HAMILTON - Playing at McMaster University next year is out for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but owner Bob Young says the CFL team will attempt to keep its home games next year as close to Steeltown as possible.
The 2012 campaign will be the Ticats' final one at Ivor Wynne Stadium. At season's end, the facility will be replaced by a Pan Am Games stadium, forcing the CFL team to play all of its 2013 home games outside of Hamilton.
The new stadium is schedule to open in 2014 in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games.
Ideally, the Ticats were hoping to play some of their 2013 scheduled home games at Ron Joyce Stadium, home of the defending Vanier Cup-champion McMaster Marauders. But on Thursday, school officials told the Hamilton club it couldn't play any portion of next season on campus.
The has forced the Ticats to look at alternative venues for 2013. One site that has been mention is TD Waterhouse at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont. The facility has a seating capacity of roughly 8,000 but in 2002 a sellout of 9,178 spectators took in a CFL exhibition game between Hamilton and the Toronto Argonauts.
The year before, temporary seating boosted capacity to about 16,000 there for the Canada Summer Games.
What's more, Western head football coach Greg Marshall is a former Ticats head coach.
"Our preferred solution was to play many of our 2013 home games in Hamilton at McMaster’s Ron Joyce Stadium," Young said in a letter to Ticats fans on the club's website. ''Unfortunately, yesterday McMaster University officials concluded they will be unable to accommodate us.
"This was disappointing to us as our goal was to find a location as convenient to our fans as possible.''
Young added the Ticats will look to play as close to Hamilton as they can.
"The Tiger-Cats remain steadfast in our commitment to keep our home games as close to Hamilton as possible, and fortunately, we have plenty of time to find a positive solution for our fans," Young said. "We will continue to work on a resolution for next season and will fully communicate our plan once it is finalized in the coming months.
"We plan to find a solution that will provide our fans with the ability to support their beloved Ticats while putting our team in position for another successful year on the field in 2013.''