The Canadian Football League is bringing a long-awaited regular season game to Moncton, N.B., in 2010, according to a local MLA.
Moncton East Liberal MLA Chris Collins said in an interview on Wednesday that the contract to host the game at the University of Moncton's new track stadium was signed between the league and the city last week.
Collins has been pushing for the game for several years and he said both the city and the province are emerging as winners by luring the CFL to Moncton.
"The city certainly wins and the province wins because it establishes Moncton as no doubt the entertainment capital of Atlantic Canada. We have hit that," Collins said on Wednesday.
"This is kind of an award to us for all of the previous work that has been done to establish the city as that."
No details have been announced about the date for the game or which of the league's eight teams will be playing in Moncton.
Although news of the football game was only announced on Wednesday, those involved with the upcoming event are already getting ready.
Gordon Horsman is consulting on the grass that will be grown at the university's stadium. Even though this will be Moncton's first CFL game, Horsman said the players will not know the difference.
"They'll all like it. It will be right up there with the big leagues. Absolutely," he said.
Earlier in September, Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc said the city was negotiating a five-year contract to bring annual regular-season CFL games to the southeastern New Brunswick city.
The idea of Moncton hosting an annual football game started gaining momentum last November when Mark Cohon, the commissioner of the CFL, raised the idea during his annual state-of-the-league address in Montreal.
Cohon said in that speech that the main obstacle to Maritime expansion is the lack of a stadium with a minimum seating capacity of 20,000.
However, Cohon said the CFL will look into staging 2010 regular-season games in Moncton at the university's new stadium that could see its seating expanded up to 20,000.