The Hamilton city council stuck to its guns Tuesday night, voting 12-3 to approve the downtown West Harbour site for a stadium for the 2015 Pan Am Games and, if they choose to accept it, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Early signs are that accepting it is not going to be happening:
- Even before the vote, Ticats owner Bob Young announced he was pulling out of stadium talks. Yesterday, Young told a Toronto sports radio station: “We think it’s a massive mistake and may end the Ticats in Hamilton. We can’t continue to lose millions of dollars a year.” He added that there’s no deal in place to move the team to Quebec City “that I’m aware of,” and said, “I’m looking forward to someone coming up with a solution for this because the way this thing is playing out is very scary for the future of Hamilton Tiger-Cat franchise.”
- “Hamilton Tiger-Cat legend Angelo ‘King Kong’ Mosca,” according to the Toronto Sun, is hopping mad, and called the mayor “full of shit.” (Unless “sh..” stands for something else in Canada. Full of shite?) Along the same lines, the Hamilton Spectator’s reporter posted on his newspaper’s blog the night of the vote: “There will be no official response from Ticats tonight on council vote. I’d publish the unofficial reaction but this blog is still affiliated with a family newspaper.”
- CFL commissioner Mark Cohon, unsurprisingly, has backed Young in the dispute, though rather than rattling the move threat saber as some U.S. commissioners are fond of doing, he seems to be angling for coming up with a new stadium plan that will make everybody happy: “We’re talking about a 141 years of history with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. This is not going to be resolved in one or two days. We need to step back and understand that there are a lot more things that have to take place in the coming weeks and months.”
- Mayor Fred Eisenberger seemed to leave the door open to coming up with a new plan, calling the vote “bittersweet,” and saying, “I don’t think it is a victory until we have a stadium where we can get the Tiger-Cats to play … as well. … We’ll do our best to encourage them to come back to the table and talk about how we can make it work.”
Add in that Hamilton might not even get to host part of the Pan Am Games even with a West Harbour stadium, and it sounds increasingly like everyone’s going to retreat to their corners and figure out how to start discussions from scratch a couple of months down the road. Not that that’s going to stop the scare headlines in the meantime.