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‘Now’s the time to do it’: Atlantic football fans want CFL in Halifax

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WATCH: After decades of discussion, a CFL team in Halifax could be closer to becoming a reality. Many think the time has come for pro football to finally kick off on the East Coast, including the man who won the honour of naming the franchise 36 years ago. Jeremy Keefe reports – Jul 16, 2018

With talk of a CFL team in Halifax seemingly heating up to new levels, football fans in the region — some of whom have been eagerly awaiting a franchise for decades — are saying it’s time to play ball.

READ MORE: City council set to discuss possible Halifax CFL team at next meeting, say councillors

Bob Russell of New Ross, N.S. says he would happily make the hour-long drive to the city to take in a CFL game in Halifax.

Afterall, he’s been more than willing to do so for 36 years.

In 1982, he won a team-naming contest when a pro-team in Halifax seemed imminent.

Although there were many choices submitted, one name was the overwhelming favourite.

“I put my name in for the Atlantic Schooners and Premier Buchanan drew my name out of 250 people,” he said.

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Russell felt the team should represent the entire east coast considering it would be the only one in the region.

Both words — Atlantic and Schooners — do just that, he says.

“It covers the entire east coast,” he said.

“I just look at the Atlantic Schooners and the schooner being the most recognizable for the east coast. It’s on our dime, it’s the symbol.”

READ MORE: Nova Scotia premier says the province will not use taxpayers dollars to build a CFL stadium in Halifax

Even without the team suiting up as planned nearly 35 years ago, Russell says many who’ve been calling for it to finally happen have kept their sense of humour.

“Technically, the Atlantic Schooners was established in 1984,” he explained. “So they say, you know, we’re still undefeated haha.”

“Disheartening” is the word Russell uses to describe the team not materializing several decades ago.

WATCH: Grey Cup weekend push for CFL franchise to come to Halifax

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Grey Cup weekend push for CFL franchise to come to Halifax – Nov 25, 2017

But despite the letdown, he’s keeping an all’s well that ends well attitude.

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“I think there’s a time and place and I think now’s the time to do it,” he said. “It’s getting a lot of support, a lot of interest and I’d hate to see it passed by again.”

Follow @Jeremy_Keefe

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