Western to pursue one Ticats game

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

LONDON, ONT. - While the odds are long that the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will play a full schedule at TD Waterhouse Stadium, discussions will take place about playing some games in London, Ont.

Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton is being rebuilt and the Ticats have to find a place to play their 2013 CFL season. Last month, team president Scott Mitchell said he'll look at what's best for their fan base.

"Whatever the best solution is, we're going to exhaust it," he said. "Beyond that, we have a very important mandate in this organization to regionalize the team and grow the team west to London, north to Guelph and south to St. Catharines."

Mitchell and Western athletics director Therese Quigley have spoken several times on the phone. She said they plan a face-to-face meeting and she'll do whatever she can to bring at least one game here.

"I'm pretty sure they are going to land with multiple venues, not just a single one," Quigley said. "They will want to keep as many of their games as possible in Hamilton.

"Scott wouldn't be meeting us at all if he didn't think we couldn't do something here in London. He wouldn't be stringing us along."

While Quigley said it wouldn't be an issue holding all the games here, she believes there would be significant problems for the Ticats if they didn't play most of their games at home.

"I haven't sat down eye-to-eye with Scott yet but I know what's going on in Hamilton and with them," she said.

"There would be significant pressure from people involved in the city, and the CFL, not to take the whole season away from the Golden Horseshoe.

"I think they'll probably be looking at Rogers Centre for some of the Toronto games."

Quigley is intimately familiar with Ron Joyce Stadium, the new facility on the McMaster University campus. She was athletic director at McMaster and initiated the project.

It seats about 6,000.

"I started that plan before Greg (current Mustang and former McMaster coach Greg Marshall) was even the head coach," she said. "I had four head coaches' input into that facility. The thought in mind when it was built was it could be ramped up for 18,000 for the Commonwealth Games (and) the Pan Am Games. We bid for the under-20 World Cup when that was up.

"They can construct temporary stands for a given period of time that could put an additional 10,000 seats in and if they went into the end zone they could put in a significant number of additional seats in that venue."

Quigley will be pro-active when it comes to convincing Mitchell to bring at least one game here.

"I've had some preliminary discussion with other people on campus, (and Tourism London general manager) John Winston will meet with us.

"We're going to explore with just not an open mind but a hopeful heart that we can bring something to London. If it doesn't, it won't be because of a lack of effort."

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