If the CFL puts on a season, Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger ‘ready, willing, and able to host the Grey Cup’

Photo courtesy: City of Hamilton

Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger can see a pathway for the 2021 Grey Cup to be played in his city.

The CFL championship game is scheduled to be held at Tim Hortons Field on Sunday, November 21.

“It really relies on where we are in terms of the pandemic and the virus and whether or not they’re going to be able to have a season. And if they have a season, of course we’re going to be ready, willing, and able to host the Grey Cup here in Hamilton,” Eisenberger said.

“The Tiger-Cats and the league are still uncertain as to their status going forward in terms of having a season this year. That’s certainly an open question, but we have dialogue with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.”

The Ticats finished 15-3 in 2019 but were upset by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Grey Cup in Calgary. Hamilton is considered the favourite to win the upcoming CFL championship at home and it would be the Tabbies’ first title since 1999, ending the longest Grey Cup drought in the league.

The CFL unveiled its 2021 schedule last November with the pre-season scheduled to begin on Sunday, May 23, while the regular season is slated to get underway on Thursday, June 10, culminating with the league’s title game in late November.

“I would say probably somebody has formulated a plan, predominantly that would be the league. We have the venue. Our part of the Grey Cup equation is having a venue available for them to host the Grey Cup,” Eisenberger said.

“I would think that the majority of the Grey Cup planning would lie with the CFL and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. It’s not like we’re dialoguing around making plans for the Grey Cup, although those plans have been skirted around and talked about for quite some time.”

Ontario sport minister Lisa MacLeod and the provincial government have received the league and players’ association’s return-to-play health and safety plan. The CFL and union began meetings during the second week of February with a focus on playing football this year.

“It’s totally dependent on where we are with this pandemic. How many folks have we vaccinated? If we get 70 to 75 percent of the individuals in our community taking up the vaccine, that certainly bodes well for future major events going forward past September,” Eisenberger said.

“It’s a distinct possibility that we could be open for a season for the Tiger-Cats and other major events.”

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.