When I was at the University yesterday I took a walk into the stadium to look for signs of construction activity. While it was obvious that no new seating was in place, thought I might find some concrete footings or other early preparations for the temporary seating for the upcoming CFL season. But it didn’t look like a blade of grass or a shovelful of earth had been moved.
Not to worry! A Guelph Mercury story – Canadian company hired to bring Alumni Stadium up to Tiger-Cats standards, which Coach Lang made me aware of, reports that the construction of approximately 10,000 new seats begins tomorrow April 22. The Tiger-Cats have hired Tower Scaffolding of Toronto to build the temporary grandstands. While Tower is perhaps best know for building the grandstands at the Molson Indy and Canadian Open events I know I have personally worked off their scaffolding platforms hundreds of feet above the ground in oil refineries and hydro-electric plants. The completion date of May 31st doesn’t seem unrealistic given what I have seen in industrial settings. The first scheduled event in Alumni Stadium for the Ticats is an exhibition game on June 20.
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Today Alumni Stadium will host the Red & Black Scrimmage, a Football Ontario event. Could there be a more appropriate venue for a Red & Black scrimmage than Guelph with it’s magnificent new field? Anyways, this is the final selection event for the Team Ontario squad that will represent the province at this summer’s Football Canada Cup in Moncton NB. The top 90 prospects in the province will face off against each other in a scrimmage that will help to determine the final roster of 45. Rosters for the two squads can be found here.
I expect the crowd will be relatively small [I was mistaken. The crowd was easily double what I would have expected.] – mostly parents and other supporters of the participants (HS & OVFL coaches, girlfriends, siblings, etc.) plus dozens of CIS & CJFL scouts and recruiters. Being able to host an event is a great opportunity for the Gryphon football program. It exposes 90 of Ontario’s top future prospects to Guelph’s football facilities. And, of course, as usual, Gryphon coaches step up and volunteer more time and commitment to programs like this than any other team in the OUA.
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My real purpose for being in Guelph yesterday wasn’t to check out the field but rather to get a free meal at the Recruit Family Luncheon that was part of the Meet the Team event. LOL! It was nice to meet a few of the new recruits and parents. Wish I had had a chance to speak to them all but there just wasn’t enough time. I certainly hope to write more about my impressions of the event later today.
I did have the opportunity to sit beside Jordi Wills, the team chaplain who was at perhaps his last official Gryphon event. Wills has been the Fellowship of Christian Athletes representative in Guelph for approximately the past three years. A low-key guy who is seen but rarely heard at many Gryphon football events and cares deeply about the players, Wills is returning to eastern Ontario to take over the family business. He will be missed by those who have gotten to know him.