By Doug Hallett
Any talk about the possibility of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats coming to the U of G’s Alumni Stadium in 2013 is little more than rumours at this point, says University of Guelph athletics director Tom Kendall.
“There have been no discussions between the Tiger-Cats and us on this issue,” Kendall said Tuesday.
“At this point, they have not approached us and we have not approached them,” he said in a phone interview from Ottawa, where he’s been attending a conference.
However, “we are pretty much open to any proposal,” Kendall said.
A few days ago, the Hamilton Spectator reported that McMaster University has told the Tiger-Cats they can’t play any of their 2013 season at McMaster’s football stadium while Ivor Wynne Stadium, the Ti-Cats’ longtime home, is being rebuilt.
While it wouldn’t be easy to make Alumni Stadium capable of handling professional Canadian Football League games, there could be advantages to bringing the Tiger-Cats here, Kendall said.
“It would bring people to the community, for sure. It would increase the profile of the university and the athletics program,” and it’s “an opportunity for a big-time event” in Guelph, he said.
“So there are a lot of pluses, for sure,” he said.
“Obviously we would look at it from a financial standpoint too. I’m not sure what the numbers would be, and that’s obviously something we would have to get into.”
The university is currently installing artificial turf and a track in Alumni Stadium, work that Kendall said will be completed in time for U of G Homecoming and the Gryphons football team’s season this fall.
If the Tiger-Cats were to play games at Alumni Stadium in 2013, there would need to be “significant upgrades” in such areas as concessions and change rooms, Kendall said. Extra seating for fans is something that could be handled on a temporary basis through portable bleachers, he said. Parking “would be less of an issue” because U of G has a big campus and most CFL games are played on weekends.
“It would be difficult, but it’s not out of the question,” he said when asked if Alumni Stadium is up to scratch in terms of being a feasible site for Ti-Cat games.
It’s also possible that the Ti-Cats might end up being interested in Alumni Stadium as a practice facility, with games played elsewhere, he noted.