York stadium's missing Lynx

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 6:58 AM ET

Toronto Lynx co-owner Bruno Hartrell would like to thank York University for abandoning plans last week to build a 20,000-seat outdoor stadium.

"It helps us a lot. Period," Hartrell said.

At least Hartrell is hoping it will help his United Soccer League First Division team.

A York spokesman said yesterday the university's new master plan includes building a stadium that seats between 5,000 and 7,000. When that happens depends in part on the TTC extending its subway line to York, as the university hopes, which would force the school to tear down the current 3,000-seat stadium.

But a revised stadium is ideal for Hartrell, who might have had to play second fiddle to a Major League Soccer team operated by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. in the proposed bigger venue at York.

"As much as we're struggling, a new facility will help us a lot," said Hartrell, whose team plays at cramped Etobicoke Centennial Stadium. "We'll double our fan base to 6,000 a game. I'm positive.

"Up to two years ago we were talking with York (about a smaller stadium), but then the Argos came into the picture and we were on the back burner. Now, I guess we're on the front."

Hartrell said he has a European-based financial services company interested in sponsoring the stadium if the Lynx are the primary soccer tenant.

"There would be rights fees of $300,000 to $500,000 a year for 10 years," Hartrell said. "If we had the right situation, we (the Lynx) have a certain amount of our own money. If we're talking $1 million or $2 million, I think we've got that. But we have to be exclusive for pro soccer."


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