The excitement in Regina is building as the Canadian Football League (CFL) gets ready to announce which city will host the 2020 Grey Cup, with viewing parties taking place ahead of the big announcement.
“We have one of the Riders coming down- Dan Clark,” The Canadian Brewhouse general manager Blair Pipko said. “We’re going to have some specials and we’re going to have a party.”
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The Riders will have players at viewing parties at both Canadian Brewhouse locations in Regina and Saskatoon Thursday evening.
The host city choices have been narrowed down to Montreal, Hamilton or Regina.
“I think it’s either or with Regina or Hamilton,” Leader-Post sports columnist Rob Vanstone said. “There’s viewing parties in Hamilton and Regina. I wouldn’t be surprised if they awarded the Grey Cup to both centres and looked at 2020 and 2021 in some order- I’m not sure it’s going to be a banner day for Montreal.”
The last time the Queen City played host to the Grey Cup was in 2013 at Taylor Field; giving fans something to cheer about as the Riders won their fourth championship.
“It was just the unlikeliest thing ever to happen,” Vanstone said. “Based on the teams performance and what seemed to be the lack of feasibility of even having a Grey Cup at Taylor Field.”
But with a new stadium and more facilities, not to mention the most passionate fan base in the league, Vanstone said Regina is well positioned to once again host.
“Even if the Riders aren’t in it, you know its going to be a success. It’s not team driven, it’s love of the game driven, it’s event driven. It just makes all sorts of logical sense to have it here,” Vanstone explained.
While Hamilton hasn’t hosted the Grey Cup since 1996, it also has a new stadium, which Vanstone said could impact the CFL’s decision.
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“Hamilton’s been waiting even longer for a Grey Cup game in its new stadium and that might be one factor that moves Hamilton ahead by perhaps a year, but I’m not certain of that,” Vanstone said.
Still, many are hoping to see the green and white once again host, including the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District. It’s hoping to see a repeat of economic spin off, that generated more than $93 million dollars across the province.
“Our hotels will be full a lot of the food and beverage locals will be full, along with Grey Cup you get a lot of sponsors that come into town that will rent out restaurants for a private party. So those are added benefits you don’t really see as the general consumer,” executive director Judith Veresuk said.
“In 2013, there was that sense of renewal in the downtown because people were coming out and really discovering what the plaza could be as a host to major events.”
The Grey Cup host announcement will be made Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m.