Oshawa hoping to lure Tabbies

TiCats' Willie Middlebrook celebrates a fumbled kick return recovery with Jykine Bradley. (Jack...

TiCats' Willie Middlebrook celebrates a fumbled kick return recovery with Jykine Bradley. (Jack Boland/QMI Agency)

DAVE POLLARD, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:09 PM ET

The Oshawa Tiger-Cats?

It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue but at least one Oshawa city councillor thinks it has a nice ring to it. And now Robert Lutczyk wants to find out if the rest of the city's council feels the same way.

Lutczyk, vice-chair of Oshawa's strategic initiatives and development services committees, called a special council meeting Friday to determine if the city should proceed with "formal negotiations to explore the issues of a Toronto 2015 Pan American Games soccer stadium to be built in Oshawa as well as a CFL team as the main tenant."

The CFL team in question is the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Negotiations between Ticats owner Bob Young and the city of Hamilton over the location of a new facility that would replace aging Ivor Wynne Stadium have broken down, potentially leaving the team homeless.

Lutczyk is convinced Oshawa council will back his attempt to bring the Tiger-Cats to the city on the eastern edge of the GTA.

"I believe council is going to endorse this position," Lutczyk told QMI Agency. "I think (the reaction at the meeting) is going to be very positive.

I feel sorry for the Hamilton fans but I think this is an exciting opportunity for Oshawa.

"Rather than looking at the usual suspects ­ Moncton, Halifax ­ don't pass Oshawa by. We're open for business and we have things here that people don't recognize. We're often fighting the suburban myth out here."

Milton, Burlington and Aldershot have been rumoured to be interested in the Ticats while reports of a deal with Quebec City first brought the stadium issue into the light.

Lutczyk isn't alone in thinking Oshawa would make a good spot for the Ticats to call home. City council candidate Bill Steele earlier voiced his support for bringing the team to the 'Shwa.

³We have been looking for attractions in Oshawa, and I think we can come together and make Oshawa the new home for Tiger-Cats,² Steele told QMI's Don Peat. ³We can get the job done. It¹s absolutely doable.² According to Lutczyk, a privately-owned, 90-acre parcel of property adjacent to Hwy 401 between Thickson and Stevenson roads would be a perfect place to build a stadium, which would be used for the 2015 Pan Am Games. The Tiger-Cats would become the primary tenants in the stadium, which Lutzcyk says would have high visibility from the highway and be adjacent to a future GO train station.

"All you need is the right (stadium) site," he said. "We've got the best site."

Location is the reason negotiations between Young and Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger broke down in the first place. Eisenberger, with his council's backing, favours a west harbour locale while Young wants the stadium built on the east mountain.

Lutzcyk says he hasn't yet contacted Young ­ "I have put in a call but he's out of the country" ­ and would prefer council present a united front before that happens.

"It's far more important that the city has a position rather than one councillor," he said.

Hamilton city council is trying to schedule another meeting, likely for Tuesday, to debate the stadium issue one more time. Tuesday is the the deadline for Hamilton to submit its west harbour business plan to Pan Am organizers.


Videos

Photos