Manitoba

Weather a wild card in Winnipeg stadium construction

Winnipeg's new football stadium has a name but whether it will be ready for kickoff next year depends on the winter weather.

Investors Group Field currently slated to open in summer 2012

Ossama AbouZeid, left, interim CEO of the Winnipeg Football Club, unveils the signage of the new Investors Group Field with Murray Taylor, president and CEO of Investors Group, on Wednesday. (John Woods/Canadian Press)

Winnipeg's new football stadium has a name but whether it will be ready for kickoff next year depends on the winter weather.

Ossama AbouZeid, interim chief executive officer of the Winnipeg Football Club, says he will know in a couple of months if construction of Investors Group Field will be finished in time for the 2012 CFL season.

"I think realistically sometime in February, we have to say, 'How severe was the winter? What's the prognosis for the spring?' Then we can make a realistic assessment," AbouZeid told reporters on Wednesday, after the stadium's name was unveiled.

"If I'm not ready, I have to make a Plan B. It is not [enough] just to stand in front of you and tell you, 'Oops, I am behind.'"

The $190-million facility, located on the University of Manitoba campus in south Winnipeg, is scheduled to be open in time for Blue Bombers' season opener next summer.

An artist's drawing of the new stadium, which features angled canopies that will provide partial covering of the seats and field. (blueandgold.ca)

The stadium will seat upwards of 33,500, with the ability to expand to 40,000 for major events. Once built, it will have canopies that will provide partial covering.

AbouZeid said the construction timeline will depend not just on weather conditions, but when construction crews can get under cover.

"Very soon, once the stadium [is] closed and once they put the roof sometime in January … everything will be under my control," he said.

If the new stadium is not ready in time for the season opener, the Bombers will be forced to play at the old Canad Inns stadium until construction is finished.