I hope you’re well and looking forward to summer, and the start of another great CFL season, as much as I am.
I know I speak for all of our teams when I say “thank you” for your continuing support.
As I have travelled Canada during my first year as Commissioner, fans have often asked me about expansion. As I am sure you’ve heard, there’s some good news on this front, and I wanted to make sure you had my take on it.
Our Board of Governors has granted a conditional Ottawa franchise to a group some have dubbed as a dream team: Jeff Hunt, Roger Greenberg, Bill Shenkman and John Ruddy.
This is a group of highly successful business people with deep roots in Ottawa, long histories of community service, and a passion for the CFL, as well as experience in operating and marketing a sports franchise. (You can learn more from their bios posted here on CFL.ca.) We simply could not have a better group in place to return the CFL to Ottawa — and do it the right way. And that’s a major step forward for our League.
The calibre of this team, and the significant franchise fee it has agreed to, speaks volumes about how our League is moving in the right direction.
We do, however, still face a challenge in Ottawa, one we hope can be turned into a tremendous opportunity for the League and the City. The franchise has been awarded on the condition that any Ottawa franchise has a first class stadium to play in.
The future of Lansdowne Park is the subject of an important and vibrant discussion in the Nation’s Capital. We’re cautiously optimistic that our announcement, and the strength of the ownership group that’s now in place, will help ensure the City’s plans for the area include a refurbished Frank Clair Stadium, one that’s a great place for families to enjoy a game.
I’d like to address my final comments to our fans in Ottawa, fans who have been through a lot. You never let football in Ottawa down, even when the reverse was true.
So we want you to know, we still have a long way to go before we can kick off another season in Ottawa, on one of those glorious summer nights by the canal. But we in today’s CFL are doing everything we can — prudently, methodically, and step by careful step — to deliver a team you can be proud of, and a fun experience you can count on, for decades to come.
Our fans understand, as Canadians: This is our League. And this is our Nation’s Capital. And the two should be together.