CFL commish raves about Winnipeg

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:05 AM ET

WINNIPEG - One of the first times CFL commissioner Mark Cohon held a news conference in Winnipeg, the rain was pouring through a leaky roof behind him.

Cohon blew through town again, Tuesday, with nothing but sunshine in his assessment of River City.

“It seems like there’s this momentum that’s happening in Winnipeg right now,” Cohon said. “The Jets, the Bombers, what’s happening with the new museum — the water’s rising. That’s probably a bad expression now. It’s floating all boats.”

Flooding aside, the news here has been largely good, particularly on the sports front, where a new stadium and a new NHL team are the talk of the town.

Maybe the CFL should simply move its head office to the Prairies. Because the heartbeat of three-down football is stronger than ever west of the Manitoba-Ontario border — not so strong in Southern Ontario.

“Six of eight (teams) are breaking even or making money,” Cohon said. “At the high end you have the Riders ... they announced a $6.6 million profit. We have to work on southern Ontario. It’s really Hamilton and Toronto.”

Cohon hopes the 100th Grey Cup game next year and continued promotion of the Argos will solidify the league’s hold in Toronto.

A rebuilt stadium could help Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young eliminate his losses, but the project will likely force Hamilton out of Ivor Wynne for all of 2013.

Ottawa, with its own new facility, is expected to join the league in 2014.

With all that on its plate, the CFL isn’t even thinking about expanding to 10 teams.

“It still is a dream,” Cohon said. “But we want to make sure all of our teams are financially strong.”


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