Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc speaks at a news conference announcing the Uteck Bowl is coming to Moncton. ((CBC))

As Moncton prepares to host a Canadian Football League game this weekend, the New Brunswick city has announced another major football event will be coming for the next several years.

The University of Moncton confirmed on Wednesday the Uteck Bowl will be played at the university's new stadium in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

The national university football semifinal game has been played in Halifax almost uninterrupted for more than 30 years.

While football fans in Halifax are in shock at news the game is leaving Nova Scotia, fans in Moncton are rejoicing.

Jan Carinci, a former CFL player who lives in Moncton, said he is not surprised that the Uteck Bowl is moving to the southeastern New Brunswick city in 2011.

"I just think you've got a stadium there, let's face it, it's tired," Carinchi said.

'You know, we lose the odd thing to Moncton. But the Uteck Bowl is ours. So perhaps this is a call to action for the three levels of government to get together and do something.' — Sue Uteck

"You've got a brand new facility here. It's some nice, friendly competition between Halifax and Moncton and perhaps Moncton won this one."

The University of Moncton has a new $20-million stadium that was opened in the summer when Moncton hosted the IAAF world junior track championships.

The Moncton stadium can be expanded to hold 20,000 spectators. Huskies Stadium in Halifax has a permanent seating of 4,000 but can be expanded to between 9,000 and 11,000 when temporary seating is brought in for events.

Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly said on Tuesday he was blindsided by news his city could lose a major athletic event to Moncton.


The University of Moncton's stadium hosted the IAAF world junior track championships in July and will host the 2011 Uteck Bowl. ((CBC))

The Uteck Bowl is named after the late Larry Uteck, a football star, university coach and Halifax city councillor.

Saint Mary's University has hosted the tournament, held every two years, since 2003.

But Halifax's football hosting duties go back even further. Before the Uteck Bowl, the Atlantic Bowl was played in Halifax regularly over three decades.

"Sue Uteck, Larry's widow and now a prominent city councillor, said Husky Stadium at Saint Mary's University is falling into decline.

"You know, we lose the odd thing to Moncton. But the Uteck Bowl is ours," Uteck said on Tuesday.

"So perhaps this is a call to action for the three levels of government to get together and do something."

Needed boost

Joe Tippett, who has been following university sports for the last 45 years, said university football in New Brunswick needs a boost.

Tippett said he hopes this will encourage the University of Moncton to start its own football team, a concept the university's president has already started to explore.

"It's a very difficult decision for universities to get involved with football," he said.

"Maybe this will be the catalyst for the university to move forward with an athletic football team whether it's at the club level or at the university level."

Carinci also said landing the Uteck Bowl could also help ignite the growth of university football in the province.

"It's more exposure to the game in the market," Carinci said.

"We've got one football team right now at Mount [Allison University] and I think it's impetus to be honest with you for [the University of Moncton] to really seriously consider having a football program or starting a football program."

The university's stadium is getting its first exposure to football this weekend.

Workers are busy putting the final touches on the field as the city prepares for the Toronto Argonauts and the Edmonton Eskimos game on Sunday.