The roar of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats might be heard right here in Guelph during the 2013 Canadian Football League season.
The Tiger-Cats could be playing their 2013 home games at the University of Guelph’s recently renovated Alumni Stadium, it was announced Tuesday.
The team and the school have signed a memorandum of understanding that may see the team play here. The Tiger-Cats’ regular home, Ivor Wynne Stadium, is scheduled for demolition this month and a new facility will open in Hamilton in 2014.
“We are delighted that Guelph was chosen,” said U of G president Alastair Summerlee, in a news release.
“It reflects the quality of the upgrades that we’ve made to Alumni Stadium and speaks to the reputation of the university and the City of Guelph. It will also help raise our profile, support the continuing expansion of our athletic facilities and bring business to Guelph.”
The tentative agreement identifies a number of logistical issues that need to be addressed prior to a final decision, said Brenda Whiteside, associate vice-president (student affairs), who oversees the Department of Athletics. She added that discussions will take place over the next few weeks.
Tiger-Cats games will be scheduled around U of G athletics and other events, Whiteside said, in the release.
Alumni Stadium has more than 4,000 permanent seats and a capacity of close to 10,000 for Homecoming games. The Tiger-Cats and the university will work together to maximize the capacity of the facility while respecting the constraints of the site, Whiteside said. This includes making temporary premium hosting areas available around the field and erecting temporary spectator stands on the stadium’s east side for Tiger-Cats games.
Mayor Karen Farbridge said: “I am excited that the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have chosen Guelph as its home for the team’s 2013 season. We are happy to host them and welcome all the fans to our beautiful City.”
Said Lloyd Longfield, president of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce: “This is wonderful news for the City of Guelph. The spin-off benefits for business and tourism will be enormous.”
Scott Mitchell, Tiger-Cats president, said: “With the University of Guelph’s Alumni Stadium located just 17 minutes from the City of Hamilton’s northern border, combined with its gorgeous setting, we think our fans will love this solution. It’s also a perfect fit for our very successful regional marketing campaign and we look forward to working with the University to make this happen.”
The upgrades to Alumni Stadium included installation of new artificial turf, an eight-lane International Athletic Federation-certified track, new lighting and a state-of-the-art video scoreboard.
Tom Kendall, the U of G’s director of athletics, says sports and recreation facilities and programs help attract and retain students.
“We recognize the importance of a healthy lifestyle for student success. These changes will allow us to continue to be leaders in student support,” he said.
Proceeds from the agreement will support the Gryphon athletics fundraising campaign. As part of U of G’s BetterPlanet Project, the Gryphon campaign is expected to help fund a new fitness and recreation complex.