In what may be a precursor of future professional football in the Maritimes, the Argos and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are going on the road to play a game in Atlantic Canada. The two teams are scheduled to play in Halifax on June 11 next year in a pre-season match.
The game is part of the process that will hopefully lead to the Canadian Football League adding a 10th franchise for the 2008 season. Commissioner Tom Wright indicated last month prior to the Grey Cup, which the Argos won, that the CFL had pushed up its timetable for a 10th franchise to the year 2008 from its previous plan of 2010.
It remains to be seen where exactly the 10th franchise will be situated because there is not a stadium in Atlantic Canada that can hold the 25,000-seat minimum the CFL has made as a pre-requisite for a franchise.
LOCATION A HINT?
There has been talk that Moncton might also be in the loop, although the fact the game will be played in Halifax could be seen as an indicator at this point where the franchise will be situated. Back in 1981, the CFL granted a conditional franchise to Atlantic Canada, which would have been named the Schooners, but the team never made it to the opening kickoff due to stadium issues that couldn't be resolved.
It's still a paramount concern. Husky Stadium in Halifax has a capacity of some 9,000.
James Ryerson, a onetime Regina citizen who is one of the lobbyists for an Atlantic Canada franchise, told the Toronto Sun in 2003 that there are enough well-heeled individuals either living in Halifax or from the area who could help finance a new stadium with naming rights, along with government funding. In the absence of a new stadium, Ryerson said Husky Stadium can be retrofitted as a backup plan.