June 7, 2018 5:16 pm
Updated: June 19, 2018 5:12 pm

Group vying for Halifax CFL team meets with premier in Moncton during N.B. visit

CFL Randy Ambrosie tosses a football at a press conference in Toronto, on July 5, 2017. He has previously said that the “stars seemed to have aligned” for the Halifax expansion bid, and that a 10th team in Atlantic Canada would complete the league.

Frank Gunn / The Canadian Press
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The group vying to bring a CFL team to Halifax is also eyeing the possibility of playing some games in Moncton.

Maritime Football Inc. was in the city on Wednesday meeting with league commissioner Randy Ambrosie and local officials, including Premier Brian Gallant and Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold.

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But it’s still too early for Moncton football fans to begin a touchdown celebration, as the group is still looking at Halifax as its home base. Maritime Football founding partner Anthony LeBlanc says he anticipates making visits to other communities throughout the region.

“We have said all along that it will be critical that the team is an Atlantic regional team,” he said in a statement to Global News.

“We are talking with Moncton regarding how we can create such an environment, be it the concept of training camps, pre-season games, or perhaps even a concept of playing games in Moncton while a stadium is being constructed in Halifax.”

Maritime Football has been quietly working on a CFL expansion bid for months. The group has been in discussions with developers in Halifax about potential locations for a stadium and has met with provincial and municipal officials to discuss a funding model.

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LeBlanc says he was invited to New Brunswick this week by Premier Gallant.

Bruce McFarlane, a spokesperson for the premier’s office, says the visit included a tour of the new downtown civic centre and the stadium at Universite de Moncton.

Stade Moncton, which hosted regular-season CFL games dubbed “Touchdown Atlantic” in 2010, 2011 and 2013, has a capacity of 10,000 seats and can be expanded to more than 20,000.

The CFL also held a pre-season game in Halifax in 2006 at Saint Mary’s University’s Huskies Stadium.

Ambrosie has previously said that the “stars seemed to have aligned” for the Halifax expansion bid, and that a 10th team in Atlantic Canada would complete the league.

He also told reporters in February that the lack of stadium is a big hurdle for the league and the bid group.

— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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