Special Report: Pan Am

CFL Commissioner: East Mountain or Else

CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon endorses the East Mountain stadium location, offers 'the prospect' of multiple Grey Cups, and threatens 'the end of the CFL in Hamilton' if Council insists on a West Harbour location.

By RTH Staff
Published July 30, 2010

In a letter sent today to City Council and Pan Am Hostco, CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon endorses the proposed East Mountain stadium location and threatens that Hamilton will lose the Tiger-Cats if Council insists on putting the Pan Am stadium in the West Harbour.

Cohon writes that Bob Young, the Ticats owner, has "invested heavily in the future of the franchise", and offers "the prospect of hosting the national jewel that is the Grey Cup multiple times in the years ahead, if and when a suitable stadium in the right location is available."

He notes that the economic value of hosting a Grey Cup was $80.1 million in 2007, of which host city Toronto enjoyed $52.9 million, and could increase to $100 million in 2012. He adds that the CFL Board "now insists on at least 45,000 seats at the Grey Cup venue" and that the West Harbour location could not accommodate this many seats. He also writes that "ease of access is vitally important" to the CFL, and that "access to the West Harbour is terribly limited" for fans, media, staff, and volunteers.

In contrast, "early indications are the East Mountain location, with its proximity to major roadways, and relatively open surroundings, appears to be a prime location for Grey Cups."

Cohon also threatens that the selection of the West Harbour "will be the end of the CFL in Hamilton" as the CFL Board would not be willing to grant the city another franchise "should this issue force the Tiger-Cats to leave the city". Cohon insists, "our Board of Governors' support for Mr. Young is unequivocal."

Finally, Cohon argues that the city can have both a successful venue and economic development by choosing the East Mountain location and gaining the economic benefits of "multiple Grey Cups". He adds, "By choosing the East Mountain site, you will acknowledge that great cities are defined not only by infrastructure that works, but by symbols that matter, including sports teams with tradition and stature, and big events that stand out, like our beloved Grey Cup."

Here follows the full text of the letter:

July 30, 2010
Mayor Eisenberger, City of Hamilton
Members of Council
Pan Am Host Corporation
Michael Fenn, Facilitator

Dear Mayor, Members of Council, Members of Pan Am Host Corporation and Mr. Fenn:

First of all, on behalf of the Canadian Football League's Board of Governors, our teams and most importantly our fans, thank you for your attention to this important issue. While your roles vary, you all share a commitment to the importance of public service, and that commitment deserves to be acknowledged and appreciated, for it often represents a great deal of hard work and personal sacrifice.

I am writing in support of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and their endorsement of the East Mountain location for a new Pan Am Games stadium in the city of Hamilton. Rather than repeat the points Bob Young and his team have made throughout the process, I will simply state here that the success, and even survival, of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats is at stake, and we do not want to envision for even a moment a CFL without one of our oldest and proudest teams.

Mr. Young has invested heavily in the future of the franchise, and his goal in this matter is simple, straight forward, and heartfelt: he wants the Tiger-Cats to succeed, for the long term and in the best interests of the city of Hamilton and the people who proudly call it home, and he is steadfast in his belief the team can only achieve financial viability playing in a proper venue in a viable location, and the East Mountain site is one such location, while the West Harbour is not.

For my part as Commissioner of our league, I want to focus here on a significant opportunity for the city of Hamilton beyond the Pan Am Games: the prospect of hosting the national jewel that is the Grey Cup multiple times in the years ahead, if and when a suitable stadium in the right location is available.

The Grey Cup game, of course, is our national championship. But the event, and the week-long festival that surrounds it, has become much more. It's a true Canadian icon, a symbol of Canadians' desire and ability to come together, no matter what part of the country, or what part of the world, we hail from. And because of that, it is now a significant cultural event, a major tourism opportunity, a chance to project a positive image to millions of people, and a powerful source of economic stimulus for the host city.

It brings tens of thousands of visitors to town. It fills bars and restaurants and hotels and streets and, frankly, coffers. It shines a positive light on its host. If it were a convention, cities would fight over it tooth and nail. But it's much more.

Consider the following:

  • An economic impact study of the 2007 Grey Cup in Toronto, done for the city of Toronto by the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance, concluded that event generated more than $80.1 million in total economic activity throughout the province, with $52.9 million occurring in Toronto .

  • That number does not take into account the value of national exposure for the host city, as hundreds of national media attend the Grey Cup, and millions of Canadians watch it on television. (The 2009 game was the most watched television event in Canada last year, with 14 million viewers, or 43 per cent of the Canadian population)

  • It is estimated that, as the Grey Cup continues to grow through 2012, our one hundredth Grey Cup, its economic value will reach the $100 million mark.

The Canadian Football League very much wants to bring the Grey Cup back to Hamilton. The Grey Cup belongs in Hamilton, the source of so much lore, history and pride for all of us who love our game and what it has come to mean to our country. But for too long, we have not been able to bring the Grey Cup to Hamilton because of the lack of a suitable stadium to host what has become a huge event. And it would be virtually impossible to host a Grey Cup to the current CFL standard at the proposed West Harbour stadium location.

Our Board now insists on at least 45,000 seats at the Grey Cup venue, and the West Harbour location, bordered by water and an embankment, is extremely problematic when it comes to accommodating approximately 20.000 good, albeit temporary, seats. Ease of access is vitally important to us, not just for thousands of fans, and the influx of media, staff and volunteers, but also for security and safety reasons, and we are concerned that access to the West Harbour location is terribly limited. The event extends well beyond the game field itself and the area surrounding the stadium needs to accommodate concession, concerts, sponsor activations and several trailers, television trucks and other large vehicles, but the West Harbour location would be extremely restrictive in this regard.

To put it in a nutshell: If the Tiger-Cats' experts know the West Harbour would not work for a regular season game accommodating 25,000 fans and the normal amount of supporting activities for four or five hours, how could it possibly accommodate 45.000 or 50,000 fans and an extraordinary amount of supporting activities and infrastructure over a time period spanning an entire day and evening?

On the other hand, early indications are the East Mountain location, with its proximity to major roadways, and relatively open surroundings, appears to be a prime location for Grey Cups.

There is a related point that I want to stress: I understand that there are those who assume that, if the Tiger-Cats under Bob Young's ownership were to leave the city of Hamilton for any reason, our league would be certain to grant the city another franchise by way of expansion. I do not support that type of thinking nor would our Board. In fact, I am deeply concerned that, should this issue force the Tiger-Cats to leave the city, it will be the end of the CFL in Hamilton. So our emphasis is on a resolution of this issue that works for the Tiger-Cats under Bob Young. He has been a tremendous owner and valued league governor. He has invested heavily in the team and, I might add, the city. And our Board of Governors' support for Mr. Young is unequivocal.

It has been suggested that the decision facing Council is about more than football; that this is also about the city's economic development. I couldn't agree more. But you don't have to choose one or the other. By choosing what is best for the future of the Tiger-Cats, you will also be seizing a major economic opportunity in the form of multiple Grey Cups, while reserving the West Harbour for other opportunities, be they commercial or residential ones that are more suited to that particular site. By choosing the East Mountain site, you will acknowledge that great cities are defined not only by infrastructure that works, but by symbols that matter, including sports teams with tradition and stature, and big events that stand out, like our beloved Grey Cup.

We in the CFL believe in building stronger communities. That's why our teams and players make thousands of public appearances in support of social, charitable and civic causes. That's why our owners, including Bob Young and another Hamilton native, David Braley, have well earned reputations as city builders. We very much want to see Hamilton grow and prosper. And we want the Grey Cup to help fuel that success, to celebrate that success, and to communicate that success to other Canadians.

All we need is a proper stadium in the right location, a viable location, and a rare opportunity to build such a venue is before you: we urge you to grasp it.

Sincerely,
Mark Cohon
Commissioner

110 Comments

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 20:39:21

HOW DARE YOU THREATEN US SIR! Who in HELL do you think you are to dictate terms at the people your team owner is holding hostage for $50 million dollars of our own money??? At this point they can stuff there Grey Cup right up Cohon's ass for all I care about sucking up to a team and a league that thinks they can bully their way into our pocketbooks and call the shots. I'm done trying to play nice with people who would abuse the public the way Young, Mitchell and now Cohon have tried to do. Take your CFL team and shove it.

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By race_to_the_bottom (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 20:55:03

That just blows. My. Mind. What an epic pile of suck. Bob's Bullies are going to break the back of this fine city. Shame, shame, shame on the lot of them.

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By DavidColacci (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 21:29:27

Shocked. All I can say.

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By Ancopa (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 21:44:43

(explicit language follows)

I cannot believe the arrogance. This is OUR money, OUR city. Bob Young, fuck you. Mark Cohon, fuck you too. You're not welcome here.

(I apologize for the preceeding language, however my tolerance for bullshit has been exceeded)

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By simonge (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 21:57:34

Maybe the Ticats could move to Phoenix. Eight teams in the league and he is threatening to pull out of Hamilton? See ya.

Comment edited by simonge on 2010-07-30 20:57:51

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted July 30, 2010 at 22:05:46

Wow, just when I thought this couldn't get any sillier. White Star's skydome proposal looks positively down-to-earth and reasonable compared to their demands of a 45,000 seat stadium for what is essentially a minor league that plays 10 home games a year.

Just call it off and let the Cats leave. After this much chest-pounding they won't stay unless they get what they want, and that kind of bullying deserves no respect. Their pride won't allow anything else.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2010-07-30 21:07:30

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By synxer (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 22:13:29

So why do we get special treatment? Toronto can have their stadium location downtown, with limited parking, but we can't? Apparently, we're even more special than Vancouver.

Comment edited by synxer on 2010-07-30 21:15:17

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By Robbie K (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 22:16:37

Perfect, let the CFL pay for the stadium them. Douchers.

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By arienc (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 22:18:59

I hereby renounce 30 years of support for the Hamilton Tiger Cats, and the Canadian Football League.

Hamilton will be better off without this extortion racket of a league which is holding its downtown redevelopment for ransom.

Build the ampitheatre, clean up the brownfields and let the Ticats build their own stadium on the East Mountain site. And just to show the Cats what they're dealing with, i would wholly support an immediate end to all operating subsidies the City makes on behalf of this team.

I'm done with the team and the league. Instead of taking my kids to Cats games when they're older, we'll go watch the Bills. And cheer for the demise of the team that meant so much in the days of Tom Clements and Rocky DiPietro.

Comment edited by arienc on 2010-07-30 21:19:55

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By rayfullerton (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 22:20:15

CFL revival in Montreal, where is the stadium? DOWNTOWN!!

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By Robbie K (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 22:24:58

commish@cfl.ca , let this dork stick know how you feel. Not that it matters much, but boy is it fun to sound off on this moron.

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By wow (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 22:27:55

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By Zorro (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 22:28:51

Can you believe the nerve of this guy? If it is such a good idea then let them fund it.These "Corporate Welfare Bums" want the profits without the investment and risk. The City should never be using "Taxpayers" money for anything other than providing necessary services, which is the mandate for their existence, and not for buying themselves "Brownie Points with itinerant "Snake Oil Salesmen".

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 22:30:51

I personally don't respond well to threats. I would say, "To hell with the Tiger Cats."

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By woody10 (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 22:33:05

An arrogant ass. The sports boys who can't make any money (and won't at either site) are telling us how to spend ours, hmmm. Not too logical is it. If they were money makers they could make it work anywhere. I remember a bunch of the fans at the last Grey Cup here, they thought Ivor Wynne was too far away from downtown, I don't think the East Mountain is closer. Oh I forgot about all the new hotels/motels all over the east mountain, stupid me. Oh wait, lets talk about all the people who don't like the Red Hill, how many of them voted for the East Mountain?? I can't stand the stupidity any more. Scrap it all, let them play at Ivor Wynne, I'm now not a Bob Young/Scott Mitchell fan anymore, arrogant asses. I bet David Braley would tell Bob where to go if he wasn't in such a strange position now.

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By lukev (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 22:34:07

Dear CFL

Since the East Mountain stadium is such a great investment, feel free to build it. WITH YOUR OWN MONEY.

Sincerely,

Hamilton

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By jason (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 22:37:05

I'm with Arienc. This will be the first Labour Day in years that I get the entire day to myself.

Maybe someday if Montreal can get a 6,000 space parking lot in the suburbs they'll be successful at drawing crowds.

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By Screwed (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 22:39:22

So These guys that run a second rate league have the arrogance to threaten us. ,!! It is OUR future fund not the Ticats, not the nAsl and not the CFL's. Screw the cats. How dare they. If this ends up going to EM then I'm moving.

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By theLastStraw (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 22:43:26

No matter on which side of the debate our councillors fall they need to come together and immediately issue a unified statement that clearly demonstrates the city"s outrage at the public threats and extortion being levelled at us by the CFL and Bob Young.



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By Robbie K (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 22:48:25

Mr Wow, are you serious? "because he care about the city as well, has offered his own money". No, he offered the cities money.

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By goin'downtown (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 22:59:14

Holee crap. Is anyone else's head spinning? For once I actually feel sorry for the councillors trying to keep up and make sense of all that's gone on in the past month. Not the shwarmy councillors, who aren't confused by any of this because they're usually part of the backroom deals, anyways - the other ones, working on behalf of us and their city. I naively thought that Bob Young was not being a shrewd business bully knob, but was maybe being pulled into certain directions, but how gullible was that.

So it's all about hosting Grey Cups? Why didn't anyone just come out and say that! That's really awesome; nice to see some financial stats, compliments of someone outside Hamilton (although it would be nice to see our own Ec Dev and Finance people supply some type of forecast). It sounds exciting, and financially rewarding for Hamilton, so count me in. But the EM is still the wrong location. Period. For the same reasons that have existed since the EM was introduced as a prospective location.

Wow, Mercanti's hotel is going to make a killing. And all the bars that Cohen mentions, that are going to be full at Grey Cup time...aren't built yet. So, that solidifies another RTH writer's prognostication about building another downtown Hamilton...on the EM. For the "prospect" of holding a Grey Cup?

I don't buy Cohen's critique of the WH area's suitability (Ticats' experts?); we still haven't seen ONE CITY OF HAMILTON staff member provide input on this. Why? In my experience...staff are supplying the data and information, but the Council motions and votes et al move around that data and it gets shushed. In fact, after reading Cohen's letter a few times, I'm pretty convinced that it's just his name at the bottom; my spidey sense tells me that he did not write that letter.

Are the current WH investors going to swing their funds towards the EM stadium, now, or stay the WH course? Why does this all feel like it was planned out months and months ago?

Does the WH count for anything against the excitement of the Grey Cup? "Pan Am Games? When were they?"

I can only be optimistic that the best scenario will roll out for both the WH and EM - in other words, for "Hamilton." Maybe we need two, uniquely successful entertainment districts within one city. The jocks and artists/music heads never got along in high school; maybe it's best if they have their own areas to play.

Okay, I don't really want it that way, but I'm just trying to find the silver linings here. Maybe the LRT will be implemented not just east/west, but north/south. Jeez, with that type of distance in-between districts, we could organize a bloody party bus!

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By Robbie K (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 23:18:32

I found this interesting :

http://www.thespec.com/Opinions/article/816896


I just finished sending my comments to the Editor. In it I had this to say :

Other arguments presented by EM supporters seem to be contradictory at
times. In a recent letter to your editor, the "Cats Claws Fan Club"
(excuse me while I cringe a little) the East Mountain site "will make
accessibility more user-friendly than at the restricted confines of
west harbour." however later in the same letter "Football fans from
Brantford, London, Kitchener, St. Catharines, Guelph, Niagara,
Toronto, Buffalo, would come to see the games, but also to dine, shop
and stay -- all positive economic spinoffs." . Wait, so your chief
argument is the "Driveway to Driveway" experiance that those great
freeways give you which if I interpret it correct is basically saying
"get in and out as fast as possible", yet you plan on people sticking
around after to do what, stare at a big parking lot? They won't be
hungry because as you already mentioned in the article "It will also
provide room for the "tailgating" that has become a custom for so many
CFL fans, and is a large part of the game-day experience that many
enjoy."

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 23:19:39

Wow, to think how much time I've wasted out of my life defending the Ti-Cats/CFL. I have remained a lifelong Ti-Cat fan through years of living and working in England and the US and was happy to come back to Hamilton a decade ago and start attending games again. But I really and truly take a solemn oath to never, ever attend a Ti-Cat game again. My loyalty and love has turned to loathing of the team's management and indifference to the team's performance. These people truly are dinosaurs. There are many people in this town who care passionately about creating interesting, lively public spaces accessible by public transit. This is still achievable because the Future Fund is ours to use for this very purpose! All we have to do is ensure that not one single solitary cent goes towards the Ti-Cats and the East Mountain stadium, and that instead we use OUR PUBLIC MONEY to clean up the West Harbour lands and then harness our collective creativity to work out a common vision on how to use the land. Bayfront Park and Pier 4 are already amazing spaces, let's do more. There are lots of smaller businesses just itching to open up in the harbour lands. Grassroots, sustainable development can do much more than people realize. Let the Ti-Cats build their albatross of a parking wasteland on the EM (shame about losing our greenfields)-- but let them have their 60s style car-centric tailgate parties (after paying $15 parking for the honour)....

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 23:22:44

Has anyone read the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe (Narnia book)? Well in Narnia it was always winter but never Christmas. I am picturing Ti-Cat land in the East Mountain where is is always the 1970s but never a Grey Cup.

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By Disgruntled (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 23:27:55

Lets prove to Bob Young how important Hamilton is to the CFL. All games for the rest of the 2010 season should be boycotted. Why are we waiting to punish him for his actions.

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By wow (anonymous) | Posted July 30, 2010 at 23:37:39

It's not like I could say anything to change anybody's mind, and I didn't come here to troll...so sorry if that's how it came off. I just don't think this is about threats or about taking advantage of the city. To me (and just my opinion)it's more about doing what will make sense down the road. I don't believe a stadium at West Harbour would do anything to revitalize the area...I don't think the concept of revitalization should be abandoned though because I think it's important.

What's also important to me is that the Tiger-Cats become a sustainable franchise and I don't think (again only my opinion)that it can be at West Harbour.

I guess I am just surprised at all the hatred for the team and the owner. I have seen talks about boycotting the team over this. If that was to happen...it's pretty much a lose lose scenario. "come play at West Harbour where you will fail as a franchise or we will make sure you fail as a franchise anyway". That's all I'm trying to say really...I don't think it had to be like this and I don't think either "side" wanted that.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted July 30, 2010 at 23:55:27

Does it sit well with the fans if a sustainable franchise means unlimited parking charges? Should the ticats' future profitability be built on the backs of current fans - who will be forced to drive up to the east mountain and have no alternative but to pay whatever is being asked for ticat owned parking?

Would it not be better to put a stadium in a location that is truly accessible to all Hamiltonians? One that is geographically central to the densest populated areas? One that will attract new fans of all ages? One that will build the ticats' profitability on an increasing fan base rather than milking the current fans dry?

This whole plan is ludicrous.

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By d.knox (registered) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 00:00:17

"In fact, I am deeply concerned that, should this issue force the Tiger-Cats to leave the city, it will be the end of the CFL in Hamilton."

Do we even care anymore? Go already. Just leave our money out of it.

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 00:12:15

Wow,

The Ticats are a CFL team. They are never going to make money. It has nothing to do with the stadium or the location of the stadium. The problem is the lack of TV revenue. The only team that made money last year as far as I know was Saskatchewan and thats only because they are community owned and supported by fundraising events aside from the games.

Mark Cohon knows that and yet he is trying to portray the league as wildly successful. If he thinks that having 7 of 8 franchises losing money is successful then I wouldn't want him running my business.

Building this stadium at the West Harbour is about building this city and adding one more piece to what is needed to get downtown Hamilton out of the funk that it is in. The stadium isn't going to instantly revive the downtown, but it will help fill in the puzzle that when completed will see the revitalization of what is now an embarassment to the citizens of this city.

There is absolutely no arguement that could justify putting the stadium on the East Mountain other than Bob Young financing and building it himself.

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By George (registered) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 00:18:35

I'm also done with this team.

This lifelong fan and season ticket holder for 20 years is done. I'm not renewing.

The city had long established plans to better this city, a city that so desperately needs it, and to have it hijacked by the Tiger-Cats by their last minute veto is outrageous!

And now they have the gall to not only begin to plan for our WH, but also have designs for the spending of our future fund. That's the last straw!

We have a democratically elected council to do that. How the province aided and abetted this coup is beyond beleief!

What a truly sad time for Hamilton.

No money for East Mountain and if it's no to West Harbour, then pass on the games. Who needs them? Certainly not us.

Keep Ivor Wynne for now, until we have new Tiger-Cat owner and proper place and plan for a new stadium insrtead of an East mountain mistake.

"Caretaker" indeed!

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By SlayTheHammer (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 01:03:02

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By kourt (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 06:52:52

In no way can I relate the Tiger Cats leaving as mass suicide. In fact, quite the opposite...it would be mass suicide for the collective self-repect of Hamilton if we were to roll-over and let this f-wad steal our future fund /our future away from us.

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By adrian (registered) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 07:41:39

What's also important to me is that the Tiger-Cats become a sustainable franchise and I don't think (again only my opinion) that it can be at West Harbour.

Of course you have to rely on your opinion, since the Tiger-Cats have yet to release any actual evidence that the West Harbour will not work for them, although they promised they would be providing that this week.

Anyway, this stadium is not supposed to be built for the Tiger-Cats. It is going to be built to host the Pan Am Games. The fact the Tiger-Cats have managed to turn this into a debate about them has already cost us the track & field events, which left specifically because Athletics Canada became concerned the stadium was going to be all about pro football.

Prior to the strong-arm tactics, the bullying, the threats, and the intransigence, most people here wanted to see a successful Tiger-Cat franchise as well. We believe they'd be successful at the West Harbour. But more importantly, we believe that if we're going to spend $100 million of public money, it should be on our terms, at the location we chose, at a place where it's going to benefit more than a very narrow spectrum of already wealthy businesspeople.

The Tiger-Cats still have the opportunity to come to their senses and realize that a massive segment of Hamilton's population are unsupportive of the East Mountain plan for powerful reasons: pride in their city, hope for the future, dreams of their children's success. Aside from those with financial interests, those in favour of the East Mountain location are mainly driven by loyalty to a sports team or fear of losing that sports team.

One set of reasons is far more powerful than the other. Should the Tiger-Cats decide the West Harbour could work - perhaps subsequent to a city council vote in favour of that location - those who favoured the East Mountain will just say, "oh well, no big deal," and come to the games anyway.

That's not going to happen if it goes the other way.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted July 31, 2010 at 08:57:15

The only team that made money last year as far as I know was Saskatchewan and thats only because they are community owned and supported by fundraising events aside from the games.

If all teams in this league were owned by the fans, this would be a more successful league. I admire the Riders org and their fans. Their is true (Rider) pride in that city

...those in favour of the East Mountain location are mainly driven by loyalty to a sports team or fear of losing that sports team.

I have often wondered the same thing. It's not that they want a stadium on the east mountain. It's that they don't want to lose the Cat's.

Wow. I am in shock reading this letter and need to read it a few more times. I have been at my job for 12 years now and looking for a change, and I sent a resume to the CFL head office in Toronto after I spotted a recent job posting. I thought what better place to work for, than an organization I am passionate about, and something I felt was so truly Canadian. Even more so than hockey on so many levels (at least the NHL), and I have played and loved hockey since I was 6 years old.

I just finished sending a long letter to council, CH, The Spec, and the Cats about some concerns, and replying back to a message I recieved from the Cats, I talked about how much I loved the Cats and admire Bob for all that he has done. How much this league/this team mean to me. How much Ivor Wynne means to me.

I can't reply any further yet. I thought I was going to puke after reading this before I went to bed last night. I was really tired though so I need to go over it with a clear head. Just wanted to read the comments first.

My first response is that Bob take a stance against that letter. It truly harms his Go East Mountain plea. It really does. The only way I can see that he can save his loyal fans, is to say 'That letter was uncalled for', and that 'yes, our first choice is still EM, but we will still play at West Harbour if that is what the city chooses, and do our best to make it work'.

I didn't want to even comment this much yet, but my 'emotional' first response was "shame on you Mark Cohon." Guess that takes me off the future considerations list for working at the CFL.

I don't think 'Our League' is about strong-arming? At least not the 'League' I believe in. I have worn that red shirt with that motto on it proudly. If the CFL wants to save face, I think Cohon needs to go after that letter.

:(

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By jorge (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 09:17:41

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 09:23:07

Good point jorge, tailgating in a giant asphalt parking lot under the blazing summer sun or the freezing fall winds that rip across the upper city makes way more sense than tailgating in a beautiful waterfront park surrounded by restaurants and shops. /sarcasm

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By JMorse (registered) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 09:26:09

Like George and others above, I feel my support for the team should be discontinued.

In becoming a new seasons ticket holder, I wanted to experience some the civic pride on display at Ivor Wynne on gamedays.

I was excited about the direction this city was headed when I moved here last year with my family. We have even purchased our first home in west downtown sooner than planned. We get the keys next weekend.

Now I'm torn, actually embarrassed, because my brother, who still lives in Toronto, and I are planning to attend next Saturday's game. This would be his first time at a TiCats game, same as last fall was my first time. We're not even that much into football, but like the energy of the crowd. We were going to check out my new place, and experience some of the positive elements of this city. I'm now faced with trying to decide if I should pursue a refund on my tickets for the remainder of the season.

Should I say "sorry bro, no game" and try to salvage some dignity after the threats my support of the team has rewarded me with, or attend the game like an abused spouse thinking they could still change their minds?

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By JonD (registered) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 09:27:57

The only way I can see that he can save his loyal fans, is to say 'That letter was uncalled for',

http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/articl...

"Mitchell, however, believed it was "absolutely" appropriate for Cohon to send the letter..."

I'm sure Cohon didn't write the letter without consulting the TiCats... I'd even say there's a good chance that the TiCats requested it hoping to turn the thumb-screws a little more on the city. They're shooting themselves in the foot.

Comment edited by JonD on 2010-07-31 08:28:31

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted July 31, 2010 at 09:46:38

Cohon and Young are right the tail gate experience is what is successfull in NFL , NCAA and the CFL .

Tailgating is one of my favorite aspects at all, but how many 'tailgaters' actually drive or park there? I walk to the stadium. I know many who come from Toronto (by GO), or beyond to attend games not just because they are Cats fans, but fans of the football and the experience at IWS and at Scott Park field.

Every been to a tailgate in Toronto on the section of pavement across from the dome? Ever partied around Ralph Wilson on acres of pavement?

That is my one wish (besides doing away with the track once the games were over), is to have a large grass parking lot to bring a bit of that Scott Park feel to the new venue.

Just saying that a whole lot of people who love to Tailgate, don't drive. Yes, when I seen a game in Buffalo I drove to Buffalo, but I stayed in a hotel 15 minutes away and took a hotel limo to the surrounding stadium grounds, and drank on the side of the road. And what a freakin' mess after the game. The Cats, the City, and the fans have a great handshake agreement regarding the use of Scott Park or Tailgating and it's a great atmosphere and always spotless before the opening whistle. I think that is something to be proud of and either continued for years to come, or brought with the team.

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By Henry and joe (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 09:49:42

Now I'm really pissed off. My letter to this arrogant DB would go something like this.

The Tiger Cats and the CFL need Hamilton.
Hamilton DOES NOT need the CFL.

Take your ridiculous threats and put the franchise in all the cities lining up for expansion teams. Wait, what's that sound. Crickets, yeah, that's what I thought.

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By George (registered) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 09:56:30

Again as along time fan and season ticket holder, I admire what Bob Young has done for the team and the city and appreciate it greatly.However, this back stabbing of our city and its citizens is crossing the line. There is no other way to describe it.

Soccer fields on east mountain? The city already has Mohawk Sports Park? Leave the city plannning to the city and it's citizens. Let us spend our money as we best see fit through our elected representatives. It is not money for the Tiger-Cats or Osmington to "steal".

Shame on the province of Ontario for betraying the good citizens of Hamilton.

I strongl;y urge the city not to contribute one dime to any East Mountain stadium. Let the Tiger-Cats, Osmington and the province pay for the whole shebang if they want it so badly.

If the city's money is needed then it's West Harbour. It's time to call the bluff of the Tiger-Cats and now the CFL. Just where would the Tiger-Cats go? Just where would the CFL expand to?

The question needs to be asked; Who needs the Tiger-Cats more, the CFL or the city of Hamilton?

I don't want the Tiger-Cats to leave. I love them! But enough is enough!I love my city more, and I resent the fact the Bob Young et al are pitting the city against thet Tiger-Cats.

In reality, if the Tiger-Cats were to leave, it would save the city millions and serosuly hurt, if not kill, the CFL. Mark Cohon, think twice please.

Absolutley disgracefull the way the city has been treated and marginalised by the province and private interests.

Shame on the Tiger-Cats and shame on the province!

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By Jason (registered) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 09:59:10

Kudos to George and JMorse.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted July 31, 2010 at 10:04:36

Now I'm torn, actually embarrassed, because my brother, who still lives in Toronto, and I are planning to attend next Saturday's game. This would be his first time at a TiCats game, same as last fall was my first time. We're not even that much into football, but like the energy of the crowd. We were going to check out my new place, and experience some of the positive elements of this city. I'm now faced with trying to decide if I should pursue a refund on my tickets for the remainder of the season.

Should I say "sorry bro, no game" and try to salvage some dignity after the threats my support of the team has rewarded me with, or attend the game like an abused spouse thinking they could still change their minds?

THat's a hard question. Might I suggest that perhaps you still go. Not for the Ti-Cats, but for the kids and people who love IWS and the history behind both the franchise and the stadium. Let your brother see what this is all truly about. What it was about before this Pan Am things anyway. History, civic pride, the energy of the crowd. As I said in my story, sometimes it's more about that energy, than the game itself. I have missed entire games just enjoying the people and that energy.

I already feard that this next home game, where our 1972 Grey Cup champion Tiger-Cats will be in attendance, might be the last game we could truly enjoy, before a decision was made that could change the environment at IWS.

If nothing else, I hoped after the decision we would be able to enjoy a few more fun years together at IWS, but I truly fear that come Aug. 10th, that might not be possible. Perhaps not possible going forward from today, with that recent letter from the CFL.

I'll be there. Let's make it a night to remember. To reflect on the history of IWS and the Tiger-Cats. Not about politics. Keep politics away from this place. I was thinking about wearing a 'Save Ivor Wynne Stadium' T, but now more than ever, I just want to enjoy a great night with friends and fellow fans, before the you know what hits the fans.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 10:08:07

@lawrence and JMorse:

Go, have a good time, and don't forget to wear your Argos t-shirts.

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By Masked&Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 10:09:29

The last surprise is when you come to gradually realize that nothing surprises you anymore.

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By George (registered) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 10:15:29

Lawrence, you bring up an interesting thought.

How much damamge is Bob Yong doing to the existing, long time, ardent fan base?

I think he may not truly understand the long held, and very deep connection this team has to hardcore Hamiltonians. Hamiltonians who have an even stronger connection and identity with this city, many of whom remember the vibrant downtown and who want that back.

How much collateral damage is he causing to his own team?

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By arcadia (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 10:16:02

the Ticats and their supporters have two messages: one the threat of leaving. Two the 'unsustainability' of the west harbour. The second is pretty easy to demolish; if it's unsustainable it's strange that they've been playing at an equally unsustainable stadium for 60 years. The Harbour will have more parking than Ivor Wynne and be much closer to the 403. All that's left is the threat of leaving. And that little tune's getting a bit old if you ask me.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted July 31, 2010 at 10:17:41

In reality, if the Tiger-Cats were to leave, it would save the city millions and serosuly hurt, if not kill, the CFL. Mark Cohon, think twice please.

I think you hit on something for sure. The CFL can't afford two teams no longer in the league (Ottawa and Hamilton). If Ottawa was already back in the game then perhaps I would say we wouldn't be AS vital.

The CFL doesn't seem to mind losing a team every once in awhile.

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By marc (registered) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 10:19:30

If the EM is such a profitable location than the Ti-cats and the CFL don't need our money. They can fund it themselves, and leave our city money alone. After all they will make the $$$ from it, just remember that's all they care about is making money.....They sound like spoiled little brat's, if we can't get our way with your money we will leave and you won't get another team. That's right, take advantage with our money but no consideration for where we want our stadium to be located...and if the CFL is willing to leave the Hamilton fan base and its history here because they can't get their way than they have given us more reason to not consider them as there is no loyalty. After all its just business.

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By Hunter (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 10:27:05

This is the end. F_ck you Cohon.

For years I've been supporting the CFL and the Ti-Cats, with both my cash and my words. I have a
good season ticket now and was going to get another for my son at WH. Goodbye.

The whole Pan-Am infrastructure endeavor with public money made perfect sense until the Fenn EM
proposition. Everyone against EM would agree that they could do that if they wished if it was
their own money. But it isn't. It's public money, municipal, provincial and federal, and it
should be spent... I'm not going to continue - everyone knows how it should be spent.

The annual 'guaranteed loss' of up to $7 million at WH is a crock - example: $20 AVERAGE ticket
price. The lowest price you can pay at the box office to get into IVS is $22.

Access terribly limited?! WHAT ON EARTH?! End of CFL in Hamilton - is that a threat?! No room for Grey Cup concerts?! Copps f_cking Coliseum is a ten minute WALK from WH.

If these sh_tbirds think they can extort money from the public purse this way then to hell with
them. Once again, f_ck you Cohon.

Sincerely,
Hunter

ps Fenn, give back every cent you were paid to mediate.

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By Hunter (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 10:48:32

ps, I think the CFL response proves that the Our City Our Future campaign is having a measurable effect.

Congrats to Ryan and RTH for becoming a powerful voice and focal point for common sense, reason, civic democracy and development.

Hats off to you Sirs.

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By Ti-Cat fan (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 10:50:05

An east mountain stadium is a plan to keep even more people away form downtown. I don't get it. 10 x 25,000 = a quarter million people driving to EM and driving home. What a colossal waste.

It is imperative that any prospect of a quaeter million visits be directed towards downtown.

It can be made to work. There is plenty of time to address a satisfying business plan and creating a satisfatory access and parking plan. For example, having main routes temporarily conveted to one way in before the game, and one way out after, just as is currently done in many U.S. cities.

An EM site does absolutely nothing for the city and it's image. And that's all the Tiger-Cats really do for us.

A WH stadium, on the other hand, will complement other city building projects quite nicley, creating a synergy that benefits and enhances our city's core. I'm looking to retire there and I'm eagerly awaiting a reason to do so, and as a Ti-Cat fan who attends many, many games (season tix and flex packs) a West harbour stadium would give me that reason.

Perhaps it's time for the city to consider buying the team from Bob Young, who through his actions, has transformed himself from "caretaker" to "owner". We hire someone from Saskatchewan to run it or to consult and replicate their highly successful public ownership model.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 11:46:33

I usually participate on the Tiger-Cat discussion board, but have been unable to get on their since yesterday morning. Below is an excerpt from an Edmonton paper



The group that owns the Edmonton Oilers is still interested in operating sports facilities in Hamilton, even after plans to build a new downtown stadium in that city hit another snag Thursday.

"Essentially, our plan remains the same," said Steve Hogle, a spokesman for the Katz Group, which has been in talks with the city of Hamilton to run some of their municipally owned facilities.

"We're still interested in running sports facilities there, and we've got a meeting with city council at the end of August that we're looking forward to," Hogle said.

...snip...

...they announced an alternative plan that would see a cycling velodrome and a 3,500-seat amphitheatre built downtown and a new football stadium placed in the suburbs.

In an interview Thursday evening, Hogle acknowledged the chaotic day, but said the Katz Group wasn't involved in Thursday's shakeup.

According to company officials, city staff in Hamilton are currently working with the Katz Group to draft a non-binding memorandum of understanding to be presented to council at the end of the month.



Read more: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/Katz+Group+build+Hamilton+stadium+hits+roadblock/3340221/story.html?cid=megadrop_story#ixzz0vH86IcGM




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By damage (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 12:10:41

>How much collateral damage is he causing to his own team?

A LOT. I am a Hamiltonian first and only cheer for the TiCats for civic pride. I actually find watching and attending games quite boring but did so out of screaming for Hamilton.

Now instead I will spend more time supporting our World Class amateur athletes and artists as my boycott of all things TiCats has begun. There are other places to better spend my money and time.

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By Mark-Alan Whittle (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 12:23:42

If you go through cfl.ca first, go to the fans zone and click the tiger-Cats, the chat board is stable. I was just there. As to Pan-Am Park, that's city-building. Two legacies for the price of one. That's what the Future Fund want's. I hope the report to council available on Wednesday is made public, so we can see for ourselves, without the spin. Council will make the site decision and recieve this report in-camera, of course. That's Hamilton, get used to it or get out and vote. The election is after this decision.

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By Hamilton (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 12:41:13

Theats? To hell with you, Ticats. Good bye CFL. Good riddance! Bring on the NHL!

Someone mentioned somewhere that the only reason Hamilton is known is because of the Ticats. Are you kidding me? Go back and re-study your history books, son. Hamilton held a higher place in Canadian history than Toronto at one time. The nerve of some overpaid bureaucrats. That's just it! Mitchell, Cohon and the rest of those cronies get paid one way or another. Who loses? Hamiltonians!

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By Hamilton (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 12:42:11

That was supposed to read "Threats?"

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 12:46:18

"As to Pan-Am Park, that's city-building. Two legacies for the price of one. That's what the Future Fund want's."

We don't need a Pan Am park, we don't need a disposable velodrome and we certainly don't need an amphitheater.

What we need is a stadium at the location that was decided upon by the city council after careful consideration and planning. That is the West Harbour.

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By Jason (registered) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 12:53:43

Here's my letter to the Commish:

Dear Mr. Cohon, I have three letters for you: NFL. Ever heard if it?

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By Henry and Joe (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 13:47:30

FWIW, I posted this to the CFL forum if anyone reads that...

The following letter sent to the City of Hamilton by Cohen is highly inappropriate: www.raisethehammer.org

The unmitigated gaul of the Commissioner to weigh in on this issue of municipal politics!

CFL fans across the country should know that the West Harbour site was decided on because it meets city building criteria for the city and because it meets the criteria of the Pan-Am committee for easy access within the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). Cohen is now blackmailing the people of Hamilton to commit to a stadium site that hasn't even been studied for feasibility.

The fact is that the West Harbour site, albeit not perfect, is the best location from a civic building perspective. It allows for the remediation of a brown field site, and has the best multi modal access (rail, walking, city roads, highways, and buses). Furthermore, it is located close to downtown amenities such as nature trails, shops, hotels, and restaurants.

With all the rhetoric flying around the Ticat and CFL offices, the opposition to the West Harbour site boils down to one thing: remote location with lots of parking. The Ticats want a location that leaves people with no choice but to drive so that they can charge for parking spots that taxpayers are paying to build. How is that a good business model? This is corporate welfare.

I am a long time Tiger Cat fan, but my city of Hamilton comes first. If you say East Mountain or else, then be prepared to have your bluff called. The CFL needs Hamilton a lot more than Hamilton needs the CFL. Mr. Cohen and Mr. Young, if you want to leave, be my guest. I'll even help you pack.

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By goin'downtown (registered) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 14:49:47

The name of this city is "Hamilton" not "Youngstown." Those are in Ohio and New York and were not established upon sport franchises. How about Bob goes and creates the Raleigh Redhats? Then, as a few RTH writers pointed out, we can take a cue from the Saskatchewan Roughriders, buy the team, and run it responsibly and transparently. No mediators needed then.

How has a situation that started out so productively, progressively and positively for Hamilton's future, turned into an issue about nothing else but the Ticats? I actually love the Ticats being a part of the Hamilton fabric, and I go to games whenever I can, but WTF? What city in their right mind gears their economic development to the whims of an unsuccesful football team owner? A prided team, but financially propped up, none-the-less.

We can barely fill Copps Coliseum during concerts now because of our proximity to Toronto. What in the hell are we going to do with 45,000 empty seats (more than double Copps' seating capacity) 355 days a year? The lifespan of a stadium is what...25 years? That's three Grey Cups (seven other teams to host). I don't believe that three Grey Cups and 10 home games a year are worth the investment (at a loss to other much-need projects), the maintenance, the environmental damage and financial loss of this misguided EM stadium.

And what of the extra platoon of police that will be needed to patrol the exits after Ticat games and keep the DUI "driveway to driveway" drivers from killing someone? Oh, wait...Mercanti offered free hotel rooms to post-game drunkers right? That's gotta be a big hotel.

Anyone out there working in stadium building? Can a WH stadium be built to accommodate 15,000-20,000 temporary seats for Grey Cup bids? And is 45,000 even enough? Cohon states that it's the minimum seating needed for a Grey Cup - but even Regina (population less than 200,000 in 2003) had over 50,000. What's to say that we would even win Grey Cup bids?

Bullying and spin doctoring aside, I have tried to see both sides of the economic argument, short-term and long-term, desipte being a firm believer in the WH plan. I have given Bob Young every proverbial benefit of the doubt, but this Cohon letter is SO inappropriate (and not even accurate). We are not the City of Bob Young, we are the City of Hamilton.

Seven years of losses? Bob Young is not doing this out of philanthropy. Maybe it's written off against his other profits, I don't know. But no one runs a company in the red for seven years. And I no longer trust his judgment, motivation or actions.

I want Hamilton to include the Ticats. But my desire for Hamilton to be successful overall over-rides a football franchise, particularly an unprofitable one. Jeez, it's not like they employ thousands of people and provide millions of dollars of economic spin-off. Essentially, they're a cultural asset, like waterfalls and conservation areas. But a whole lot more fun.

Can we please get back to pre-Bob Young shenanigans? In fact, let's skip the whole stadium thing (they're not sustainable, anyway, and besides - I've heard that they really stir things up), fix up IWS including improved parking and shuttles, build a beautiful WH Velodrome and Amphitheatre in time for the Pan Am Games, and let things unfold from there.

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By brian (registered) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 15:08:25

I am a long term supporter of the ticats (more than 30 years) and as long as Bob Young and Mark Cohon are the owner and commissioner i refuse to go to another game. Enough is enough, the last clown who made threats (Harold Ballard) also lost 1000's of fans for make threats of moving the team and for putting a lousy product on the field. Well it's happening again and does nothing to help the franchise whether they get their desired location or not. I don't think the franchise was the same after ballard made his threats and having a lousy team. Amazing a team that potentially could be out of the playoffs in a few weeks could even dare to make such a threat. Does Bob Young realize how much the attendance is going drop with that...let alone a threat to move the team?. That's not running a franchise, all that is saying is to your season ticket holders and core audience...i don't give a damn about you. Montreal just upgraded their downtown stadium and guess what 5,000 more people are going to the games now. How in the hell when the Ticats have had sell outs in a area with less parking do people manage to get there, leave and have no problems?. In the 70's when it was routine to have a full house i dont recall any problems with a 30,000 plus crowd. If he doesn't get what he wants he could atleast have the decency to try to sell the team to someone that would keep it in hamilton first before making threats to moving them.

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By FenceSitter (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 16:21:00

Curious to know what the spread of EM Vs WH would be in terms of ones age.

Most older guys I speak to want the EM, a different story when compared to my generation (this may not be accurate, just my experience)

It would be important to remember who is the future fan 10 to 15 years from now.

What would be the preference if 'save Ivor Wynne' was part of the equation???

As for the CFL letter. The mind boggles. It could have been articulated in such a way to convey the same message, without the threats.




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By red24 (registered) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 16:26:01

"He's not trying to screw over the city, he is just trying to make a realistic business plan...one that won't work at West Harbour."

Fine, but a scorched earth approach is not needed - getting Cohon to write a letter that there'll never be CFL football here again is vindictive and disgraceful. If another owner wants to come in and operate the team at West Harbour, the Bob Young won't seel and the CFL will say grant a franchise out of spite? Well good luck, with that kind of attitude, soon enough the east division will consist of Montreal, Winnipeg and Saskatchewan.

I CHALLENGE MR. YOUNG TO PUBLICLY RENOUNCE HIS POSITION AS 'CARETAKER' OF THIS TEAM AND RE-NAME HIMSELF WHAT HE REALLY IS: THE OWNER. HE IS NO CARETAKER IN THE WAY GEORGE GILLETT SEES/SAW HIMSELF THE STEWARD OF CHERISHED SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS LIKE THE MONTREAL CANADIENS AND LIVERPOOL FC. SHOW SOME CLASS MR. YOUNG AND CALL OFF COHON YOUR HENCHMAN.

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By Mark-Alan Whittle (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 16:28:37

Ian Troop : I’d like to take a moment now to talk about the Hamilton Stadium.

The debate on location has been incredibly active, and I have to say it’s encouraging to see such a passionate level of community involvement. The City has been a strong supporter since very early days of the bid, so we appreciate the energy and drive it continues to bring to the Games. I look forward to this intensity of broad engagement carrying on right through 2015.

I’ll reiterate a few significant considerations:

• The decision that has to be made is on location, which goes hand-in-hand with the associated financial implications.

• As well, this is a local decision. The Hamilton community will have to live with its decision far into the future, so the responsibility must remain in this community.

• Finally – legacy is fundamental to the City’s involvement, and this legacy speaks to the lasting value of the stadium to this community long after the Games are over. In other words – how will the facility be used? What is the ongoing cost and revenue potential, and, who is financially responsible?

These are not considerations unique to the Hamilton Stadium – every one of our venue partners across the region have to incorporate these factors into their plans.

With those considerations, the community has two location options and economic factors to evaluate.

Toronto 2015 also has been evaluating a number of scenarios.

Shifting sports is a very positive option, and we’re continuing our assessment. We’re optimistic with how this may work, but there still are pieces to be worked out. Our Board of Directors today agreed that we should explore a shift further – that is, moving Athletics and building the soccer component.

We urge the decision-makers to ask the tough questions about each location to clearly understand the ongoing financial implications to future generations.

Ultimately, Toronto 2015 will act in the best interests of the Games – we’ll deliver a great Games, and a great legacy.

Kevin Werner: Sorry, I wanted to ask you, I know you’ve mentioned that – the location of the stadium needs to be made by the local municipality. Yet would – does the Toronto 2015 still take a position that it would rather have it on the West Harbor because it seems to be to able to be more accommodating for athletes rather than the West Hamilton?

Ian Troop: We have never taken a position Kevin.

Kevin Werner: Yes, I know.

Ian Troop: We voiced – we mysteriously objective this whole thing.

Kevin Werner: Yes.

Ian Troop: So, you know, we think both sites can work and both sites have pros and cons from the city standpoint and it’s up to the city to sort it through. Both sites have different economic realities given you know, income revenue potentials going forward so it – that’s why it gets back to – you know, the folks that are going to be paying the freight for the next – in the years to come better make a good wise decision on what site makes the most sense.

Kevin Werner: Okay. And with regard to the velodrome again, where is that at the moment, I mean, it just seems to be getting lost when talking about the stadium?

Ian Troop: Yeah. That’s true actually it is fairly taking a back seat and which is not a bad thing right now, we have got - Hamilton is getting actually report backs on the business plan and look – what they commissioned was a study that looked at variety of different velodromes to understand what makes a velodrome work, what revenue producing activities can be inside it and that helps us frame that business plan that legacy, the business legacy that I spoke about that’s so important in the stadium as well. So, you know, we can let it follow the stadium decision and that’s what we are planning to do right now.

Kevin Werner: Does it need to be with the stadium?

Ian Troop: No, we are not making any pre-ordained discussion on where it needs to be. I think we will learn a lot more when we get the study back. I mean we are keeping an open mind.

Kevin Werner: So I just wanted to understand there is going to be no track and field at the Hamilton stadium, it will be replaced by soccer games, how many are we talking about?

Ian Troop: Lots, a number of factors I mean, we have to still sort this also, I wouldn’t say its cast and stone yet although I think we are all thinking that it makes sense, you know, one of the big factors for us is that when the games were schedule originally at BMO field there was a turf facility and because it was turf it could handle lot more games, now that BMO is grass one of the things were getting back from TFC and MLSC as they just can’t handle game load like we had scheduled so we need another bonafide mark key facility. So it will have between it and Joy stadium you will have a soccer hub in Hamilton. 30 odd games probably when this is all said and done I don’t know the exact number yet, we are still working it through but it’s going to carry a good chunk majority of soccer.

Kevin Werner: And is August 12, still the drop-dead date for council to make a decision?

Ian Troop: I think so, you know, yes, it is, I mean, because we are rapidly closing election nearing time and so we need to get that settle down and decided before you are going into that kind of blackout period attributed to the elections.

Kevin Werner: So no more extensions?

Ian Troop: No.

Kevin Werner: Okay. Thank you.

http://www.toronto2015.org/lang/en/news/post-board-of-directors-meeting-regular-update-by-chair.html

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By thehound98 (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 17:15:43

Just like the Bass Pro fiasco in Buffalo. You could interchange the councils of both cities and NO one would notice the difference. The whole thing makes me want to vomit.

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By easty (anonymous) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 18:33:58

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

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By slodrive (registered) | Posted July 31, 2010 at 23:51:15

I think we should all relax a little and try not to get caught up in this sabre-rattling. Which is all it is. The position of the team, namely Scott Mitchell, pisses me off to no end. But, Cohon works for Bob Young. Did we really expect him to come out and say 'well, whatever Hamilton decides is fine with us'? Not going to happen.

Could he have been more diplomatic about it? Yeah. I think he's caught a little Scott-Mitchell-itis. Let's not wish away 140 years of our collective histories and identities.

Keep the faith. If nothing else, Bob Young is a good salesman. He knows that the population is getting very angry over this. Hopefully, if not a stadium, the West Harbour rejuvenation can still be a part of the immediate future. Hopefully, in 10 years, we'll all be enjoying the bustle and beauty of the north-end, and the Ticats will be wishing they were a part of it.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted August 01, 2010 at 07:39:01

The explosion of vitriol I've just read says a hell of a lot about what happens to people when they spend weeks producing EVIDENCE and ARGUMENTS in favour of their position, and are met with only nonsense. It's absolutely infuriating. I have yet to see one serious argument in favour of the East Mountain. Any actual points made for the EM site have been sparse and far between, and usually utter nonsense (like claiming it only takes a dozen minutes to drive there from downtown).

It's so easy to sit in our nice little comfortable North End and forget the the war is still raging on the "frontier". We've been busy with community-building exercises downtown, and we've helped make the North End into by far my favourite Hamilton Neighbourhood. All of this is an amazingly good thing. But we can't forget that the engines of sprawl are still running rampant on the edge of town. We won the ARGUMENT about sprawl - not the battle.

We are not a rich town. We can barely afford to maintain our existing city. We cannot afford to finance the conquest of everything between St Catherines, Caledonia and Carlisle. At least, not if we want functioning roads, water pipes or schools downtown. Every time we finance one of these developments - and we do, whether we like it or not - it's taking money we could have spent on downtown, or even the existing, already developed parts of the mountain. It isn't always easy to make this argument about stores, homes or schools (very visible, but the numbers are awful complicated) - here's a clear-cut case. Big redevelopment project for downtown snatched up and hauled off to the East Mountain.

This is what it's all about - the stadium, Aerotropolis, Meadowlands (East, West, clappisons etc) the Red Hill and Linc Expressways. Creating a city where only farms exist now, then letting their other developer chums fill in the spaces with suburbs and strip malls. All of this gives a bunch of private investors the opportunity to literally design our city from scratch - in the vision they see for it. We will need to live with these decisions for decades, and many of these suburbs are going to have to be razed before any liveable community can be built there.

Oh yeah, and the last time this town hosted the Grey Cup we lost our shirts, at least in terms of public funding. Big games spectacles rarely come through on the massive windfalls they promise.

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By nextdoor (anonymous) | Posted August 01, 2010 at 08:19:23

Very well said unindustrial. There really is a connected theme here in terms of city vision. It's also about those that represent competing visions. Hopefully, in the bigger picture, it shows that a more progressive vision of Hamilton is taking hold in a growing segment of the population, even it is still precarious. Five years ago I would say that this wouldn't have been a close debate, but now it is. Also, I think it says something about the balance of the dual nature of our city that when we have an issue that perfectly brings to light the City versus Sprawl visions of Hamilton, a retread like Di Ianni is the only one that is put forward to carry the banner of sprawl - riding a vespa no less! It's still a battle for Hamilton's future, but I get the sense that sprawlers are increasingly desperate, resorting to threats, knowing that the fact, time, and population are not on their side.

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By Henry and Joe (anonymous) | Posted August 01, 2010 at 10:43:25

Riders beat the Ticats and I wasn't bothered by that. Thanks Bob Young for making me dislike my own team. Sell it to someone who isn't trying to hose the citizens. Otherwise, take your net and go home!

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By Samewithme (anonymous) | Posted August 01, 2010 at 10:58:49

Same with me Henry and Joe - I've been a die hard fan for so long and for the first time, I really don't care about the team losing. It's amazing how they have totally alienated the most loyal fans....

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By Henry and Joe (anonymous) | Posted August 01, 2010 at 12:31:43

@Samewithme

I think Bob Young and this Cohon guy should launch a new website called ...

"MakeitSeven.com"

since this is the number of teams that will be left in the CFL after we refuse to cave. Jim Balsillie was hugely successful with that moniker. Do you think he would let them borrow it?"

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By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted August 01, 2010 at 13:39:28

August 1, 2010 Mayor Eisenberger, City of Hamilton Members of Council

Dear Mayor and Members of Council, Further to my self-serving and condescending letter dated July 31, 2010, I wish to clarify a few issues and insult your intelligence even further. First of all, it appears that some members of Council think I wrote because Bob Young and his lackey Scott Mitchell have been blowing smoke about leaving the city and never playing at a west harbour stadium and had got themselves painted into a corner with nowhere to go but Ivor Wynne. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. They’re not packing blanks. I want you to know that there are literally hundreds of municipal councils of cities with half a million residents and millions more within an hour’s drive (that don’t already have CFL franchises) just lining up to spend millions of dollars of public money to provide a home for Mr. Young and his team. And I could name them. But I won’t. It’s a simple fact that downtown stadiums don’t work. If they did, Pittsburgh would have three of them and the Alouettes would be sold out every game. Well, actually, it does and they are BUT IT”S NOT ABOUT BUILDING STRONGER COMMUNITIES OR BECAUSE THE ALOUETTES ARE DOWNTOWN! Pittsburgh is a former steel town with an escarpment, unlike Hamilton, and the Alouettes are a good team. It’s easy for you to accuse the Tiger-Cats of participating in the site selection process for the Pan-American games without recorded objection and even saying they would work with whatever site was chosen only to pull out at the last minute and cause Hamilton to lose the track and field portion of the games. That’s called business. GET USED TO IT! YOU WERE PLAYED LIKE A VIOLIN. IF YOU THINK YOUR BACKS ARE AGAINST THE WALL, IT WORKED, AND BOB YOUNG’S IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT, NOT YOU! Furthermore, I understand that a few wiseacres are saying that the City’s future fund money can’t be used for an east mountain stadium because it won’t “grow Hamilton's economic base in order to create jobs and generate subsequent investment revenues or enhance Hamilton's social fabric or its community life”. Poppycock! If that’s what it was meant to do, those things would be contained in the mandate of the board that you appointed to oversee the fund. And even if they are, SO WHAT; Mr. Young wants the stadium on the east mountain. And to those who say that the future fund money came from hard-working Hamiltonians and shouldn’t be essentially handed over for the exclusive use of Mr. Young and the Tiger Cats; well, they obviously didn’t work hard enough or they’d be multi-millionaires like Mr. Young. He’s the one who deserves to reap the benefits of that money not some layabout who expects the City of Hamilton to fund his hobby and provide him with a subsidized place to live for years. If that’s what they want, buy a football team! Make no mistake, if you follow the advice of subversive groups such as the Hamilton Real Estate Board or the Ontario Construction Association, the downtown BIA, the Future Fund board or that bunch of young accountants, architects and lawyers or the thousands of tax-paying citizens who’ve actually taken the time to write their comments, not simply vote on a website, then, I’m warning you, there will be NO GREY CUP EVERY 10 YEARS. Tell that to all the unemployed hot-dog vendors in your wards! And don’t think for a moment that Hamilton will get another franchise if Mr. Young decides to leave for one of those other cities that neither he nor I are prepared to name. The CFL board is made up of smart, free enterprising, capitalist businessmen who know that it’s in the league’s best interest to leave all of southern Ontario west of Toronto without CFL football. There’s simply no better way to sell our game. In closing, I realize that some people think it’s inappropriate for me to expect you to look past the vacant downtown storefronts or to forget about the true purpose of the future fund and the places to grow strategy or a promised LRT now with nowhere to go. But let’s be realistic; you’re just members of Council. Whoever said it was your job to shape a city? Leave that to the future and someone better-suited to the task than you. Get with the program, any fool would know that the key to Hamilton’s future isn’t beside the harbour, it’s beside Home Depot. Yours truly,

The Commissioner

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By growp (anonymous) | Posted August 01, 2010 at 13:45:24

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By Tim (anonymous) | Posted August 01, 2010 at 14:28:55

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By Robbie K (anonymous) | Posted August 01, 2010 at 15:02:14

So Tim, if Mr Young wanted free Handies behind the outhouse or the Ti-Cats leave the city would you be willing to dish it out?

Guys, in the grand scheme of things, the CFL is such small potatos. Fine, lets get a NLL team to replace them. Problem solved.

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By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted August 01, 2010 at 16:12:40

Well Tim, you/they still haven't said where they're going.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted August 01, 2010 at 16:41:51

Funny how comments are closed on the Go East Mountain site.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2010-08-01 15:43:03

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted August 01, 2010 at 17:28:21

Go anywhere in Canada and ask about Hamilton, or Southern Ontario and general. People complain about us anywhere you go. But it sure isn't for a lack of suburban stadiums. When people in BC, the Maritimes or Quebec (where nobody I've met will admit to knowing where Hamilton is) think about our part of Canada all they can see is Brampton. Packed highways, sprawl, strip malls, and lives filled with work, shopping and bills. Not that I agree with them, but they raise some valid points.

Montreal has beautiful old-world architecture, neighbourhoods and culture. BC has beautiful mountainsides and the Maritimes have a rich seafaring culture. We destroy all of the above for strip malls.

Liveable cities are not about quality, not quantity. I don't care how far suburbs extend if we're leaving the rest of town to rot.

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By NewHere (anonymous) | Posted August 01, 2010 at 19:48:56

Robbie, what does the NLL stand for BTW?

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By Robbie K (anonymous) | Posted August 01, 2010 at 19:54:07

National Lacrosse League.

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By NewHere (anonymous) | Posted August 01, 2010 at 20:00:53

Didn't know there was such a thing to be honest. I remember fooling around in gym class way back when with lacrosse, it seemed fun at the time.

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted August 01, 2010 at 20:05:10

Robbie K,

We had a NLL franchise here. It's called the Toronto Rock now. They played at Copps before they moved to Toronto. The idiots that owned them used the name Ontario instead of Hamilton and nobody showed up for the games.

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By Robbie K (anonymous) | Posted August 01, 2010 at 20:31:36

Interesting, I knew the Toronto Rock existed, but had no idea they played in Hamilton prior. "Ontario Rock", who knew. Anyway, the point was that Unless its part of the big 4 (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB) the others are just sort of "nice to haves". They really don't put us on the map.

Honestly, I like the CFL. I generally defend it to any NFL fan that refuses to watch, it is a a little piece of sports that we as Canadians have cut out for ourselves. But to hold a city ransom over it, meh, cya.

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted August 01, 2010 at 21:12:00

There's a saying in business - "The first generation builds it. The second generation grows it. The third generation destroys it."

I guess that old saying applies to family reputations. Nicely played Bob Young. Absolutely appalling! Tomorrow morning, when you're standing in front of the bathroom mirror, take a moment and have a little chat with yourself. Ask yourself one simple question, "What would my ancestors have done?"

As I've been saying all along, you've been getting bad counsel.

The final straw was allowing Mark Cohen to offer his outrageous threat to the citizens of Hamilton. It's the best evidence yet you have absolutely no understanding of community spirit. I have to be honest, I'm surprised at the truth in this statement. You had me fooled.

BTW, in Ontario there's a law that says you have to keep your pit bull on a leash. I think Scott Mitchell jumped over the fence and is running around wild and you haven't noticed yet. Get a leash. Get a grip. And then get to the West Harbour ASAP!

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By goin'downtown (registered) | Posted August 01, 2010 at 21:32:54

That Cohon letter certainly changed things up, or at least rattled more chains (mine included). On Wikipedia, it states that he was a "business consultant to environmental and youth organizations in Toronto" and in a linked article it reads that in 2002 he was "working on developing a wildlife rehabilitation and educational center in Toronto." So, was that all lip service (his yellow Vespa, perhaps) or can we appeal to his dedication to the environment? Perhaps his loyalty to one of his league owners overshadowed his judgement before he even looked into the facts of the stadium situation.

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By F. Ward Cleat (anonymous) | Posted August 02, 2010 at 01:56:23

Mr. Young you really should think about hiring some public relations people. It probably would be wise to look for local talent, since outsiders are likely to get chewed up and spit out in this town. You see Bob since you've been away we have been knocked down a few times and were getting a little cranky. The President of your Football team may think most of us aren't to bright because most of us wear workboots but he should know they have steel toes so they hurt when we kick back. As for taking your ball and going home well it's your ball and we've had it happen before Seimens. P&G, Lakeport, Westinghouse, Hamilton Tigers are just a few teams we played by the rules with but they left anyway. So you see Bob if you don't want to play here just say so and we'll take our $60 million and do something we can all be proud of. It will be a sad day if you choose to leave but we'll still have over a 100 years of Tiger-Cat history and you can't take that. You have to know Bob that we're going to be making a decision based on what's best for Hamilton where we can get the biggest bang for our buck and we will expect our councilors to make that decision or we'll replace them with someone who will. PS; Tell your buddy Cohon we don't want another team cause it just wouldn't be the same as our Ti-Cats. Sincerely a Former Bob Young Fan and soon to be former CFL Fan.

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By F. Ward Cleat (anonymous) | Posted August 02, 2010 at 02:22:58

Mr. Young you really should think about hiring some public relations people. It probably would be wise to look for local talent, since outsiders are likely to get chewed up and spit out in this town. You see Bob, since you've been away we have been knocked down a few times and we're getting a little cranky. The President of your Football team may think most of us aren't to bright because most of us wear workboots, but he should know they have steel toes so they hurt when we kick back. As for taking your ball and going home well it's your ball and we've had it happen before Seimens. P&G, Lakeport, Westinghouse, Hamilton Tigers are just a few teams we played by the rules with but they left anyway. So you see Bob if you don't want to play here just say so and we'll take our $60 million and do something we can all be proud of. It will be a sad day if you choose to leave but we'll still have over a 100 years of Tiger-Cat history and you can't take that. You have to know Bob that we're going to be making a decision based on what's best for Hamilton, where we can get the biggest bang for our buck. We expect our councilors to make that decision or we'll replace them with someone who will. PS; Tell your buddy Cohon we don't want another team cause it just wouldn't be the same as our Ti-Cats. Sincerely a Former Bob Young Fan and soon to be former CFL Fan.

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By James T (anonymous) | Posted August 02, 2010 at 11:14:18

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By John Q (anonymous) | Posted August 02, 2010 at 11:40:18

... and don't forget to wear chain mail!

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted August 02, 2010 at 13:15:35

So you want to risk making the CFL a 7 team league? Really?

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By Ancopa (registered) | Posted August 02, 2010 at 13:51:28

Join us next Saturday Aug 7 at Bayfront Park for a huge East Mountain Support Rally. There will be music and vendors and a parade. Go East Mountain.

Bayfront park is a terrible place for a rally. It's next to impossible to get to, and there's no parking. What are you guys thinking?

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By Be T (anonymous) | Posted August 02, 2010 at 16:34:50

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted August 02, 2010 at 16:51:56

An East Mountain rally at bayfront. Sigh.

We should show up with a big crew and challenge them to a football game. Winner gets their choice of stadium.

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By jonathan dalton (registered) | Posted August 02, 2010 at 18:18:23

Join us next Saturday Aug 7 at Bayfront Park for a huge East Mountain Support Rally. There will be music and vendors and a parade. Go East Mountain.

I suggest this rally focus on fundraising efforts for the east mountain stadium, because you'll need $45M to take the place of the City's Future Fund, and at least an additional $35M to augment the Tiger Cat's contriubution. Go East Mountain - with your own goddamn money.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted August 02, 2010 at 18:42:20

Mr. Young you really should think about hiring some public relations people.

Or just don't make stupid divisive decisions that alienate your community.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted August 02, 2010 at 20:12:38

why not have the rally on the east mountain?

hm

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By Robbie K (anonymous) | Posted August 02, 2010 at 20:30:34

^^ Because no one wants to drive up there. Bwahahaha. Funny choice of location.

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By jonathan dalton (registered) | Posted August 02, 2010 at 23:29:01

Why not have it on the east mountain? Oh yeah, it's a suburban wasteland.

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By Beaneater (anonymous) | Posted August 02, 2010 at 23:40:33

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By Robbie K (anonymous) | Posted August 03, 2010 at 00:45:50

The fact that you just compaired the NFL, NHL and NBA to the CFL pretty much just nullified everything you have ever said in your entire life.

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted August 03, 2010 at 00:46:04

Beaneater,

The difference between those other leagues and the CFL is that most of them either build their own stadiums or pay rent on the ones they are using. The Ticats don't pay rent and all of this posturing by them is to get things to the point where they won't have to pay rent in the new stadium where ever it is located. When they put up enough of their own money to have a stake in the stadium they they can help decide where it will be.

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By Robbie K (anonymous) | Posted August 03, 2010 at 00:53:46

And no one is "forcing" the TiCats to play in a small stadium. He is more then welcome to build a 60,000 seater in East Mountain. But he better bring is own money. Acc was privatly fuh

Tell you what BeanEater, move the ticats to York. But before you do, collect 65 million in taxes, and hand them over to Young. But before that, let him pick his own spot, and oh, you are now going to need more then 65 million.

A$$ Hat.

Seems like even the almighty NFL has the same problem : http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-vikingsstadium

Double A$$ Hat.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted August 03, 2010 at 13:42:42

The NFL , NHL and NBA all dictate where and what stadium is proper that't reality you hicks . To the guys who are life long suppourters of the CFL yah right .

"You hicks." Nice one. I resemble that comment.

Our City. Our Future, before Our League. Before this message from Cohon, the points you made about other big leagues, are why we loved the CFL. It was truly about the fans and players and the Canadian communities. As far as I know, there was no strong arming going on.

The NFL and NHL have forgotten so much about community and the fans. What people really want. Big flashy stadiums and billion dollar salaries = impersonal league all about money, money, money. The CFL wasn't about that. I hope Mark's statement hasn't just proved otherwise.

The CFL is a business (as are the Tiger-Cats), that need to make money. Bob Young needs to make money, but there are things that cannot be sacrificed at the expense of keeping this thing Canadian.

A better message from Cohon could have been:

"Bob Young has been a great and involved owner in this league, and although we encourage you to consider his concerns, this is ultimately the City of Hamilton's decision. One you will have to live with for a very long time.

Whatever you feel is the right choice for your city and it's citizens, we are behind you."

So what if East Mountain fails after they alienate so many passionate season ticket-holding fans? Will the CFL still not grant Hamilton another team should Young fail on the mountain?

No matter where the new stadium goes, there will be something for a new owner to work with - a nice shiny new something. Just because one firm can't figure out how to make something work in a certain situation, doesn't mean someone else can't.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted August 03, 2010 at 13:49:12

The NFL , NHL and NBA all dictate where and what stadium is proper that't reality you hicks . (sic)

So the answer for the CFL Commissioner is to be more like Gary Bettman? Check.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted August 03, 2010 at 13:53:43

So the answer for the CFL Commissioner is to be more like Gary Bettman? Check.

It's pretty bad when he get's booed when he is passing the Cup to the Captain of the Stanley Cup champions. If you lose this kind of respect in any league, no matter how smart you are, you should either step down or be asked to leave.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted August 03, 2010 at 14:32:03

If thinking that the CFL should not be able to make a decision about tens of millions of dollars of public funding for the Pan-Am Games makes me a hick, then I guess I'm a hick.

By the way, that's a racial and economic slur, just like hillbilly or redneck, or n**er for that matter - totally not cool. There's too many places in this town where Jews, Arabs and black people are more than welcome but a working class white guy with a UFC shirt and Nascar hat, everyone assumes he must be a crack-head or a wife beater.

This kind of dismissive and dehumanizing rhetoric suits this town perfectly. People like Bob Young honestly believe Hamilton is a city of around 500 well-educated, thinking human beings, and half-a-million unthinking brutes played by film set extras from the rust belt, who need to be strictly controlled. Laws, democracy - none of that matters, because they know what's best for us.

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By dennis1 (anonymous) | Posted August 04, 2010 at 13:45:45

"The Ticats' parking proposal stalled the release of a city staff report comparing the costs of the two potential sites that councillors were expecting yesterday.

Several councillors said the east Mountain was rumoured to be more expensive than west harbour by between $42 million and $50 million.

"We were hoping to get our head around our numbers today," said Councillor Lloyd Ferguson said.

He said the city had previously understood it would be on the hook for the cost of parking.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger said plans for the west harbour site -- which covers about 8 hectares -- included 600 onsite parking spots to be paid for by the city.

The east Mountain site is only 6.8 hectares."

http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/article/819691

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By mblackboorw (anonymous) | Posted August 10, 2010 at 09:29:01

The CFL and the Hamilton Tiger Cats are a WELFARE League and Team. I hope they both go bankrupt in the very near future.

Tiger Cats SUCK!!!

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