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Touchdown Atlantic game reignites expansion talk for CFL

By Joe Thomson Jun 15, 2023 | 4:24 PM

Photo courtesy freeimages.com/Jaymarr

We’re a little over a month away from this year’s Touchdown Atlantic game and tickets have already sold out.

On July 29th, the defending Gay Cup champion Toronto Argonauts will square off against the Saskatchewan Rough Riders at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova scotia. In response to overwhelming demand, organizers have added 1000 more tickets to the party zone, located in the South endzone of Huskies Stadium.

All the buzz has people talking about Atlantic getting their own team. CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie says it’s something he’s still pushing for.

“We are hopeful and optimistic that one day the Canadian Football League will have its 10th team in Atlantic Canada,” said Ambrosie.

He added that the interest in the Touchdown Atlantic game, which has sold out for the second straight year, is a positive sign for things to come.

One of the roadblocks standing in the way of getting a team out here is the reluctance of government to fund a stadium. This year’s Touchdown Atlantic game is the first regular season game the league will ever play in Halifax, which is the proposed landing spot for an expansion team.

Previously, Halifax city council pledged $20 million in funding to building a stadium, but that was before the pandemic. Now it is unlikely that a professional quality stadium will get built in Halifax anytime soon.

Ambrosie says the CFL is looking into other ways of getting a team to the bluenose province.

“What we’ve tried to do is make adjustments to the to the idea of what it would take from a facilities point of view as a way to get started and then, perhaps down the road and in times when the team has had lots of years of success, that they think about doing something differently,” said Ambrosie.

The league has batted around a couple of venues that could serve as a temporary stadium for a future team. Including Huskies Stadium, where this year’s game is being played, and the Wanderers grounds which has seen success as a temporary playing field for the Halifax Wanderers soccer team.

“Either of those two spots could be ideal and ultimately get us get a Canadian football team started in the Maritimes. So, they’re both candidates and definitely on the right track,” said Ambrosie.

For now, East Coast football fans will have July’s game to look forward to, which is shaping up to be quite the event.

“it’s going to be the greatest place to be in that moment, In Canada. It’s going to be that much fun,” said Ambrosie.


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