Ticats have plan for late stadium, but won't need it: Gibson

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have a contingency plan in case they can’t play their first home game in the new Tim Horton’s Field. But despite warnings that it’s “going to be tight,” the Ticats are so confident they won’t need the plan that they won’t even say what it is.
Local politicians and police get ready for a tour of the new Tim Horton's Field. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have a contingency plan in case they can’t play their first home game in the new Tim Horton’s Field stadium. But despite tight schedules, the team is so confidant it won’t need the plan that it won’t even reveal it.

Crews are about three weeks behind schedule on the new stadium, which they estimate will be “substantially completed” by the home opener on June 26.

The Ticats have a plan in case it is not, said president Glenn Gibson. But there’s no point in revealing it.

“What’s the point?” he said. “If you say it, it becomes a story, and it’s not going to happen. It’s ghosts and goblins at this point.”

Gibson made the comments during what was supposed to be a tour of the new $145-million Pan Am stadium. Police and council representatives, along with the local media, were invited on the tour.

But last-minute rain raised safety concerns, and the media portion was cancelled. A smaller group of police and council representatives continued on the tour.

Crews are ramping up their efforts, with trades such as painting and tiling working double shifts to finish the job, said Garreth Barkey, site supervisor with Kenaidan Contracting. The delay is largely attributed to harsh weather over the winter, including an ice storm around Christmas.

Barkey was confident crews would complete the job by the first home game. Coun. Lloyd Ferguson, who chairs the stadium committee and has a construction background, said it’s “going to be tight.”

“I don’t want to mislead the public that this is a slam dunk,” he said. “It’s not going to be easy.”

“It was a brutal winter. It’s been a wet spring. It’s very dependent on weather, but I’m satisfied these guys are giving it the best they can.”

If the 22,500-seat stadium is delayed, Ontario Sports Solutions, a consortium of builders working on the stadium, has to pay the Ticats $1 million for every home game missed.

John McKendrick, executive vice-president with Infrastructure Ontario, said his group isn’t even thinking about that right now.

“We’re focusing all of our energy on getting to the 26th.”

As many as 450 workers are on site on a given day, Barkey said.