Jets to play Flames in outdoor NHL game at Regina’s Mosaic Stadium in 2019

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Pucks will replace footballs at Mosaic Stadium in Regina when the National Hockey League takes over for one day later this year.

The NHL confirmed Tuesday that the Winnipeg Jets will face off against the Calgary Flames at Mosaic Stadium on Oct. 26, 2019.

The news was announced during the second intermission at another outdoor game, the 2019 Winter Classic from Notre Dame Stadium in Indiana.

The outdoor game will be the first-ever regular season outdoor NHL game in Saskatchewan.

A news release from Evraz Place, which manages the 33,000-seat stadium, said the event is expected to return about $15 million to the local economy through visitor spending.

Tourism Saskatchewan, the City of Regina and the Regina Hotel Association provided funding and in-kind sponsorship to bring the Heritage Classic to the city.

Phil Andrews, a spokesperson for the Regina Pats junior hockey team, expects the game to sell out. He thinks fans will be drawn to the idea of an outdoor match.

« I think there’s the nostalgia part of it, everybody that grew up playing hockey — you start by playing outside, it just kind of brings you back to the roots of it, » said Andrews.

He said it is too early to tell what his team’s involvement will be in the event. There have been no discussions between his team and the NHL at this point, he said.

Saskatchewan Minister of Parks, Culture and Sports Gene Makowsky, Regina Hotel Association president and CEO Tracy Fahlman, Regina Mayor Michael Fougere and Regina Exhibition Association Limited president Tim Reid were enthusiastic about the NHL announcement when they spoke at Mosaic Stadium on Tuesday. (Janani Whitfield/CBC News)

« I think we’d be happy to be involved in any way and we’re going to have those discussions with the NHL, » said Andrews.

Western Hockey League games have been held in conjunction with the Heritage Classic in other cities, including a match between the Regina Pats and the Calgary Hitmen in 2011.

The Pats tried to organize its own outdoor games at Mosaic last February but they were ultimately cancelled.

Andrews said they were called off due to concerns over weather rather than poor ticket sales.

He thinks October is a better time to hold an outdoor game in Saskatchewan.

« If it’s anything like October was this year, I think it’s a perfect temperature, you know, minus 10, something like that, where you’re not going to freeze as a fan or as a player and you still have the ability to put the ice in and keep it cold and frozen, » said Andrews.

Similar event in Winnipeg sold out

Regina Mayor Michael Fougere said the event is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the city.

« The fan experience at Mosaic Stadium is spectacular with great views from every seat, wide concourses, a variety of hospitality offerings and premium seating areas that provide an incredible hosting experience, » said Fougere.

The stadium opened in 2017 as host of the Saskatchewan Roughriders CFL team.

Winnipeg’s Investors Group Field sold out its 33,240 seats when it hosted the last NHL Heritage Classic in 2016.

Premier Scott Moe said in a news release the event will help promote Saskatchewan as an event-hosting destination.

« Hockey is part of Saskatchewan’s DNA. »

« Saskatchewan’s warm people and generous hospitality will provide a great welcome to some of the world’s best hockey players as they hit the ice outdoors in our new Mosaic Stadium, » he said.

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NHL announces outdoor game at Regina’s Mosaic Stadium in 2019

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Flying pucks will replace footballs at Mosaic Stadium in Regina when the National Hockey League takes over for one day later this year.

The NHL announced Tuesday that Regina will host the Heritage Classic outdoor game at the 33,000-seat stadium, which opened in 2017 as the new home of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The Winnipeg Jets will face off against the Calgary Flames on Oct. 26, 2019. 

More to come.

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CFL chief confident in Halifax franchise plan — as long as $170M stadium is built

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CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie remains bullish on Halifax becoming the league’s 10th franchise, but says it’s all contingent on a suitable stadium being built in the Maritimes’ largest city.

Halifax regional council voted 15-0 on Tuesday to direct municipal staff to complete a review of a business case for a 24,000-seat facility to be built at Shannon Park.

Ambrosie said while that was « another positive step in the direction that we were hoping for, » he added the stadium issue is pivotal to Maritime Football Limited Partnership’s bid for a CFL expansion franchise to begin play in Halifax in 2021.

« To make a pro sports franchise work you must have a place to play, it’s just that simple, » Ambrosie said. « We put in place a very clear set of steps that we would go through with Maritime Football and we’ve been knocking those off at a good pace.

« When all of that work is done you’re left with the same fundamental question and that is, ‘What’s the status of the stadium,’ and (Tuesday) was very encouraging on that front. »

Stadium could cost $170 to $190 million

The plan of the partnership — which consists of former Arizona Coyotes co-owners Anthony LeBlanc and Gary Drummond and AMJ Campbell Van Lines president Bruce Bowser — is to build a 24,000-seat multi-purpose stadium in Shannon Park. That’s a 38-hectare parcel of land in Dartmouth on the east side of Halifax harbour formerly used for military housing.

Shannon Park, a 38-hectare parcel of land in Dartmouth, was formerly used for military housing and is now being pitched as a potential site for a 24,000-seat multi-purpose stadium. (Carolyn Ray/CBC)

The stadium would reportedly cost between $170 and $190 million but it’s unclear if or how much public funding would be required for the project.

A more detailed business analysis is expected to take three-to-six months to complete. Meanwhile, the partnership plans to begin a season-ticket campaign and name-the-team contest next month.

Ambrosie is confident Halifax has the corporate support needed to help successfully operate a CFL franchise.

« I think this is such a new Halifax, it’s such a new Nova Scotia, it’s a new Atlantic region, » he said. « There’s just so much business going on, new industries that have started so yes we do feel there is.

« It’s a remarkably robust community, and I’m speaking broadly of the Atlantic region and our feeling is they’ve got the right business community and right opportunity to make this work. »

Season-ticket campaign coming

Ambrosie has been very careful not to impose specific deadlines to the Maritime Football Limited Partnership, which he said has been by design.

« What I’ve tried to do all along is not impose an artificial timeline because that would put pressure on this that’s unnecessary, » Ambrosie said. « And then what people will be doing is staring at a date we’ve made up in our heads and wondering whether or not we’re making progress.

« What we want to do is have this project come to a successful conclusion but the time it takes to get there is not our primary concern. »

On Nov. 7, the partnership plans to launch a season-ticket campaign and a name-the-team contest. Ambrosie said he’ll be in Halifax to lend his support to Maritime Football.

« They want to really reach into the community and talk about being committed ticketholders to this franchise, » Ambrosie said.

Vision for a 10th CFL franchise

The CFL commissioner also plans to have LeBlanc meet with CFL conveners once in November — either at a regularly scheduled board meeting Nov. 13 or during Grey Cup week in Edmonton. And Ambrosie said he could have LeBlanc front and centre when he makes his annual state of the league address Nov. 23.

« I think what we’ll do at a minimum is probably have Anthony join us and talk a little bit about their vision for that 10th franchise, » he said. « Even that, I think, is a remarkably positive step.

« We might not be picking team colours and announcing the date for the kickoff of the inaugural season. But I think even having Anthony just speak to what’s happened so far, that first-person perspective, can be part of the state of the CFL narrative. I think that’s something we should do. »

Last month, Ambrosie met with Professional American Football League of Mexico (LFA) officials in Mexico City to discuss how the two organizations would develop players and grow the game. Ambrosie said he’s already had two conversations with CFL officials about the league staging two 2019 regular-season games in Mexico.

« Just probing conversations around which teams might be interested in (playing) a home game in Mexico, » he said. « Both conversations, I’d say, were pretty positive.

« Not conclusive but pretty positive with our friends in Mexico. They’re excited with the opportunity to showcase the CFL to football fans there. If we could pull this off for the 2019 season I think we should do it. »

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