OTTAWA — In a live chat hosted by the Ottawa Sun on Friday afternoon, Ottawa Owner Jeff Hunt offered fans a chance to see what might be in store for their new team.
For one hour, Hunt took questions from fans regarding everything from Ottawa’s new stadium, the general manager and head coach, the community and finally the team name.
Here now are the highlights of Hunt’s answers from Friday’s live chat.
On the Stadium, tickets and fans…
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“Obviously with the South Side being completely rebuilt it’s not going to have the exact same seating plan as what people are used to, but if you were 5 rows up on the 40-yard-line in the old stadium, we’ll do the best we can to get you 5 rows up on the 40-yard-line in the new stadium.”
“To start with we were somewhat restricted in that we are maintaining the North Side stands structure as it traditionally has stood. The South Side is designed to mirror the north side, though it will look very different. With that said there will be unique fan viewing opportunities at both ends of the stadium. You also asked about a camera. I am not 100% sure of the correct answer, but I know it will be soon.”
“ We recognize the importance of quality food and beverage options and sensitivities around pricing. We will be diligent to make sure we achieve good value for fans and families.”
“ Some believe there is a lost generation of CFL football fans in Ottawa and there is no doubt that is one of our biggest challenges. With that said, I think when Lansdowne is finished the redevelopment process there will be enormous interest to be part of the excitement. The novelty of two new pro sports teams in the community will create a lot of interest and curiosity. There is no doubt in my mind we can get that demographic out to a game. Then the challenge becomes creating an atmosphere and an experience that young fans will want to come back to again and again. Sound familiar? This is how we built the 67’s.”
On the search for a new General Manager and Head Coach:
“I think our search for a GM is coming to a conclusion. Look for something concrete in the next week or so.”
“Typically you would look to hire a coach at the conclusion of this coming season and just prior to our expansion draft, because we believe the coach’s input is invaluable to the type of players you will select. It’s based on the type of system he might run.”
On the Ottawa Community:
“I think the sports teams in Ottawa, the 67’s and the Senators, have been tremendous in the community. I think there is an expectation that sports teams in the community will give back and contribute. Our players will be very active and visible in the region.”
“I just had lunch with Steve Dean last Friday, the president of NCAFA — Ottawa’s minor football organization. We are looking forward to a very active relationship with that organization and its players and families.”
On the team name:
“I think Red Blacks pays tribute and is authentic to Ottawa sports history going back to the hockey Silver Seven and the football Rough Riders. Those are colours that resonate through Ottawa sports history. They’re also associated with the Governor General’s foot guards, the RCMP and other images associated with the nation’s capital.
“There were a lot of names suggested that have merit. We have a certain criteria and we are trying to be true to that and trying to find a name that best reflects what we are trying to be. Again, I’ll emphasize I think there’s too much emphasis on just the name. A name on its own is really not that inspiring until you build your brand around it. That’s what brings a name to life and gives it context.”