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Ticats running out of time to find stadium solution

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats and city politicians are close to finalizing a deal to refurbish Ivor Wynne Stadium in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games. Globe and Mail photo by Glenn Lowson

Glenn Lowson/Copyright: Glenn Lowson

There are problems for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (a 3-7 record, a five-game losing streak) and then there's this quandary: where will the Canadian Football League team be playing its home games in 2013?

With just four dates left before the old Ivor Wynne facility is reduced to rubble, the Ticats' quest for a temporary home field remains both pressing and unresolved. On Thursday, the CFL's board of governors will gather for its fall session and get an update on what's happening with the Ticats' relocation plans.

Originally, it was thought the team would play its home games at nearby McMaster University while a new stadium was built on the Ivor Wynne site. McMaster officials scuttled that possibility in early June over a variety of issues, including increased traffic and noise levels. Since then, there has been next to no communication between the university and Ticats.

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That led to a number of possibilities being kicked around. Having two teams play out of the Rogers Centre in Toronto was dismissed since it is hard enough for the Argonauts to get home dates during the major-league baseball season. Instead, it was suggested the Ticats play a designated home game in other CFL stadiums and in Moncton, too.

The most likely solution at this point in time is that the Ticats play their home games at the  University of Western Ontario in London. TD Waterhouse Stadium is home to the Western Mustangs with 8,000 seats and space to add more, and talks between the university and Hamilton team officials are "heating up," according to sources. The biggest drawback? Hamilton fans would have to drive two hours to London to watch their team play then another two hours to get home.

Ticats president Scott Mitchell declined comment Tuesday on anything to do with the team's 2013 plans except to say the matter was being dealt with.

"We are working extremely hard to find an institution interested in having us," he said. "I think we'll have a positive solution."

At Thursday's meeting, the CFL governors will also get updates on the 100th Grey Cup set for Toronto, the Grey Cup train and a report on how franchise plans are proceeding in Ottawa.

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Sports writer

Allan Maki is a national news reporter and sports writer based in Calgary. More


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