With less than two days left until kickoff, Hamilton city officials say they expect Tim Hortons Field will be ready for the annual Labour Day Classic between the Tiger-Cats and the Toronto Argonauts.
"Contractors have advised us that they will be completing all the key construction pieces over the next two days, and getting final sign-off this weekend,” said Gerry Davis, the city’s manager of public works, in a written statement sent to Tiger-Cats management.
“These assurances give us confidence that the Labour Day game will proceed."
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Team officials say they’re heartened that the city is confident the game will be played in Hamilton.
"It's great to hear assurances from the contractors and confidence from the City of Hamilton that the Labour Day Classic will proceed as scheduled at Tim Hortons Field," Ticats owner Bob Young said in a statement sent out by the team.
In order for Monday’s CFL contest to go ahead, public safety inspectors will have to issue an occupancy permit for the stadium. That won’t happen until at least Sunday afternoon, the city has said.
Even if the city grants an occupancy permit, Tim Hortons Field, which will eventually have permanent seating for 24,000 spectators, won’t be running at full capacity. Sections of the stands that will house around 6,000 seats will still be off-limits, the team says, and a number of VIP and entertainment areas won’t be ready either.
Backup plans are in place if $145-million stadium isn't ready for the 1 p.m. kickoff. The Ticats have said the game could be postponed until 7 p.m. or held instead at Toronto's Rogers Centre, the home field for the Argonauts as well as baseball's Toronto Blue Jays.
The city’s statement comes only hours after police said that a fire in one of the venue’s mechanical rooms won’t affect whether the stadium will be ready for Monday’s games.
The Ontario Fire Marshal was at the scene investigating the cause of the Saturday morning fire — which was isolated to a room on the third floor of the stadium’s west stands — while dozens of workers prepared the complex for Monday’s showdown.
Tim Hortons Field was originally slated to open on June 30, before the Ticats’ first home game of the 2014 season. But a bitterly cold winter and problems with building subcontractors led to unexpected delays, forcing the team to play three games at McMaster Univesity’s Ron Joyce Stadium.