Commish happy last title game is in Winnipeg

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:42 AM ET

Winnipeg's long-range forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of -9 C on Grey Cup Sunday.

Regardless of that, not to mention the fact that more than 3,000 tickets remain to be sold for the big game, CFL commissioner Tom Wright is confident there will be a sold-out crowd of 44,784 at Canad Inns Stadium next Sunday night.

"Typically we've seen that in some past Grey Cups -- Regina, Ottawa, not so much in B.C. -- there's usually two or three thousand left, and then they are kind of waiting to see which two teams get in," Wright said yesterday from his Toronto office.

"Once that happens they'll be gone. They'll be gone really quickly. There's going to be some pretty good scalping going on."

When Wright presents the Grey Cup to either the Montreal Alouettes, B.C. Lions, Toronto Argonauts or Saskatchewan Roughriders on Nov. 29, it will mark his last major obligation before he leaves his post on Dec. 31.

Wright, the former adidas executive who attended his first Grey Cup in Winnipeg in 1998, is looking forward to his final trophy presentation taking place at Canad Inns Stadium.

"It actually feels good," Wright said. "I've got a soft spot in my heart for Winnipeg.

"The team has undergone a lot of hardships the last six, seven years there. They've turned it around from a business point of view, and they've turned it around from a football point of view.

"The first Grey Cup I presented was in Edmonton, the last in Winnipeg. It's two nice bookends -- two community-based teams. I feel good about where the league is."

After the Grey Cup, Wright will spend his final month in office working on a new broadcast agreement (the current one expires after next season), securing 2007 sponsorships and finding a new owner for Ottawa.

The Ottawa search committee had three groups lined up two months ago, but now it's down to one, led by former CFLer Bill Palmer.

"Whether or not there's one group or 10 groups, the fact of the matter is we've put forward what we think is the appropriate standard," Wright said, "and it's a standard that we see across the league."

Wright will be in Winnipeg this morning to deliver the keynote address at the 12th annual Sports Celebrities Festival breakfast in support of Special Olympics Manitoba.

He will return to town next Tuesday for Grey Cup week.


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