Feds to fund hockey but not CFL

I seem to remember sometime last year were (and i hope my reference is somewhat close) Jim Flaherty said he was not in the business of funding sports stadiums, in particular he mentioned CFL facilities. Why then change of heart then Jim? And why drop millions more into a hockey arena when Toronto already has the ACC and all these other cities want or need new/repaired football stadiums? Especially when a multi-million (billion?) dollar company like Loblaws is involved.

Blades on the ice of Maple Leaf Gardens again as Ottawa partners to reopen shrine

By The Canadian Press

TORONTO - There will be blades on the ice again at Toronto's storied Maple Leaf Gardens.

The federal government is contributing $20 million toward the $60-million plan to turn the hockey shrine into an athletic facility, rink and grocery store, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced Tuesday. Ryerson University will contribute $20 million through increased student fees and Loblaw Companies Ltd. (TSX:L) will partner with Ryerson to raise the remaining $20 million through fundraising.

The Ryerson Sports and Recreation Centre will have, among other things, a NHL-size skating rink, Flaherty said.

"With today's announcement we're keeping Maple Leaf Gardens as a special place for generations of Canadians to come," he said.

"This centre will generate excitement across the Greater Toronto Area. It will create jobs in the Toronto region once it's completed."

Earlier this year, Ryerson students voted to pay an extra $126 per year in athletic fees for new facilities.

"We are bringing Maple Leaf Gardens back to life," said Ryerson president Sheldon Levy.

"Our varsity sports and athletics will have the facilities and opportunities to excel."

Maple Leaf Gardens opened in 1931, hosting its first Maple Leaf game on Nov. 12 that year, when the Maple Leafs lost 2-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Leafs moved down the street to the Air Canada Centre in February 1999 and Loblaw bought Maple Leaf Gardens in 2004 from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.

Loblaws has said it will maintain the existing facades of the arena, as well as existing rooflines with the majority of development taking place within the building's interior.

The sports centre will cover 150,000 square feet and, in addition to the rink, will host a four-lane, 200-metre running track, basketball and volleyball courts with telescoping bleachers, a fitness centre, a gym and academic space.

I think the key here is athletic facility.Same reason the the Bombers got money for there stadium (whenever that happens) because it involved the U of Manitoba amd amature sports.

Yup, if it involves amateur sports then there is funding, just like BMO for the world junior soccer championship and other examples for sure.

But the reality is, they fund the building of hockey stadiums to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Hockey at all levels, including professional teams (and by 'professional' I include privately-owned junior hockey teams at all levels), receive federal funding to construct their stadiums without any debate. Its not a matter of it, but when.

I'm a huge hockey fan, but there is such a cultural bias in this country when it comes to hockey. It has become a 'motherhood' issue and the politcians know it. Want to get elected? Promise a brand new hockey arena for your town of 5,000 people and you're in. But mention football, and suddenly the politcians start worrying about the perception they are diverting funds away from health car and education. What a double standard!

Thats why it pisses me off that Peter Mackay was hanging around the Moncton game announcement earlier this year and was recently talking glowingly about expansion to the maritimes. Screw you Mackay. Until your conservative party goverment breaks out the cheque book, don't make political hay off the CFL.

And you can bet with the latest Grey Cup ratings, they'll all be trying to get their picture taken with the beautiful lady that is the CFL.

I hear you yukoner about hockey. I've said this before but I think in some ways the over concentration on expensive hockey arenas in Canada is actually doing a detriment to the health of our youth. Why? Because hockey is expensive, not all can afford it, and people have to learn how to skate. If half the money used for hockey arenas was used to bubble soccer and football fields, it would have more kids involved in the winter in sports they can run around with as soccer, touch football and lacrosse for example, also sports that don't require as much expensive equipment. Basketball has indoor gyms of course.

I love hockey as well but enough is enough, these expensive arenas are being used more and more by parents with money, like downhill skiing and in the long run it is hurting our youth I believe, the masses of youth that don't have parents with a lot of free money.

I agree, multi-use is the key. The perception is a year round facility (like arenas) are more valuable for their multiple uses than a limited use venue (like a stadium). Maybe there'd be money for a domed stadium (but it'd be hard to justify the cost of a small dome like in ND, despite its practicality.

But it's easier to politically justify an area. Arenas are multi-purpose and can be used year-round.

Also, the last few large hockey arenas in this country have all been with private funds.

MTS Centre in Winnipeg only got 14 million
Air Canada Centre, GM place and Bell Centre were all paid with private funds.
Maple Leaf Gardens is an iconic piece of this country sports culture. The government has a responsibility to not let it go to waste. Once again the government has said it will fund projects that include universities and private sector, such as this one.

Also isn't the government partly funding BC place, the new dome in Regina, Winnipeg's stadium, Ottawa, Hamilton, Moncton?

I honestly don't think the bias is as bad as some people may think.

The federal gov’t is not funding BC Place in any way, either the original construction or the $500 million upgrade. The feds have pledged $15 million to buy equipment for the training centre shared with the university in Winnipeg, but not one cent for construction of the Bombers/UM new stadium. I don’t think the feds are helping pay for the refurbishing of Frank Clair stadium in Ottawa, either.

Now Toronto, Quebec and the Maritimes is another story due to their high concentration of federal parliamentary seats. There just aren’t enough votes in western Canada to bother with. :roll:

Sorry my mistake, but I think my point is still valid.

What the guys who get federal funding for hockey arena's tell people is that they'll have all kinds of amateur sports playing in there. But the reality is, in most cities, the only time a junior hockey arena (for example) is available is on Sunday night's at 11pm, if you can afford the ice time at all.

What bothers me is the fed's buy into this for hockey, but not for football. As a pro football team owner, you can tell the fed's that there will be room for amateur hockey and soccer in the facility (with considerably more playing time available) and they still won't fund it. It's a double standard that bugs me as a guy who wants to see the CFL grow and thrive.

The stadium in Regina (so far) has no federal ask, Winnipeg got 15 million but only if it was tied to the univ, and Ottawa hasn't asked for a penny of federal dollars. Hamilton will be built with federal dollars, but the conversion to football has to be covered by the Ti-Cats (and/or the city and/or province). And as someone else pointed out, BC is all provincial dollars.

And yet, you could apply for federal funding for any number of public infrastructure projects that cost upwards of 100 million and the conservative gov't is only too happy to slap their logo on a cheque. :slight_smile: