The Canadian Football League is ready to return to Ottawa in 2014, league commissioner Mark Cohon announced Wednesday.
Cohon expressed his confidence in the CFL resuming play in the nation’s capital after Ottawa city council voted 21-3 in favour of going ahead with plans for an upgrade of Frank Clair Stadium. The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, which includes Jeff Hunt, owner of the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67s, has proposed a renewal plan that involves residential and retail development next to the stadium.
“Today's positive City of Ottawa council vote means a beautiful new stadium and as early as 2014, a proud new franchise that will make its community proud and our league even stronger," Cohon said in a released statement. “This is a great day for our league and, for all of us who understand its important place in the culture of Canada, a great day for our country."
Roger Greenberg of Ottawa Sports Group added: “Our dream of a CFL franchise, which has always been the heart of this plan, is becoming a reality and we are absolutely thrilled and humbled.”
Ottawa is likely to have a representative on the CFL board of governors in January, 2014 as well as participate in the Canadian draft. The league added that, as long as stadium construction remains on schedule, Ottawa “will be eligible to select four underclassmen from the NCAA, commonly known as redshirts, in the 2013 CFL Canadian Draft. The Ottawa Expansion Draft will be in December, 2013.”
Ottawa has been home to both the Rough Riders and Renegades before ownership woes forced both franchises to fold.