November 6, 2018 11:26 am
Updated: November 7, 2018 12:40 pm

CFL commissioner, group behind franchise bid set to make ‘special announcement’ in Halifax

New CFL balls are photographed at the Winnipeg Blue Bombers stadium in Winnipeg, Thursday, May 24, 2018.

The Canadian Press/John Woods
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The commissioner of the Canadian Football League (CFL) and the organization hoping to bring a franchise to Canada’s East Coast are set to make “a special announcement” in Halifax on Wednesday.

There are no details on what Randy Ambrosie and the Maritime Football Limited Partnership are planning to announce. However, staff members with the Halifax Regional Municipality revealed last week that they expect CFL to award a conditional franchise to Maritime Football within the next month.

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The announcement comes on the heels of a unanimous vote by Halifax Regional Council to direct staff to conduct a “thorough” business case analysis on a 24,000-seat proposed stadium by Maritime Football.

READ MORE: Halifax votes to advance negotiations on potential CFL stadium

A deal on a stadium, which Ambrosie has called a critical part of any expansion bid, is far from complete but the timing of the announcement would seem to indicate that Maritime Football and the CFL have some faith that a stadium is moving along as planned.

The report voted on by council last week indicated that Maritime Football — an organization composed of business executives and former owners of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes — has proposed Shannon Park, a 38-hectare swath of land on the east side of Halifax harbour formerly used by the Department of Defence for housing, as the preferred location for the multi-purpose stadium.

The group is in talks with Canada Lands Company to buy up to eight hectares of land for the stadium, a parking structure and “associated uses,” the staff report says.

A new CFL team would be the anchor tenant of the stadium, which comes with an estimated price tag of up to $190 million.

The meeting of regional council also revealed that Maritime Football has been talking to Saint Mary’s University and Dalhousie University about making the stadium a full-time ice surface in the winter as well as other partnership possibilities.

The announcement, set for Nov. 7 at Saint Mary’s University is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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