Showdown in Steeltown: Hamilton's time in the Outdoor Classic spotlight

By Larry Pattison
Published January 20, 2012

It cost me $25 American for a ticket to the outdoor Boston Bruins alumni game at Fenway Park in 2010, not to mention a whole lot of cash in gas, tolls, hotels, food, drink and souvenirs, to turn my dream of attending one of these outdoor hockey games into a reality.

Oh, and then there was a $100 donation placed into a tin can in support of a local house fire somewhere along the I90 between Buffalo and Boston. $1, $100 - American money all looks the same to me. 

I could have actually purchased tickets to the main New Years day event the day previously, but it would have cost me $200 a ticket for 'obstructed view' seats. Basically, a whole lot of dinero to sit behind a pole at Fenway.

My buddy and I still talk about that fun and comical adventure from time to time. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I saw both the inside of Fenway and some of my old Bruins favorites from my hockey youth play again.

When I hear people talking about how over-priced something is - anything could be used as an example as the event isn't as important as its community value - I tend to get my back up a little.

I realize that there are far more important things in life than spending our hard earned money on a sporting event. Even for me as a passionate fan of sports myself, I can't always afford the luxury of going to all of the sporting, music, and theatre events I would love to attend either.

So I do understand where many are coming from, but some of the reasoning I hear or read behind not supporting something is all too often based off a few letters. Three letters that have become socially cool in various sporting circles, and three letters on the other side that are overlooked as being amateur and much lesser in value than their counterparts.

Be it NHL versus AHL or NFL versus CFL, we have allowed the word 'National' to greatly lesson the value of otherwise entertaining sports leagues.

NHL Dreams

Hamilton has been anticipating being the future home of the NHL since Copps Coliseum was built back in 1985. I met Bobby Orr during that first hockey game played at Copps. I was there with my dad. Orr sat right in front of us.

It was an early glimpse of the stars who would pass through our city in the years to come: Gretzky, Lemieux and countless others. I even stopped Bourque in his tracks for an autograph as he walked through Jackson Square to Copps for a pre-season NHL game. Copps hasn't been shy of amazing memories where sports have been concerned.

27 years later, the NHL has yet to set up shop in Hamilton. It's been quite awhile since even an NHL pre-season game has been played in our arena built for the pros. For many - this was obvious throughout our Make It Seven campaign - Hamilton still feels it is lacking a professional hockey team.

Yet Michael Andlauer and the Bulldogs organization continue to contribute to this town including bringing something as monumental as an Outdoor Winter Classic to our great city.

I am sure Mr. Andlauer does not feel like Hamilton owes him anything. We have made it to the Calder Cup three times and won it once, and we have had a winning product on the ice through most of the almost 16 full seasons they have called Hamilton home.

That's aside from the countless community hours players and Bulldogs personnel have put in, not to mention what having a hockey team of the caliber of the Dogs has meant to the children and especially minor hockey league kids from the area.

The value of having the Bulldogs in Hamilton the past 16 years has no real monetary value. We had the Mountain Arena and the Kilty Bees growing up and not to knock either, but I can only imagine what it would have meant to sit with my team in the stands of Copps as a child. We are lucky in Hamilton. We truly are.

So not only are we fortunate to have an organization farming for one of the most storied franchises in all of sport in the Montreal Canadiens, we are truly lucky, in a city of half a million residents, to have facilities like Copps and Ivor Wynne and countless others.

Are We a Hockey City?

Hamilton believes itself to be a hockey community and I know deep down we are, but we have long felt that we have been overlooked, betrayed and wrongly denied our right to an NHL team of our own; perhaps for very good reasons.

Numbers were even floated during our last play to bring the Coyotes to Hamilton, alluding to the fact that Hamilton could possibly not only support a team statistically, but we might be among the top hockey markets. How can statements like these not raise our hopes and further our frustrations?

I am normally optimistic to a fault, but I don't buy that we are ready to support an NHL team. Not because we can't, but because there are possibly some wounds we need to put behind us first. It's time for a fresh start. We can't change yesterday but we can control today - right now.

I believe in us too, but there is something to be said about working for the right to be hailed one of the best. To me it's not enough to be labeled a champion if you don't know what it is to have had to work for that honor - not that we need to be awarded an NHL team to be deemed a hockey town.

I see leagues like the CFL or the AHL as being truer to what theses sports are about at their core. The CFL itself is something that is still truly Canadian in a world that seems more and more about TV ratings and million dollar salaries. The AHL is great hockey as well. These guys are working their tails off every single night in their quest to play in the big show and to hopefully find a permanent home there. Outside of fast, hard-hitting, quality entertainment, it's also affordable.

So many dream of the NHL and NFL coming to town but I am not sure everyone has stopped to think about at what cost. I myself am not so sure I care as much about being 'big league' as I do a city that is much more about being all-inclusive. If the city as a whole has its eyes set on the NHL than who am I to stop these dreams but if this is our goal, then let's stop stomping our feet in frustration over not getting what we want and feel we are deserving of. Let's earn that opportunity.

Celebrate What We Have

I do believe we are a hockey town deep down. I believe we have the passion and drive to make whatever league we chose to be about thrive here, but we need to show what we are made of now - not wait for the chance to prove it.

Greatness is in the moments where nobody is watching. Opportunity comes from showing this passion without expectation. When we forget that there is a prize at the end of the rainbow, that is when we are at our best. If we are not having fun striving for our goals, then what is the reward in achieving them? Let's celebrate being a hockey town with what we have before us. Let's fall in love with this wonderful game again together and see what happens. Not with the expectation that one day our dreams will come true, but with passion for something that is so much a part of many of us.

This way, whatever the outcome, we will have enjoyed the ride and have no regrets towards whatever the future presents us. Just memories of the times we have shared as a community.

If we were actually a hockey town, it wouldn't matter which three or four letters represent the leagues that play in this city. If we loved hockey, we would be filling stands all over this city from the Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena to see the Red Wings, Hockeyville champion J.L. Grightmire Arena in Dundas to see the Real McCoys, and selling out Copps Coliseum to see the Bulldogs.

To me, entertainment is in the atmosphere. It isn't so much about what is on the ice or on the field, as much as it is the energy. 17,000 at a Bulldogs game or 30,000 at a Tiger-Cats game, is exciting all on its own. I love being surrounded by a lot of people and the feeling that runs through my soul when the sounds of the game and the crowd are penetrating through every inch of my body. That is what sport is about: pride, passion, and community spirit.

Outdoor Classic

The Bulldogs organization have poured their heart and souls into this Outdoor Classic project as they do the entire hockey season in general each year. Today, Hamilton will join the ranks as official Outdoor Classic hosts.

This is big. The hockey world is watching us. Significant names from hockey past will be taking to the frozen pond at Ivor Wynne this evening. These alumni are likely already in town perhaps feeling out the ice surface or taking a tour of our historic old gem of a stadium. Admiring the uniqueness of a stadium nestled amongst a residential community.

So maybe we don't owe Bulldogs owner Michael Andlauer specifically by filling the few seats that still remain for Friday night and Saturday afternoon's events at Ivor Wynne, but we do owe it to ourselves. This is an opportunity to show the hockey world that our city is passionate about hockey. Are we a true hockey town or a city that feels it has something owing to us?

We are only a few hours from history taking part in our city - the first ever outdoor AHL game to ever have been played in Canada. Every year the hockey world awaits the now infamous New Year's Winter Classic games.

This may not be the NHL - the big event, the big guns, but it's a big deal for a lot of people. If you love hockey and you are in the mood for a fun evening or afternoon out, think about what purchasing a ticket for this event will add to the experience for those who for them, this is it.

They may never see a game at Fenway or Wrigley or any of the other big outdoor venues. This is their Winter Classic event, the one they will tell their grandkids about.

We all know that there is something more special about a sold out event, over one with lots' of empty seats. If not for yourself, give these events a chance with the thought in mind of what this weekend means to others.

Our Fenway

I have made the eight-hour drive to see hockey played outdoors at Fenway Park. I know I compared Ivor Wynne to Fenway a lot during the Great Stadium Debate and I also know in many ways they are nothing alike, but it is our Fenway. It's our historic old stadium, home to our storied Tiger-Cats.

Ivor Wynne will be brought to the ground at the end of the 2012 CFL season, to be replaced with new sporting memories. This weekend we start our goodbyes. Let's do it in style. Let's pack this beautiful east end venue for every 2012 event. The name Ivor Wynne, alone, deserves the honor of going down with a packed-house for a possible 13 sporting events this year.

So come start the goodbyes with me, won't you? I truly believe that Friday and Saturday and from now until the fall, your time spent amongst the hallowed grounds of 75 Balsam Avenue North, will be memories you, your children, your family, friends and co-workers, won't soon forget.

I am looking forward to this weekend either way including skating on that outdoor rink next Tuesday with my kids for a free public skate the Bulldogs are hosting that afternoon.

Later that evening, I will also be donning my hockey gear with some friends as we remember the dreams of stardom from our hockey youths in a little Winter Classic match of our own.

It's been fun checking into the Live webcam view of our Outdoor Classic rink. What a treat it's been to see the lights of Ivor Wynne reaching over the rooftops of my neighborhood in a usually otherwise dark, gloomy month of January.

I can't wait for the city to come alive again this weekend. Winters on the outside looking into Ivor Wynne are long. I see the light standards over the rooftops as my transit commute to Burlington starts and ends down Barton Street every day.

Even when the talks of football are more or less quiet in Hamilton, it's somewhat comforting having that reminder in constant view that we are another day closer to a new CFL season.

When you live by something such as this and pass by it often while walking the dog or driving by with the kids in the car pointing out, "there is the football stadium, daddy" resting there in all its quiet glory, you grow fond of this old masterpiece and the courteous neighborhood that has welcomed it into their hearts for many generations.

It's one thing to see it jammed and full of life. It's when all the Argo's suck and Oskee Wee Wee chants have faded away that the true beauty in what stands before you is best appreciated.

It may be old, it may not architecturally be Fenway Park, but it is beautiful in ways I am not even sure this long-winded writer can truly portray through words.

More information:

Embed code for live web cam:

Larry Pattison is a local blogger, life-long resident of Hamilton, and father to two amazing girls. Larry is a former HWDSB Trustees for Ward 3.


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By JM (registered) | Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:54:03

"but it is beautiful in ways I am not even sure this long-winded writer can truly portray through words"

well said - it will be sad to see it go (but i will make sure i am there to watch it come down). the "new" ivor wynne will never be able to provide the atmosphere of the old. however, i will always have the memories ...and the piece of bench from section 28, row G that i took home after it crumbled, and took me down!

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:59:36

:) It will be very sad and I will be there with my kids as well. Funny story about your seat. I think instead of 'shirts off our backs', they should call it 'seats under your butts' day that final game. Take your chair with you. lol Saws provided.

Or being more realistic, they could have a box you place your game ticket in with your phone number on it, and they will frame your seat for you with the seat number on your ticket. :)

Comment edited by lawrence on 2012-01-20 12:02:25

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By George (registered) | Posted January 20, 2012 at 12:28:45

I've tried the Bulldogs and AHL many times over the last several years. Tried to get interested because I like hockey and Hamilton, but I could not. I'd rather stay home to watch NHL on TV. Love the Ti-Cats and go to many games.

As much as I'd love NHL in Hamilton, and I've put money down when Balsillie asked for deposits, I'm not sure why the author of the article thinks Hamilton has a right to NHL hockey. Of course Hamilton does not have that right.

Only the number of tickets sold can help determine if they're over priced. I'm not willing to pay the price they are asking for, for AHL hockey, and yes, those letters do matter to me.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 20, 2012 at 13:15:27 in reply to Comment 73203

Well it's hard to argue with a comment that talks about a love for Hamilton and the Cats and someone who supported Balsillie's bid to bring hockey here.

I did not say that I felt Hamilton had a right though. I said there is this underlying persona that we deserve a team.

As for prices, $26 for an adult ticket and $20 for a student/senior ticket. Cheapest ticket for the Maple Leafs is $27 - all these prices assume you avoid Ticketmaster's outlandish 'service' charges. I imagine you are standing at Air Canada Centre near the roof for $27 - if you can even get a ticket.

$29.50 for a bronze level ticket if you go right to the Dogs office for the Outdoor Classic. They should possibly have sold endzone seats for $5 or $10 bucks just for the thrill of being there even if you can't see much of the on-ice action.

I know when I was at Fenway and yes, it was also my first time there, but I spent more time looking around at the whole setup and the nostalgia of it all than watching the game.

Would it be great if the AHL was more like the CFL where you didn't have players going up and down all the time and sometimes in the middle of a playoff series? Ya, a Canadian hockey league version of the CFL would be awesome. Or even if owners could find their own talent without an NHL affiliate maybe?

I have been to a Stanley Cup game and a Calder Cup game and I am here to tell you the Calder Cup was better in that it was OUR team vying for that title. I won't lie in saying I would have loved to see the Bruins last spring and seeing Ray Bourque score in game three of the Cup finals in Jersey was a highlight of my hockey loving career but when it's your team in the big show, those three letters suddenly don't mean much.

If I was to pick one thing I didn't like about the AHL - at least in Hamilton, it would be all the empty seats. Fill those, and how different an experience is it?

You can take a family of 4 to a game on Sunday I believe it is, for $60 which includes tickets and snacks. Where the heck are you going to see great hockey for that price?

If you and a buddy go to a family day game where you were hoping to enjoy a few beers over some hockey than ya, I can see your point in your experience but on a week night with a packed house, can you tell me you wouldn't enjoy that? Sure a pakced house right now is only 9,000 but if the demand was there, that would change and then how's that change the dynamic.

We start selling 13-17,000 tics a game and it possibly won't be long before Gary Bettman starts seeing dollar signs where once there were question marks behind blind folds.

I am no hockey analyst. Just a guy who loves hockey and this city. I just want hockey to be a huge thing here and for me, it could be college hockey if it became all the craze in Canada like 100,000+ thousand crazy college fans in Michigan attending an outdoor game. (Thanks Adrian at Town Halls Hamilton for that great link.)

Maybe the Dogs need to drop prices? Maybe it's a good question to pose to the masses, but I think quality is in numbers. Many NHL markets are proof that just because you have a 'professional' team, doesn't mean there is even a half-way decent product on the ice. Or field or diamond or court for that matter. Our teams can't always be good. Look at the Cats for way too long.

My feeling is that if you love something, it's about the experience. Not about who wins. Sometimes we even go to a bad concert or play and yes we may not go see 'that' play or band again, we might also encourage others not to attend, but we probably still had a nice evening out getting all dressed up and the time away from work or the kids and an overall nice adult evening out. Dinner might have still been good. Drinks and dancing afterwards the same.

I am rambling but if anything else, this outdoor classic is totally worth taking a 'chance' on. Even the Marlies are excited about this game as well as impressed with what they have seen and witnessed first hand, of our ice surface.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2012-01-20 13:53:33

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted January 20, 2012 at 14:08:03 in reply to Comment 73204

1. Please keep it short when you write something. You have a lot of important things to say and it gets lost in the rambling.

2. "I said there is this underlying persona that we deserve a team."

Not sure what that is supposed to mean. The fact that we only draw 3,000 for AHL hockey sends a loud message that Hamiltonians are not capable of supporting NHL.

3. "we are truly lucky, in a city of half a million residents, to have facilities like Copps and Ivor Wynne and countless others."

Its not luck that we have those facilities, its tax dollars, paid by overburdened taxpaying Hamiltonians.

4. "We are only a few hours from history taking part in our city - the first ever outdoor AHL game to ever have been played in Canada"

Really? Historic? Are you kidding me? Please give all this nonsense a rest. It is an outdoor hockey game for God's sake. Nothing more, nothing less. Go and have a good time (I may even join you), but stop making this into something it is not. Ouside of Hamilton this is getting no attention.

Personally, I don't want the NHL in Hamilton. The league doesn't want Hamilton. It is a garbage league full of goons. All I care about are the TiCats and McMaster football. These guys are not pampered athletes and deserve our support not some untalented hockey goon getting $2million per year to give other players concussions.

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By George (registered) | Posted January 20, 2012 at 15:03:46 in reply to Comment 73205

AHL is not an indication of NHL interest. If it were Toronto would not have a team either. The experts have chimed in, as have fans with deposits (more than once) NHL in Hamilton is a guaranteed success. It will draw from all over southern Ontario.

BTW, 10,000 tickets, half of what's sold, have been sold to people from outside of Hamilton

source :

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted January 20, 2012 at 15:33:01 in reply to Comment 73208

A fair comment on the deposits Hamiltonians made in the past. Perhaps I will retract that point I made and replace it with something like this:

"Hamiltonians who would like to see the NHL in their city do themselves a disservice when they fail to support their local AHL franchise in adequate numbers."

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted January 20, 2012 at 17:52:57 in reply to Comment 73209

I have to agree with this. Even if the NHL sees Hamilton as a lucrative hockey market, they need to see it as a lucrative hockey market for a good long time.

The Manitoba Moose (Winnipeg's old AHL team) were consistently drawing over 7000 and perpetually 2nd in attendance (only to the Hershey Bears who are the AHL's oldest, most successful franchise with 15 Calder Cup wins). Supporting the

Supporting the Bulldogs in no way hurts Hamilton's NHL case and the energy of a rabid fanbase is the sort of thing that draws a team. Hamilton has shown that with the Tiger-Cats (even if they aren't the largest fanbase like Saskchewan), it's yet to happen with the Bulldogs, hopefully this will be a turning point.

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By George (registered) | Posted January 20, 2012 at 15:46:45 in reply to Comment 73209

Largely irrelevant as the NHL recognizes Hamilton as a lucrative market.

The NHL put a price tag of between $261 million and $279 on the value of a hockey team in Hamilton, and a franchise there would be among the top five in league revenues, according to confidential documents that were released in court ...

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted January 21, 2012 at 11:31:09 in reply to Comment 73211

My sense is that the league values the market, not the city. If we landed a team – correction, franchise – Copps would potentially be no more than a way station. There is always a strong likelihood of a suburban arena – Stoney Creek, Glanbrook, Ancaster, Dundas (Hockeyville), Flamborough, even Burlington. There are almost as many defunct Canadian teams as there are viable Canadian teams. The fact that they still drive regal profits for the remainder of the league only underlines the point. Moneyed clientele matter more than quixotic searches for antique jerseys and soft-focus sports history lessons. This is business, pure and simple.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 20, 2012 at 14:33:24 in reply to Comment 73205

  1. Point taken

  2. We think of ourselves as an NHL city already. 3,000 at a Dogs game has nothing to do with capability. I think we are capable if we want to.

I am not sure I want a team here either but I love going to hockey and watching it on TV and talking about it and following it so if we can create all of that, that 'sense' means more than what league it is.

All of these concussions are ticking me off. Crosby is not my favorite player only because I follow the Bruins but he is an amazing player and is as equally great for our modern games as Lemieux and Gretzky were to my era. It's gotta stop. I'd rather forgo checking and enjoy the game for what it's best known - it's speed. Not sure what the balance is but yeah, I tend to lean the same way.

  1. I get your point but I am pretty sure I have gotten my tax dollars worth in time and memories. I know that's a loaded answer but I think you know I would rather see us upgrade facilities rather than tear down and build new. We are lucky to have them. Let's take care of them because it's not fair for those who do not use them, to have to pay for new facilities because we don't care for or properly promote them to help make them affordable city assets.

  2. History is of your minds creation. Try reading some of the stories The Spec has been releasing. I have always been a fan of our sports writers and they have done a great job really helping us to see the value in this and what it means to the players and especially kids in this city who have had the opportunity so far to enjoy this ice surface.

Also, I am sure there are those 'outside' of Hamilton who are talking about this event. Will all of North America be tuned in on Saturday? Perhaps not likely, but it is history in the making - our history.

That's all that matters.

In closing, it's not the 'league' that doesn't want to be a part of Hamilton because those that truly matter within the NHL - who still represents the true roots of this game, do see the value in the NHL setting up shop here.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2012-01-20 14:36:34

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted January 20, 2012 at 15:36:34 in reply to Comment 73206

Like you I followed hockey like a religion back in the Gretzky-Lemieux era. There are not very many stars today.

Love of NHL started to go down hill for me after Ottawa was awarded a franchise over Hamilton. I think that was back in 1991. It left a bitter taste in my mouth that I haven't been able to get rid of.

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By George (registered) | Posted January 20, 2012 at 15:50:25 in reply to Comment 73210

after Ottawa was awarded a franchise over Hamilton. I think that was back in 1991. It left a bitter taste in my mouth that I haven't been able to get rid of.

That pissed me off to no end. I love the NHL game again since they`ve clamped down on the holding, obstruction and interference.

Can`t stand the business of the NHL, their Board of Governors (as a collective) and Gary Bettman.

The game is great.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:15:52 in reply to Comment 73212

I felt exactly the same way when Ottawa stole our team, I didn't just let my distaste sour my love of the NHL I also swore to never visit Ottawa again.

The entire Crosby situation makes me feel like I can't even allow myself to thing about it. It is the biggest shame to the sports by far. Players like Sid come around only one every generation and we won't get to enjoy watching him rush the ice. I actually think he could've been better than The Great One, personally I enjoyed Sid's style more.

Get Well Sid, you don't owe it to us to play, get your health back.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 20, 2012 at 15:58:39 in reply to Comment 73212

You know, if Bettman wants to gain back a little respect, he should stand down from events like presenting the Stanley Cup. When an entire arena boos him each year, it says something.

Why not let the guy who carry's the cup everywhere, speak to the trophy he polishes and guards with his life. I've heard him talk. He would do well and we'd actually listen to him.

In Bettman's 'defence', perhaps nobody in his position would be a huge fan favourite but I for one feel his time has come to pass.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 20, 2012 at 14:55:09

We're treating this as a big event."

Comment edited by lawrence on 2012-01-20 14:55:23

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 22, 2012 at 11:21:23

I will miss the old stadium, but I can't wait for the new one, it will be awesome. The more I think about it, from all the options available for a location, I think we made the right decision building it on the old stadium site. It's the only way we could've been able to afford a new first class stadium, Not a BMO Field, but a true multi-purpose first class stadium. And in the grit of a Code Red area is embracing city-building. The architects are going to have fun with it, watch for something more, a wow-factor from the design, it'll make us proud.

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By RightSaidFred (registered) | Posted January 23, 2012 at 17:27:12 in reply to Comment 73229

Multi-purpose???? Really? what else is going to happen at the New Ivor Wynne besides the Cats' games?

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 23, 2012 at 18:19:16 in reply to Comment 73268

Soccer, concerts, high school football, outdoor hockey, track, highland games.

I don't understand why people want it to fail? Because it didn't get built where they wanted it? I don't understand that logic. The reason why concerts don't happen now, is because it wasn't kept up to modern code. The stadium whether WH or Ivor was always pitched as multi-use. It's going to be an awesome stadium, completely unique in terms of size and outdoor for a venue in pretty much all of Ontario. It's a different venue than BMO and Rogers, nothing like it will exist in 519 or Niagara, it will get plenty of use.

Comment edited by TreyS on 2012-01-23 18:26:21

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By drb (registered) - website | Posted January 24, 2012 at 13:39:22 in reply to Comment 73269

Ah, sorry, no track either. BY and the Ti-Cats nixed the track because it took away from the up-close football experience. Pan Am track went to York U instead.

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By RightSaidFred (registered) | Posted January 24, 2012 at 12:27:53 in reply to Comment 73269

"not kept up to modern code"? So it is safe for football games and not for concerts? C'mon. Pull my other leg and it plays jingle bells! P.S. Highland Games? Are you serious or was that a joke? As someone who has family in Antigonish NS, I would love to see a Highland Games come to town - I would be the first person in line for the Pole Tossing event. And please let me be clear, I do not want this to fail. This is my money going into it as well as all of us, to say I want it to fail is being narrowminded. I don't like Bob Young for the way he held a gun to the city's head and I will voice that displeasure by not going to a Tiger-Cat game as long as he is the owner but I do want a return on my investment for this stadium, so having said this I believe it better well be assumed this venue will be multi purpose so we the tax payer can hope to see this place turn a profit at some level.

Comment edited by RightSaidFred on 2012-01-24 12:35:27

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By the reason there are no concerts (anonymous) | Posted January 23, 2012 at 18:49:36 in reply to Comment 73269

wow, where to begin. Its a zoning issue that isn't going away easily. Say concert in that area and you'll still get Pink Floyd coming up. Locals are very much opposed to the multi-use definition you are proposing

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 23, 2012 at 19:04:39 in reply to Comment 73270

I'm trying to find where it says anything that it is zoning that is preventing concerts. As if there is a zoning bylaw, one for professional football and a separate zone for concerts, as if they wouldn't fall into the same zone, land-use.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 23, 2012 at 18:52:49 in reply to Comment 73270

Ok we'll see.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 22, 2012 at 15:57:44 in reply to Comment 73229

For $150 million, you should be exactly right. Anything less than spectacular will have me questioning if certain individuals are pocketing some of our cash.

Rio Tinto - $115 million

Red Bull Stadium - $200 million for over 25,000 seats

Livestrong Sporting Park - $165 million

There is NO reason why we shouldn't end up with a stadium with the quality and design of these examples.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 22, 2012 at 19:03:58 in reply to Comment 73233

Those are great examples. We better get something comparable.

How much to tear down the existing? $10mil, since we don't need land remediation or purchase costs, and design is usually about 15% of the build cost, we're looking at 120$mil for construction. I'd be thrilled forever if we build something like Rio Tinto. And I firmly believe it will be much more than 22,500 seats, that's the minimum requirement, any of the three designers will be pitching a much larger capacity. I hope BY throws down 10$mil to build something special, he mentioned about moving Ti-Cats admin offices there, that would keep people working in there all the time. And I hope the Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame builds a museum and we have some decent F&B venues beyond hotdogs and beer but some sit down full service. The Canadian Football HoF might be a good move too.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 22, 2012 at 19:45:41 in reply to Comment 73235

A lot of this will depend on what happens with the Scott Park site and LRT in my opinion. They'd be crazy to operate a sit-down sports bar for 9 Cat games a year. BUT if we get a dense, mixed-use project at Scott Park and a stadium design that allows for concerts, soccer, X-games would make perfect sense to have a full sports-bar/lounge...maybe even one that overlooks the field. I can't help but expect to be underwhelmed since BY has only seemed to care about parking lots and using tax money so far. This needs to be a legacy project that can spur new development nearby in Code Red, and right on a future LRT stop (once we get a new administration that steps back into the 21st Century like our previous one). LRT plans call for a station at Scott Park. Think of the potential spin-off on King if the stadium can be used for way more than football. I still have dreams of MLS someday, but probably not until we get a new owner or partner. Regular concerts need to be part of the project too. All the soccer stadiums I've been reading about in the US have stages built right into them. CFL and MLS aren't enough to make a stadium profitable. It needs the other events. If the entire 'precinct' from King right up to the stadium can become a vibrant, full-time neighbourhood with condos, apartments, office space, street retail, GOOD public space/patio space etc.... we could see a sports bar operate full time. I'm sure locals would love a nice clean spot to watch games and meet friends.

It needs to have a good plaza/piazza entry that connects seamlessly from King Street.

But again, I'm not getting my hopes up. I'm expecting every square inch of land between King and the stadium to be a parking lot.

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By LRT really? (anonymous) | Posted January 22, 2012 at 20:50:33

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 22, 2012 at 21:33:38 in reply to Comment 73237

Oh right, I forgot. Cities spend millions on LRT because of all the empty storefronts they produce nearby. My bad.

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By no (registered) | Posted January 22, 2012 at 21:46:04 in reply to Comment 73238

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By George (registered) | Posted January 23, 2012 at 00:21:30 in reply to Comment 73239

Ummm... hello?

It's been stated many times that there zalready exists ridership for a B-Line LRT, and as far as jobs go...

What makes you think there are no people or jobs?

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 23, 2012 at 07:59:49 in reply to Comment 73240

My bad for feeding the troll.....

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By if all that exists (anonymous) | Posted January 23, 2012 at 06:47:55

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By RB (registered) | Posted January 23, 2012 at 13:08:28 in reply to Comment 73241

You may have been downvoted a lot, but I find it hard to argue this point:

"There needs to be a reason to attract new residents to the area and the number one on that list is jobs. Right now that route simply doesn't provide incentive to higher income people to move there but it does offer plenty of reasons for them not to"

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By George (registered) | Posted January 23, 2012 at 15:44:23 in reply to Comment 73258

Did you not read the link posted above re: downtown jobs? They're there.

All the more reason for B-Line LRT

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By George (registered) | Posted January 26, 2012 at 15:13:32 in reply to Comment 73265

More job growth in downtown Hamilton, by Ken Mann 1/26/2012

More people are working in the city core.

The City of Hamilton's downtown employment survey shows that 330 new jobs were created last year, bringing total employment in the core to just under 24 thousand people. Employment within "creative" industries grew by 20%.

Manager of Urban Renewal Glen Norton says other sectors are showing positive growth as well, such as health care, social services and education. North adds that another key is that 75% of that growth is private sector, jobs that create taxes and spin-off opportunities.

He also stresses that they continue to recieve inquiries from companies looking to relocate from the GTA due in large part to affordable commercial property in downtown Hamilton.

The growth in the Creative Industries sector includes animation studios locating/expanding in the core, such as Pipeline Studios, Huminah Huminah, Chuck Gammage and Elliott Animation; the growth in education (165 new jobs) includes the National Academy of Health and Business, College Boreal, the existing McMaster Downtown Centre and the reopened Dr. J. Edgar Davey Public School.

Comment edited by George on 2012-01-26 15:15:31

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 23, 2012 at 13:44:24 in reply to Comment 73258

I think if you look at the homes in this area - especially those south of King, many homes alone make it an area 'money' would move to. The age, size, and character of many of these old homes in itself makes it an attractive area. Add the beautiful view of the escarpment, all the old trees rising above the rooftops, and what we are looking to do within the stadium surroundings, and I think the area is a hidden gem.

I'd also think more jobs right in the core would be the answer and not necessarily by all this residential. I'd personally love to be able to work downtown so transit in this scenerio, would be the most important issue. Ever ride the Barton? It runs every 10 minutes but they seem to put the oldest, dirtiest, poorly laid out, leak on a rainy day, buses along that route. Have we ever thought of running the LRT along Barton? A car each way along the centre and extend the sidewalks to it - no vehicles? How would that encourage the growth if it suddenly become a very pedestrian friendly, LRT-lined corridor? Close off every other residential street on north and south sides of LRT line to create a subdivision-type feel. Make these communities more residential friendly and avoid the north-south through way feel that many streets including mine, currently posses. Do this along Cannon as well on the opposite streets. You'd still be able to cross Barton but at least say from Ottawa Street to James, it could be LRT/bike lanes only. This would lead you right into the Barton/Tiffany/new GO station area. From Rheem to Fruitland?

If we'd support projects such as the one proposed at the old church on Main Street, condos with street level store fronts, the viability of LRT and a GO stop near the stadium would plan themselves. Why are we narrow-mindedly getting in the way of these types of projects?

I'd like to see a large sports shop or something setting up shop at the Stadium Mall. When we left Fenway during the Winter Classic, we started off spending a good half and hour or so browsing this huge shop usually packed full of Red Sox gear, that had been loaded with Classic gear. Then of course as many mention, there are bars and restaurants everywhere.

I personally think this project will surprise and I of course have no credentials to back up my words but I think a lot of people want to see this turn a lot of things around from the game experience to the state of the area in general.

A Sportsnet reporter stated that Ivor Wynne was 'downtown' during Saturday's broadcast which I started watching yesterday to get a different angle of the game. 'Downtown'. Barton, King, Ottawa Street, and Main have the landscape to extend downtown.

Perhaps if we stop looking at the stadium community as 'Ward 3' or lower city suburbia, and more of an extension of downtown, we can see this whole project from a different light. We have a small downtown. Is there the capability to truly extend that over the next 10 years or so?

From what I have read of the LRT arguments, it seems waiting for just the right amount of existing development to build it might be backward thinking when the opportunity is standing right before us as a catalyst for the change in landscape we are seeking.

For everyone that is pro LRT and anit-stadium, perhaps this can be the 'thing' that drives Light Rail for us. Let's push to create something extraordinary within the stadium district. Stop looking back and get involved with the same passion portrayed during the West Harbour campaign. Be a part of transforming a 'Code Red' neighborurhood to a vibrant, thriving one. If for nothing else, than it could help us sell our need for LRT. That feature would add so much to this project as would a Gage GO stop. Forget the Centennial 'Walmart' stop. Let's strive for stadium/Ottawa Street stop.

What happened this weekend and looking at Cleveland as a model, could we not offer this type of winter entertainment all the time at the new digs? Yearly Labour Day type matchups between the Dogs and Marlies. Yearly OAU games or minor hockey league tournaments. Public skates and ice rentals for shinny and such.

The key to this is all year use or other facilities/amenities that will make the area an all-year attraction. ie. Hamilton Sports Hall of Fame and Canadian Football Hall of Fame locating to the area. Not to mention Tiger-Town and even more of a Centre Mall type store as it was when it was Cats and Dogs to offer a more wide-ranging selection of sports gear. Arena, pool, stadium, baseball diamonds. It's a sports district. It shouldn't be too hard to build off of that.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2012-01-23 14:06:42

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 23, 2012 at 14:56:17 in reply to Comment 73262

A Sportsnet reporter stated that Ivor Wynne was 'downtown' during Saturday's broadcast which I started watching yesterday to get a different angle of the game. 'Downtown'. Barton, King, Ottawa Street, and Main have the landscape to extend downtown. Perhaps if we stop looking at the stadium community as 'Ward 3' or lower city suburbia, and more of an extension of downtown, we can see this whole project from a different light. We have a small downtown. Is there the capability to truly extend that over the next 10 years or so?

You are so bang here it's not even funny. I tell people all the time to go ride the Queen streetcar in TO. Or check out how long and urban King Street is. Or College, Danforth etc..... Of course Sportsnet thinks the stadium is 'downtown' because they are from Toronto where the urban corridors that radiate from their downtown have the same urban feel, albeit with more family homes and low density than right downtown. How often have you heard someone say "I live in downtown Toronto - in the Beaches or High Park" etc.... Hamilton's King and Main can, and should have the same commercial vibrancy across their entire lengths someday. The housing stock is spectacular, and don't forget - this isn't some forgotten wasteland - house prices on the nicer streets continue to rise rapidly after all these years.

Two-way conversions, or street calming along with LRT, friendly sidewalks, trees and flexible zoning could see King Street become our Queen in the next 15 years. Various neighbourhoods all with their own vibe and flair, linked with LRT and full of street-front shopping that supports the neighbourhood makeup.

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By George (registered) | Posted January 23, 2012 at 08:31:15 in reply to Comment 73241


Google is your friend.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 23, 2012 at 19:23:34

Ok. It's Zoned P3 - Commercial Entertainment.

That same zoning that allows for CFL Football, allows for concerts, much the same as Bayfront Park can host a weekend-long outdoor Mardi Gras concert.

It'll have concerts, probably lots of them, as it will be a unique venue for most of Ontario. It was pitched multi-use and it will be. Thanks

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 23, 2012 at 20:37:11 in reply to Comment 73273

'Mindfull of area residents." That is what was stated when Bernie and council approved two major concerts there over the past 10 years. Not sure why 1st one didn't happen but they didn't approve the 400,000 in funding to make the stadium concert ready. Egress from field being one of issues. Likely would have made that investment back and then some by now. Could have had a proper concert after saturdays game perhaps and one to close out the long history this summer to celebrate the old places history.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2012-01-23 20:47:31

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By George (registered) | Posted January 23, 2012 at 20:31:46 in reply to Comment 73273

IIRC, it was building/safety codes that prohibited concerts, not zoning.

The new stadium will address that.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted January 23, 2012 at 23:22:07

Can't say I agree with a lot in this article.

My girlfriend was asking if I wanted to go to either of the games last weekend, and I said I wasn't interested. Why? Because I wasn't going to pay more money than I would to see a game at Copps with the added downsides of cheaper seating, significantly colder, poorer sight lines, not knowing what the weather would be like, and so on.

Does Hamilton deserve an NHL team? Maybe, but probably not. I'd say that Hamilton's track record of wanting one of everything, begging and pleading to get it, then failing to support it and watching it leave (see just about every sport that's ever had a team in Hamilton) has something to do with it. Me? I just go an hour down the road to Buffalo to see the Leafs play. Something my dad and me have done going back 10 years now. Spend the day doing some shopping, a nice dinner, catch up on life, then watch the game. The crowds are usually about 50/50 Toronto/Buffalo or sometimes more like 75/25.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted January 24, 2012 at 14:34:12 in reply to Comment 73277

I had a similar thought.

If you stop and think about it the outdoor classic was a bit of a sad affair.

20,000 people choose to pay more money to watch the bulldogs in the cold, in an uncomfortable stadium, seated far from the action. Yet the next bulldogs game at copps will draw about 3,200.

Sad indeed. People only seem to care more about the hype rather than the substance.

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By George (registered) | Posted January 24, 2012 at 14:42:17

Disagree. having gone to the outdoor classic, there was a lot more substance that made that game an event.

It was special.

I wasn't sure I was going to go, but I'm really glad I did. It was a far better of an experience than I expected or imagined.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted January 24, 2012 at 21:08:40 in reply to Comment 73287

So based on that experience, will you be going to more indoor games? Buy season tickets? Support your hometown teams?

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By George (registered) | Posted January 25, 2012 at 01:15:05 in reply to Comment 73293

Yes, no, yes

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By Jeff_Stock (registered) | Posted January 25, 2012 at 15:46:22

I just purchased tickets to the Marlies/Bulldogs game this coming Friday. Considering the ridiculous cost for Leafs tickets I figured this would be a great opportunity to see some players in action and hype a TO/Hamilton rivalry with my girlfriend.

It will be interesting to attend this game and observe the attendance numbers, considering what people have been saying here. It strikes me as unusual that more people wouldn't visit more Bulldogs games, especially Canadiens fans in the city. How amazing would it have been to watch P.K. Subban step up for Montreal during their playoff push a couple years ago?

Perhaps the increase of people who are rediscovering the joys of urbanity and moving back into the downtown core will coincide with a rise in attendance levels.

Comment edited by Jeff_Stock on 2012-01-25 15:48:43

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 25, 2012 at 16:31:36 in reply to Comment 73310

Not to mention watching Carey Price develop here. If only I knew who Tim Thomas

45 goals against in 15 games with the dogs (6-8 record), versus 112 GA in 57 games over the Stanley Cup winning 2010-2011 season with the Bruins.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2012-01-25 17:01:40

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By George (registered) | Posted January 25, 2012 at 15:58:42 in reply to Comment 73310

And I hear that Friday home games have $3 beer!

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 27, 2012 at 23:05:54

An article titled "Games changer: City's Pan Am sites on budget bubble" by Matthew Van Dongen on the tonight quotes Toronto 2015 CEO Ian Troop as saying that "Hamilton continues to be an important part of the Games." and Van Dongen reports that the Ivor Wynne Stadium rebuild is not affected by the Pan Am venue reorganization:

Meanwhile, on her Talk 640 radio show tonight, Arlene Bynon interviewed Ian Troop about the plan to change 60% of the venue setup for the Pan Am Games into a cluster format. He said the business plan was submitted to the federal and provincial governments in July, 2011 and they have now verbally approved it. Nothing was mentioned about Hamilton during her interview with Troop. However, Bynon then interviewed former Olympic bid organizer Paul Henderson. At the 27:38 mark of the recording of the show (Click "Bynon: 2012-01-27, Hour 3"), Henderson said the plan to build a new Ivor Wynne Stadium has been withdrawn because the federal and provincial governments recently told Troop to cut his Pan Am budget.

Hopefully, Matthew Van Dongen or Emma Reilly can interview Henderson as soon as possible to find out how he can state with such certainty that the Ivor Wynne Stadium rebuild has been taken out of the 2015 Pan Am plans and reinterview Troop to specify what role Hamilton will play in the Games.

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2012-01-28 00:30:35

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 28, 2012 at 12:05:30

While we wait for clarification from Toronto 2015 on its reworked venue plan, this excerpt from an article titled "Pan Am Games set for big venue changes" by Robyn Dolittle posted on the Toronto Star website two days ago on Jan 26/12 raises some uncertainty about the status of the Ivor Wynne Stadium project:

"Troop refused to comment on the financial specifics but the Star obtained a recent provincial financial report that suggests the TO 2015 group is within about $20 Million of the original 2009 figure: $1,428,569,000.

According to the confidential report, the total expenditure for the Games will be $1,505,230,621. Subtract the Markham-funded fieldhouse and the provincially funded Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton, and the total net spending is $1,448,970,621."

This passage can be interpreted in one of two ways:

  1. The provincial funding for Ivor Wynne Stadium is being accounted for separately from the TO2015 budget, or
  2. The Ivor Wynne Stadium funding is being cut from the TO2015 budget.

And then there are two articles today about the plan to restructure the Pan Am venues, neither of which mention the new Hamilton stadium:

"Pan Am Games venues to be arranged in eight clusters" by James Christie in today's Globe and Mail:

“What the #!%*? A change of venues for the Pan Am Games” by Kristin Annable in today’s National Post:

There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear. Stay tuned.

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2012-01-28 12:36:55

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 28, 2012 at 12:18:32 in reply to Comment 73446

Just a guess mind you, but I'm going with interpretation #1, and Paul Henderson jumped the gun.

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted February 05, 2012 at 11:37:27

Ian Troop was interviewed by Bob McCown on The Fan 590 radio on Jan 30/12. Although he did not specifically mention Hamilton or the stadium, he did say that the "Big 5" Pan Am sports venue construction projects are still on. He also said that an announcement about the location of the eight clusters and the events to be held at each cluster should happen within the next month. ttp://

One would guess that the epicentre of five of the eight clusters will be located at the sites of "Big 5" builds, including the new Hamilton stadium.

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2012-02-05 11:41:38

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