Guelph possibly a CFL stadium for 2013

I have commented elsewhere about the announcement on June 8 that McMaster University has refused to allow the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to share their on-campus stadium for the 2013 season. The Ticats will be without a home field for that year while Ivor Wynne Stadium is being rebuilt.  The Hamilton Spectator called it shocking when the news was made public by Mac’s AD Jeff Giles.

As for an alternative site, the initial story in the Spectator said, “A final decision won’t have to be made until the fall, but London’s University of Western Ontario seems to be the leading candidate to play home for the year.”

In a June 12 story CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon told the Spectator,

“The philosophy of the club is to try to keep it close to the fans for 2013,” Cohon said. “I know the club is working on Guelph and Western. …But the key focus for the club is trying to regionalize it, trying to be close by for the fans.”

Coach Stu Lang and Ticat GM Bob O’Billovitch sitting together at last month’s Coaches Gala Dinner.
Photo: Kyle Rodriguez

With an existing 14,000 seat facility I understand why Western may be the early favourite.  But Guelph has an advantage in terms of location and “try(ing) to keep it close to the fans” is an obvious priority. My dad was speaking with a friend of his this morning, a season-ticket holder from Stoney Creek, who said “I’d drive to Guelph but not to London”. 

 The Guelph Athletic Department already has plans to expand and renovate the stadium, so why not work with the Tiger-Cats to get it done ASAP.  Preparations for temporary seating could possibly even be readied this summer while the field is being replaced. And no one can fault the Ticats for not being generous in their negotiations with McMaster, as some reports suggest they were willing to spend up to $650,000 to make that situation work.

While it would be great to have expanded dressing room facilities, more office and storage space and other stadium infrastructure, the University would also receive national exposure that would be priceless. So I am very glad to read in today’s Mercury  that …

The University of Guelph plans on contacting the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to see if they are interested in coming to Guelph next season.

Guelph has been raised as a possible location for one or more games or even the team’s training camp. The Royal City used to play host to the Toronto Argonauts for their training camp.

“We plan on contacting them to find out if they’re interested,” University of Guelph Director of Athletics Tom Kendall said. “We haven’t been approached with any proposal yet.”

Guelph City Councillor Cam Guthrie is also in favour of the idea. Guthrie said, “If it could work, we should be all over it. I think it’s a good thing to look at and at least explore”. A Ticat season ticket holder, Guthrie said he polled fans at a Ti-Cats pre-season game this week and people were unanimous in preferring the games be moved to Guelph rather than London.

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