CFL has discussed Hamilton/Burlington hub model with Ontario Minister of Sport

The Canadian Football League has been speaking with Ontario Minister of Sport Lisa MacLeod about a potential CFL hub in Hamilton/Burlington.

TSN’s Dave Naylor asked MacLeod about it on Tuesday and she said lines of communication are  open with CFL clubs.

“I’m having regular discussions with all of our professional sports teams as well as CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie. We met over the last couple of weeks as well as with the Redblacks, Ticats, and continued conversations with MLSE with respect to the Raptors and Maple Leafs as a hub city and of course with the CFL,” MacLeod said.

“Earlier today I had the opportunity to meet with my federal counterpart to talk about MLB, as well as our ongoing discussions about the CFL. We want to make sure that each one of these organizations, if they do choose to play here, have stringent and safe protocols in place, that those rigours will be approved by both local chief officer of health and provincial chief officer of health.”

When asked if a hub city model had been discussed, MacLeod confirmed it.

“Absolutely, they have discussed possibly going to Hamilton or the Burlington area and I don’t think any option is off the table. Right now we are working with them. As you know right now they have a substantial request financially in with the federal government,” MacLeod said. 

“And last week all the sport ministers across the country who have CFL teams met to see how we can best support the CFL. Obviously Ontario is very excited to host the Grey Cup next year, the 109th in 2021, and so we want to do everything we possibly can to make them viable and that includes having a conversation with our federal counterparts about how to do that.”

It appears that all options are possible when it comes to a hub city model at this point and CFL fans should be encouraged that provincial ministers of sport are going to bat for the league federally.

The commissioner presented a financial ask of up to $150 million in federal relief on May 7 due to the economic crisis facing the league in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The request was met with a tepid response and no funding has yet been received. More recently he has presented to provincial authorities, including the Ontario standing committee on finance and economic affairs on June 18th.

Ambrosie has said the earliest a season could occur is September but time is ticking down on a decision and the continued rise of the virus in the United States has some worried about the 2021 season as well.