Ticats drama hits home for Argo

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:39 PM ET

He can stand in his backyard and hear the roar from Ivor Wynne Stadium.

But it’s the thought of quiet nights that bothers Argonauts special-teams captain Bryan Crawford, a Hamilton native and resident who makes the commute down the QEW daily to suit up for the Tiger-Cats’ biggest rivals.

There is the real possibility that when the Ticats’ lease at Ivor Wynne ends after the 2011 Canadian Football League season, Ivor Wynne will go dark.

Ticats owner Bob Young and the city have come to a standstill after councillors voted on Tuesday night in favour of building the 2015 Pan Am Games stadium at the West Harbour site, which Young opposes.

‘Dreams’

“I don’t particularly want to think about (the Ticats leaving) yet,” Crawford said.

“There is a 141-year history of the Tiger-Cats, and Hamilton is a football community.

“(The Ticats) are an institution. There’s a great minor football system in Hamilton, and kids have dreams of playing in the OUA and for the (McMaster) Marauders, and one day being a Tiger-Cat.

“You ask anybody who has gone on to the CFL and was a Hamiltonian, and they will say the same thing: ‘I was a Cats fan my whole life.’ ”

Young told the Fan 590 on Wednesday that the council’s voting in favour of the West Harbour site “is a massive mistake” and “may end the Ticats in Hamilton.”

Young is adamant that the downtown site would be bad for business, and favours a site on the East Mountain.

Though there have been rumours that Quebec City has a deal in place to bring in the Ticats, Young shot them down. In fact, Young said, there is no deal anywhere for a the Ticats to take up residence.

That would include Burlington and Moncton, two other cities that have been tossed into the rumour mill. But would Young really say that the Ticats would be done at Ivor Wynne after next season if he had no contingency plan in mind?

“There is no (impending move), not that I am aware of,” Young said. “I am looking forward to someone making a solution to this. The way this thing is playing out is very scary for the future of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats franchise.”

Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger wants the Ticats to return to the negotiating table, but the club has no interest if it means pushing forward with the West Harbour site.

Keeping an eye on the situation from Toronto is Crawford, whose first priority is to help ensure that the Argonauts continue to improve.

But you can’t blame the 28-year-old if his mind wanders back to the drama in his hometown.

“Having that team there is great for football, because you have something to aspire to, you go to watch as a little kid,” Crawford said.

“The team is great in the community, and the community has been supportive.”


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