CFL commissioner backs Ticats in stadium dispute
CFL commissioner Mark Cohon has Bob Young's back.
Cohon threw his support behind the Ticats owner on Wednesday, one day after Hamilton city council voted to build a new downtown stadium for the 2015 Pan Am Games at a site the club opposed.
"I look at this as the commissioner of the CFL, and having known Bob Young for years, what Bob is trying to achieve is a long-term vision for the Tiger-Cats," Cohon told CBC Sports.
"He adopted a franchise that was essentially bankrupt. He's been the caretaker of that franchise and invested millions of his own dollars to help that franchise. The light at the end of the tunnel is a new stadium that will help him and help the fans for future generations."
The Ticats' future has been the hot topic of discussion since Monday, when Young, who bought the team in 2003, withdrew his team's support for a new stadium in the city. The plan for the new stadium would have seen the facility play host to some of the 2015 Pan Am Games before becoming home to the CFL club.
Young's refusal to support the downtown facility potentially leaves the Ticats without a home after next season, when their current lease at Ivor Wynne Stadium expires.
Young had promised $15 million toward the new facility, with an additional $59 million in other funds if the CFL club managed the stadium and if it was built in the East Mountain area of the city.
Despite the city council vote, there are still hurdles to overcome before ground is broken, and Cohon thinks the city should consider the Ticats before making a final decision on the location of the stadium.
"The fact of the matter is this is also about a legacy program," Cohon said. "It's about having a legacy tenant. It's not about building a 15,000-seat stadium with no anchor tenant that is only going to be used for two weeks during the Pan Am Games.
"We're talking about a 141 years of history with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. This is not going to be resolved in one or two days. We need to step back and understand that there are a lot more things that have to take place in the coming weeks and months."
Cohon also played down speculation that the Ticats could relocate if a new stadium deal is in place that suits the CFL's club needs.
"I'm not going to speculate as to whether we're going to move the franchise," Cohon stated. "We all want to find a way to resolve this so that there is a stadium that works for the Tiger-Cats, the city and the Pan Am Games."