When I was young, my introduction to football was the Buffalo Bills and I was hooked for life. Eventually in my college years at Mohawk in Hamilton, Ontario, I was introduced to the Tiger Cats. The games were great and the ticket prices were right up my alley as a university student. The “Oskie Wee Wee, Oskie Waa Waa…” chant was an awesome thing to take in as a fan, and still is to this day.
In the early 90’s, I made the move from Southern Ontario to Moncton, New Brunswick. Essentially leaving the Ti-Cats and the CFL in the past… because at that time, the Buffalo Bills were one of the hottest teams in the NFL (well in the regular season anyways…) and the CFL had very little exposure on the East coast.
In 2006 I ended up becoming a New Brunswick Football official, learning the X’s and O’s of the Canadian Football game. I later joined the CIS (now USports) panel and routinely get to see the Canadian game at much quicker pace. I’ve become a huge fan of USports Football and I promote the AUS conference to every football fan I run into. I urge them to get down and see a game at Mount Allison, the closest AUS school to us here in Moncton.
In 2016 I become a hobby podcaster, covering a wide array of football leagues and topics. In 2017 my podcast partner Andy Jardine suggested we try a podcast aimed strictly at the CFL. This turned out to be a great idea and we gained traction very quickly with CFL fans across the country. In 2017, my wife and I attended our first Grey Cup in Ottawa and saw a Toronto Argos victory that I will never forget. I instantly fell in love with the CFL and the city of Ottawa.
Then, something I couldn’t believe happened. Rumours started surfacing that a group of businessmen were going to bring a franchise to Atlantic Canada and it would be named the Atlantic Schooners. I was all in right from the beginning, putting in my deposit on season tickets, going to the Randy Road shows in Halifax, and to the press conference in Moncton when they announced the location of 2019’s Touch Down Atlantic game.
I had great conversations with Anthony Leblanc and Randy Ambroise here in Moncton about not only our podcast, but also the coverage that podcasts across the country give fans that are looking for info on the CFL from any medium.
Now fast forward to June, 2019. As I already mentioned, I have my tickets purchased for the Touch Down Atlantic game, and I should be pumped right? But I almost find myself feeling depressed trying to be a CFL fan… let me tell you why:
The Touchdown Atlantic Game
A for the game itself, I am hearing all kinds of negativity about the game not even being close to a sell out. I do not see any semblance of a marketing push by the Schooners, Argos, Allouettes, or even the CFL. This game makes me very nervous about the fate of the Schooners if Moncton does not come through and sell out this game.
The Atlantic Schooners
I know that the Halifax city council is still going through their process, trying to see if building a stadium is a decision that they should follow through on. I also know the Schooners have released statements that a future decision will be coming by late summer.
The CFL’s opening week is only days away and I want to feel pumped for the start of the season… I want to start following the stories and playing fantasy football. But instead of feeling pumped, I am feeling more depressed… almost like a wannabe fan.
I want to see the Schooners come to fruition so that I can finally be part of a CFL fan base here in Atlantic Canada. To develop relationships with fans from across the maritimes cheering for our Home Team, at the same time developing relationships with fans of other CFL teams from across the country as I know they want to see this 10th franchise here in Atlantic just as much as I do.
We will be kicking off our CFL Season next week on the First Down Sports Podcast and we have a lot of new things planned to try and not only bring CFL fans entertainment, but to help spread the word of the CFL here in Atlantic Canada. I just hope that the CFL and the Schooners management will work with us to promote their product to a region that has its doubts that it will ever actually get to see a Home game here in the Maritimes.