Canadian Football League

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ottawa Back In Canadian Football League

Ottawa to receive CFL franchise
Hoping the third time will be the charm, a league source confirmed the city of Ottawa will receive a conditional expansion franchise on Tuesday.
The nation's capital will receive a conditional expansion franchise during a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, according to a league source.
CFL commissioner Mark Cohon is expected to make the announcement in Ottawa.
While the league hasn't committed to a precise timeline, a football team could be in place as early as the 2010 season.
This will be Ottawa's third attempt at fielding a team, with the Rough Riders enjoying the longest stretch. The franchise began play in 1876 and captured nine Grey Cups, including three between 1960 and 1970. The last one came in 1976.
However, the football team was forced to fold following the 1996 season. The city was awarded another franchise - this time as the Renegades - but ownership issues caused the league to suspend operations four years later.
Last week, two sources confirmed that the league was continuing to negotiate with an Ottawa group led by Jeff Hunt, the owner of the OHL's Ottawa 67s.
Neither source would confirm a report in the Globe and Mail that a deal to give Hunt's group a conditional expansion team for the 2010 season was nearing completion, but both sides agreed the talks have progressed since Hunt admitted in September he was interested in a purchasing CFL expansion franchise with his group.
Hunt's other partners are reported to include three high-profile Ottawa businessmen: Roger Greenberg, chairman and CEO of Minto Developments; John Ruddy, the president of Trinity Development Group; and William Shenkman, chairman of Shenkman Corp., a property development company.
This would be Hunt's second attempt to purchase a CFL franchise for Ottawa.
Last year, he was part of the Golden Gate Capital group that was thought of as the leader among three bids to land a CFL expansion franchise for Ottawa. However, Golden Gate was forced to bow out of the bidding after a prominent group member was diagnosed with cancer.
A major hurdle for Hunt and his group would continue to be the stadium. In 2007, the City of Ottawa recommended the lower tier of the south-side stands at Frank Clair Stadium be demolished because of structural concerns.
It's believed Hunt's group has been working with civic officials on a reconstruction plan for Lansdowne Park, where Frank Clair Stadium is located.