put off by his knee surgery.
“Other than that, I feel pretty good defensively as far as the guys coming back,” said Burke.
He feels Cauchy Muamba is an upgrade at free safety and can’t say enough good things about his brother, linebacker Henoc Muamba. Mack added that he would be saying a rosary every day to try and keep the team healthy.
“I think if we can stay healthy we have a chance to be pretty competitive.”
Injuries played a major factor in the team’s woes in 2012, not the least the concussion and other ailments that sidelined Pierce. Pierce is back as starter, with returning backup Justin Goltz and two new understudies, Max Hall and Chase Clement.
The Bombers did bring in another punter Thursday, Australian Tim Hutchison, making it four as camp nears, including Bomber veteran Mike Renaud.
“Competition is always a good thing, it brings out the best in everybody, and I think from there we’ll get more consistency in our punting game,” said Burke.
The Bombers tried out another kicker/punter last season but decided to stick with their duo of Renaud and Justin Palardy.
One of the newcomers this season trying to unseat Renaud is Brett Cameron, the son of Bomber hall-of-famer and current board member Bob Cameron.