Touchdown Atlantic II in works?

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:47 PM ET

MONCTON, N.B. — Hamilton vs Calgary next year?

That’s the plan.

CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon, according to two highly-placed CFL sources, is expected to ask Hamilton Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young to give up a home game to make possible a Touchdown Atlantic II next year.

And it’s expected the team targeted to provide Western Conference opposition would be the Calgary Stampeders.

The team organizers would most want as a Western opponent is the Saskatchewan Roughriders, because of the similarities involved in making an Atlantic Schooners franchise successful. But the team none of the franchises want to give up as a home date is Saskatchewan because of the increased attendance built-in with transplanted Rider Priders around the nation buying tickets for away games.

At what is expected to become his annual state of the Atlantic Canada expansion team press conference, Cohon admitted the intention is very much for there to be several editions of the game the Edmonton Eskimos and Toronto Argos will play here Sunday.

“Our goal is to bring this back for many years,” said the commissioner of developing the connection to the fans in the Maritimes to the point where a suitable stadium will be built and ownership will be inspired to seek a 10th CFL franchise after Ottawa is back up and running again to create a true coast-to-coast league.

Cohon said they’ve called a time out on that for a few days while New Brunswick holds an election.

“In the next 60 days we hope to be able to announce we’ll bring this back,” he said of having the funding from three levels of government to make it happen similar to the roughly $750,000 put together for the game this year.

Cohon said he knew the No. 1 question at his press conference would be what the success of this event means for the future of a franchise in the area.

“I think it has a bright future,” he said. “I think this is a very viable market for us.”

He said just since the league announced it was coming here for the game the TV numbers are up 13% in the region.

And he pronounced Moncton as “having a leg up” on Halifax because of the success here in holding a mini Grey Cup with successful minor football events every night and a game that sold out in 32 hours.

He wouldn’t deny that Hamilton would likely be his first call to be the home team for the next one, the league buying out a Tiger-Cat home game to make it possible.

“We would be in conversation with several different teams but they would be in the running,” was how he chose to phrase it.

The idea of bringing the Saskatchewan Roughriders here, he suggested, is difficult.

“If the Riders were here it would be all green.”

It’s believed the very visible presence of Calgary’s Grey Cup group to be part of this party without having the Stampeders in the game would result in the Stampeders getting the first option to be the “visiting team” in the game.

“We’d definitely like to keep the East-West format,” he said.

He also said it would be wonderful if they could have all eight teams play a game here as the league uses the game to create the desire to inspire a franchise.

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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