Vanier Cup returns to Hamilton in 2016

Adam Gagnon/CFL

HAMILTON – The Vanier Cup is returning to Hamilton for the first time since 2008, Canadian Interuniversity Sport announced on Monday, as Tim Hortons Field will host the championship game in 2016 and 2017.

The announcement was made at Tim Hortons Field in the presence of sports and city officials, including Mayor Fred Eisenberger.

“The City of Hamilton is delighted to welcome back the Vanier Cup for two more years,” said Mayor Eisenberger. “Varsity sports are an integral component of the culture of post-secondary institutions, and Hamilton hosting showcases the City on a national scale.”

The 2016 game will mark the fourth overall staging of the CIS football final in the Steel City but the first one at Tim Hortons Field, the world-class multi-purpose stadium which opened in September of 2014. The 24,000-seat facility is the new permanent home of the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats and was a soccer venue for the 2015 Pan American Games.

The CIS championship match is scheduled for Nov. 26 in 2016, while the date for 2017 will be confirmed in the coming months.

Previous Vanier Cup games held in Hamilton averaged 15,000 fans in 2004, 2005 and 2008 at historic Ivor Wynne Stadium, which closed three years ago to make way for Tim Hortons Field. In 2004, Hamilton became only the second city to host the Canadian university football final, following a 39-year run in Toronto.

“[Hamilton] is the perfect place to help bring our Vanier Cup vision to life,” said Graham Brown, chief executive officer of CIS. “There is tremendous momentum from the 2015 Pan Am Games, a tremendous stadium, volunteer participation and mobilization, exceptional local business involvement.”

Headquartered in Hamilton, ArcelorMittal Dofasco has been a major partner of CIS since March of 2014 and has since sponsored numerous national championship events including the women’s and men’s basketball Final Eight tournaments, the Mitchell Bowl football semifinal, as well as the 2015 Vanier Cup in Quebec City.

The return of ArcelorMittal Dofasco as title sponsor of the Vanier Cup for the next two years was also confirmed on Monday.

Headquartered in Hamilton, ArcelorMittal Dofasco has been a major partner of CIS since March of 2014 and has since sponsored numerous national championship events including the women’s and men’s basketball Final Eight tournaments, the Mitchell Bowl football semifinal, as well as the 2015 Vanier Cup in Quebec City.

CIS-SIC.ca

The UBC Thunderbirds captured the 2015 Vanier Cup in November (CIS-SIC.ca)

McMaster University will also play a major role in delivering successful Vanier Cups over the next two years, especially when it comes to engaging the local community. The Marauders football program has returned to national powerhouse status over the past five years, winning the first Vanier Cup title in school history in 2011 and reaching three CIS finals in four seasons from 2011 to 2014.

Glen Grunwald, McMaster director of athletics and recreation, has been named Chair of the host organizing committee.

“Hamilton is well known as a community that loves sports in general and football in particular,” Grunwald said. “I am counting on the sports fans of Hamilton that have supported football at all levels so well over the years to come out in force to attend this great event. Our goal will be to present Hamilton as a first-class sports town and play the ArcelorMittal Dofasco Vanier Cup in front of a sold-out crowd.”

In 2016, the CIS football semifinals will see the AUS conference visit Canada West (Mitchell Bowl) and the OUA visit RSEQ (Uteck Bowl)… The matchups for 2017 are RSEQ at Canada West (Mitchell Bowl) and OUA at AUS (Uteck Bowl).

ALL-TIME VANIER CUP VENUES

Varsity Stadium, Toronto (21): 1965-1972, 1976-1988
Rogers Centre, Toronto (17): 1989-2003, 2007, 2012
TELUS-Université Laval Stadium, Quebec City (4): 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015
CNE Stadium, Toronto (3): 1973, 1974, 1975
Ivor Wynne Stadium, Hamilton (3): 2004, 2005, 2008
Tim Hortons Field, Hamilton (2): 2016, 2017
Griffiths Stadium at PotashCorp Park, Saskatoon (1): 2006
BC Place Stadium, Vancouver (1): 2011
Percival Molson Memorial Stadium, Montreal (1): 2014

PAST VANIER CUPS IN HAMILTON (Ivor Wynne Stadium)

2008 (Nov. 22): Laval 44, Western 21
2005 (Dec. 3): Laurier 24, Saskatchewan 23
2004 (Nov. 27): Laval 7, Saskatchewan 1