University ponders legacy after IAAF games
Moncton eyes new football team, more students after international games
The University of Moncton is looking to capitalize on its new international profile after hosting the IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships.
When the closing ceremonies concluded on Sunday night, the athletes and spectators filed out of the university's new $23-million stadium, part of the games' legacy in the city.
Yvon Fontaine, the president of the university, said the stadium now puts the university on the map for hosting national and international events.
"We can dream of becoming a centre of excellence to develop athletics for young people," Fontaine said.
"Not necessarily just the people who come at the Université de Moncton, but I think we'll see the Université de Moncton as a centre for excellence in athletics in Canada for the next five to 10 years."
Canada won two medals at the international track meet.
More than 1,400 athletes from 163 countries competed in 44 events during the weeklong event.
The 19-and-under competition was the largest sporting event ever held in Atlantic Canada.
Although built for the world junior track championships, the stadium also made it possible to attract a Canadian Football League game in September.
The CFL has agreed to host a regular season football game between the Toronto Argonauts and Edmonton Eskimos on Sept. 26. The 13,000 available tickets sold out in 32 hours.
There is active discussion in the city about the possibility of landing a permanent CFL franchise.
And according to Fontaine, that may not be the only football action the stadium will see.
Fontaine is striking a committee to study whether to form a university football team that would play in the Atlantic University Sports conference.
He said that committee begins work next month and will have a final report by the end of December.
Athletes aren't the only recruits that the university plans to target now that the IAAF games have wrapped up.
Denis Boucher, the director of student recruitment at the university, said the games have transformed the usually sleepy summertime campus.
Boucher said he's working to capitalize on that profile.
"We've started already, we've taken many photos, we have a TV ad that's coming out in September and part of the ad is shot in the stadium," Boucher said.
Boucher said many students are interested in sports, so featuring the stadium prominently in TV ads and brochures is bound to make recruitment easier.
The university is a francophone institution with roughly 6,200 students.