\HAMILTON, Ont. -- Josh Bartel has made the grade with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Two years ago, he walked away from Australian Rules Football to pursue a North American football career. On Friday, his dream became a reality when he made the Ticats' roster.
The six-foot-three, 200-pound Bartel was one of three kickers in Hamilton's camp, along with Luca Congi and Josh Maveety. But the Ticats released Maveety on Friday, leaving Bartel to handle the punting duties while Congi will take care of field goals and kickoffs when the Ticats host the Saskatchewan Roughriders to open the CFL season next Friday.
Also among the nine players released were offensive lineman Belton Johnson and defensive back Milt Collins.
The six-foot-five, 315-pound Johnson was entering his third season with the Ticats and played previously with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Hamilton acquired Collins from Calgary last season, reuniting him with then Ticats defensive co-ordinator Corey Chamblin, a former Stampeders defensive backs coach. With Collins being a free agent, a potential landing spot could be the Saskatchewan Roughriders, where Chamblin is the head coach.