timberland boots discount CFL commish speaks on possibility of Calgary hosting another Grey Cup
The state of McMahon Stadium doesn’t officially disqualify Calgary from hosting another Grey Cup, but it probably won’t help much, either.
On Tuesday, CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie spoke with Calgary Stampeders season ticket holders at the local stop on a cross country fan engagement tour.
Asked specifically whether the aging McMahon would prevent the city from hosting the CFL’s championship game, Ambrosie said the 57 year old stadium would not disqualify Calgary.
“I think, again, all the teams that are bidding on Grey Cups have to take into account what they have available to them and then make their bid based on those realities,” Ambrosie said. “The thing about Grey Cups is, obviously, the big game is the epicentre of the whole thing, but communities are building around that with great festival concepts.
“I think Calgary needs to have a new stadium. I would love to see that for so many reasons. This is one of Canada’s greatest cities, I would (encourage) everyone to get to the table and figure this out.”
Calgary has hosted the Grey Cup four times, most recently in 2009, but with new stadiums popping up in Winnipeg, Regina and Toronto in recent years while Ottawa’s TD Place stadium got major renovations it might be a while before the big game comes back.
McMahon Stadium is by no means dilapidated, but it lacks the modern amenities that most other CFL facilities now boast.
Another piece that might be missing from any Calgary Grey Cup bid is an indoor practice facility, something that has become almost essential to hosting the event.
In Toronto for the 2016 Grey Cup,
both the Stampeders and Ottawa RedBlacks practiced on an indoor field at an east end high school. It wasn’t perfect, but it was more than what Calgary could provide.
Last year in Ottawa, the Stamps and Argos prepared for their championship game with practices at a University of Ottawa indoor field.
It’s hard to imagine the CFL asking teams to prepare for the league’s showcase game in the sort of weather conditions that often hit Calgary in late November.
“I’m not sure (an indoor practice facility) is a requirement, but these are things that are all going into the bid packages,” Ambrosie said. “They’re part of that broader story of how do you make for a great Grey Cup experience not just for the fans but for the teams themselves.
“Anytime you’re going to put your name into a hat to bid for the Grey Cup, you’re going to put your best foot forward, you’re going to talk about all the things that you can do that will make for a successful Grey Cup experience on and off the field.
“If you don’t have those facilities, that hurts your bid.”
STILL IN THE PROCESSOne of Ambrosie’s more controversial proposals centered around moving the CFL season forward by a month to avoid bad weather games in the playoffs.
On the surface, it’s an easy to understand adjustment, but there has been some resistance from fans who argue that playing in winter weather is one of the traditions that make CFL playoffs so special.
After speaking with Stampeders season ticket holders at the Saddledome on Tuesday, though, Ambrosie said Calgary fans had been more receptive to moving the season than fans in other markets.
“Today, in this room here in Calgary, by an overwhelming majority they were in favour of it,” Ambrosie said. “It was a little less pronounced when we were in Montreal and Ottawa. I think this is good feedback that can help stimulate the conversation.”
NO CHANGES EXPECTEDThere had been rumours circulating around the league that the CFL might be considering changing its footballs over the next couple of months.
Ambrosie insisted he knew of no plans to make that happen.
“So far, I haven’t been told about that and my name is on the ball right now and I’ve been sleeping with it,” Ambrosie said. “I haven’t heard anything about that.”