The Toronto Lynx wanted to move to Hamilton, but the timing wasn’t right, and now it’s game over on that plan.
The soccer club and the city were discussing the club playing in the new Pan Am stadium known as Tim Hortons Field. It would have meant the team would move from amateur to professional and join the USL Pro league, and be affiliated with Toronto FC.
But the Lynx had competition from the Ticats organization, which has been negotiating with the city for a pro soccer partnership. The city and Ticats organization are looking for the highest possible level of soccer to be played at the stadium and the USL Pro League is at least a third tier league. City staff recommended against a deal with the Lynx.
The team dropped the idea earlier this month, said Duncan Wilde, director with Toronto Lynx. The time lines were too tight, and there were too many unknowns, particularly whether the stadium would be available and whether the Ticats would get into the soccer game.
“We were very interested,” Wilde said. “We’re very disappointed, to be honest. It’s something we worked really hard on for the last 12 months or so.”
The possibility of another professional soccer team made Hamilton an unsafe bet, Wilde said. But work had started.
“We’d done player networking and pre-planning,” he said. “The Hamilton soccer community was proving to be very, very supportive. Whoever does run pro soccer in Hamilton is sure to be a vibrant success.”
Coralee Seycore, the city’s recreation manager, said the city has been negotiating with the Ticats for soccer rights at the stadium. She expects a resolution early next year.
“We’re getting close,” she said.
In any event, the stadium won’t even be ready for pro soccer until 2016, Seycore said.