Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bidding For Nationals/Hamilton Stadium Update

The U of R Cougars hosted a very successful CIS womens basketball championship a couple of years ago, and they want to try doing it again. Its not the only national championship that the University is bidding for.

The CIS has announced bid proposals to host national events from 2011-2015 today. It shows Regina wanting either the 2012 or 2013 CIS womens basketball championships, the 2013 and 2014 mens hockey championship, and womens volleyball in either 2014 or 2015.

The CIS Selection Committee will meet during the week of June 21-25 (exact dates TBD). A final decision on all championships up for bid will be announced in the days following the meeting.

“We want to ensure that student-athletes have unforgettable competitive experiences at CIS championships, said CIS Chief Executive Officer, Marg McGregor. “We are very pleased with the candidates who have bid to host championships. We are confident they will organize technically sound events, will create a memorable student-athlete experience and will attract spectators and generate excitement.”

By David Naylor-Globe and Mail

The proposed construction of a Hamilton stadium for the 2015 Pan American Games rests on the Tiger-Cats and the city reaching consensus on a location that works for both of them, according to Games CEO Ian Troop.

Short of that, Troop, who was in Hamilton yesterday to attend the city’s economic summit, warned there is no guarantee the stadium will be built in Hamilton.

“You look at the history of games, the bid books change and things go different places,” Troop said. “I think in this situation, destiny is in Hamilton’s hands and that’s why they are moving towards facilitation to get some closure.”

The city approved a plan back in February to build the stadium near its West Harbour, but two weeks ago the Tiger-Cats publicly insisted that location makes it impossible for the team to break even. The football club would prefer to see the stadium near one highway access points away from downtown, where it says it has a better chance of attracting private partners.

Last week, at the football club’s request, the city agreed to bring in an outside facilitator to resolve the dispute, an arrangement which should be in place by the end of this week.

While the city has suggested the project is more about community building than a new home for a professional football team, Troop said the Tiger-Cats need to be part of the final picture.

“You have to keep in mind that they only have [10] home dates so you need to have more than just the Ticats but I think to serve the needs of the community, [but] they need to be part of it and we’ve said that from the beginning,” Troop said. “They are strategic partners in this whole thing. That’s an issue the city and the Ticats have to come to grips with.”

Troop said the Pan Am Games is prepared to look at a sites beyond Hamilton if the partners can not reach a resolution.

“We’ve certainly had discussions around the lunch table about what plan B would be and what the criteria would be,” he said. “We haven’t engaged yet in doing so but we feel pretty comfortable that there would be other options that would meet the needs of the games.”

Troop endorsed a suggestion made during a Pan Am Games panel for the sides to reach a consensus by July 1, suggesting a later date could compromise the ability to complete the project on time and on budget.

Tiger-Cat owner Bob Young and president Scott Mitchell were among the few at the summit’s Pan Am Games panel who did not raise their arms in agreement to that suggestion, believing a full private partnership may take longer to develop.

The Pan Am Games Stadium is slated for 15,000 seats. The Tiger-Cats insist private interests have to be satisfied in order to raise enough money to add the additional 10,000 seats necessary to house a CFL team.

“If you build a 15,000 seat stadium without the private-public partnership necessary to turn it into the 25,000 successful popular accessible, well-known facility that it needs to be, then there will not be professional sports in Hamilton,” Young said. “We cannot continue to play in Ivor Wynne because it needs substantial additional renovations.”

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger said he remains committed to the West Harbour and bringing the Tiger-Cats on board.

“We expect in the next couple of days [to have a facilitator chosen] and up and running by the end of the week,” Eisenberger said. “For me there is no opportunity for failure. We need to do this work and we need to do it quickly.”

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