Halifax is on the list of locations being considered for the upcoming Touchdown Atlantic CFL game, however lack of an obvious venue remains a roadblock.
Last week it was announced that the Toronto Argonauts will face the Montreal Alouettes on Sunday, Aug. 25 at location in Atlantic Canada that has yet to be announced.
“There is no question that from a long-term business perspective, playing this game in Halifax would be optimal,” said Anthony LeBlanc with Atlantic Schooners Sports and Entertainment.
“The question is, where are you going to play it, which is of course the big elephant in the room when it comes to the long-term planning; the stadium.”
Huskies Stadium hosted a pre-season CFL game in 2005. The addition of temporary bleachers expanded capacity to over 11,000.
“The go-to of course would be Saint Mary’s [University] but there’s been some changes to that facility since it previously hosted Touchdown Atlantic and the question is, is that facility expandable to the level that we’re going to need,” LeBlanc told NEWS 95.7’s The Todd Veinotte Show
Three additional Touchdown Atlantic games have been played at Moncton Stadium and LeBlanc has made it clear, if Halifax scores a CFL franchise, it will be a regional team, so it wouldn’t hurt to drum up support in other Maritime markets.
LeBlanc said the opportunity to host the regular-season game came in the 11th hour and the timeline was too tight to finalize where it would be played.
An announcement on the host facility is expected in mid-to-late January.
“These events are pretty big deals in regards to things that you need,” he said. “Policing, first responders, you have to make sure the community that is going to host it is ready for it.”
“We just needed a little more time but we’ve certainly received enthusiastic expressions of interest.”
Also expected next month, more details on Atlantic Schooners Sports and Entertainment’s plan to build a stadium in Halifax, which is needed to bring their proposed franchise to the city.
“This has to be a community asset that is a lot more than CFL football, it’s a lot more than sports. It’s cultural events, it’s utilizing that facility for 300-plus days a year if you put in a sports dome, which our plans include, so you can use it in the winter months.”
He admits his organization needs to do a better job of communicating their plans with the public.
They’re planning to host a town hall meeting early next year to go over details, including the design of the building and an overview of the price-range for the facility.