OTTAWA - The Ottawa 67's are expected to announce plans to play home games at Scotiabank Place for the next two seasons while Lansdowne Park undergoes a massive redevelopment.
City council was alerted Tuesday night that the 67ís are planning a news conference to explain the teamís plans for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 seasons.
The city and its development partner, Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, held a technical briefing earlier Tuesday to unveil updated designs of the Lansdowne project. Much was said about the stadium, but no information was released about the arena. The arena renovations have largely taken a back seat to the eye-popping design for the stadium. A new report on the complete project is expected to be published by the end of the week.
Randy Burgess, vice-president of the 67ís, sent a message to council via an OSEG consultant saying the teamís intent is to ďhelp expedite construction timetables at Lansdowne and eliminate the need to work around the 67ís schedule in the Civic Centre arena.Ē
Burgess tells council more details will be released Thursday at Scotiabank Place, home of the Senators.
The Civic Centre is smack dab in the middle of the redevelopment. Frank Clair Stadium is receiving a big facelift and the arena itself is slated for work, including repairs to the structure, roof and exterior.
Together, the stadium, arena and new underground parking garage is estimated to cost $129.3 million.
Past reports to council describe upgrades that would improve access to the arena via elevators and stairs. Planners want to provide more direct access to the facility through the main concourse. New plumbing fixtures and energy-efficient lighting have also been part of the arena-specific plans for the Lansdowne redevelopment.
The move could test the loyalty of 67ís fans. Part of the lure of the 67ís has been the convenient central location of the Civic Centre, coupled with the more intimate hockey setting smaller arenas are known for. The Civic Centre seats about 10,000, while Scotiabankís capacity is a bit more than 19,000.
Jeff Hunt, owner of the 67ís, is a partner in OSEG, which is also bringing the Canadian Football League back to Frank Clair Stadium. A North American Soccer League franchise is also coming.
Hunt could not be reached Tuesday night.
Senators president Cyril Leeder had no comment.