Ar­gos move home game to Ot­tawa to avoid con­flict with Jays

Rogers Cen­tre could be host­ing Amer­i­can League wild-card game on Oct. 6

Toronto Star - - SPORTS - LAURA ARMSTRONG SPORTS RE­PORTER

The Toronto Arg­onauts are mov­ing what was sup­posed to be a home game against the Ot­tawa Redblacks in early Oc­to­ber to the na­tion’s cap­i­tal, an­tic­i­pat­ing the Rogers Cen­tre will be un­avail­able be­cause of a Toronto Blue Jays play­off run.

“As an or­ga­ni­za­tion, our pref­er­ence is not to have our team play back-to­back games in Ot­tawa,” said Ar­gos ex­ec­u­tive chair­man and CEO Chris Rudge, whose team is also sched­uled to visit the Redblacks Sept. 26. “But this is an ex­tra­or­di­nary cir­cum­stance and TD Place Sta­dium is avail­able, CFL-ready and broad­cast-ready.”

The Oct. 6 matchup, one of four Ar­gos games orig­i­nally sched­uled to take place at the Rogers Cen­tre that month, fell the same night as an Amer­i­can League wild-card game.

It will now take place in Ot­tawa at 7:30 p.m., whether or not the Jays make the post-sea­son. Cur­rently sit­ting in first place atop the Amer­i­can League East di­vi­sion, the Jays will by­pass the wild-card game if they can hold on to that spot.

But the Ar­gos game will stay put in Ot­tawa not mat­ter what. With base­ball sea­son fin­ish­ing the first week of Oc­to­ber, it would be too late for fans and stake­hold­ers to make other ar­range­ments, Ar­gos spokesman Eric Holmes said.

Plus there wouldn’t be ad­e­quate con­ver­sion time if the Ar­gos played at the Rogers Cen­tre on Oct. 6 and the Jays hosted an AL Di­vi­sional Se­ries game there Oct. 8.

TD Place is the fourth sta­dium the team has called home this sea­son. They hosted the Win­nipeg Blue Bombers at the Univer­sity of Toronto’s Var­sity Sta­dium dur­ing pre-sea­son be­fore their sea­son opener in Fort McMur­ray against the Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos on June 27.

Jeff Hunt, pres­i­dent of the Redblacks par­ent com­pany OSEG Sports, said Wed­nes­day they were thrilled to be able to of­fer Ot­tawans an ex­tra game in the city.

The 6-4 Redblacks and the 6-5 Arg­onauts are bat­tling for play­off po­si­tions in the Eastern Con­fer­ence.

The Ar­gos knew for some time they might need to find some­where else to play come Oc­to­ber, Rudge said in his state­ment Wed­nes­day.

Rogers Cen­tre of­fi­cials gave the CFL team writ­ten of­fi­cial no­tice to start look­ing for al­ter­na­tive lo­ca­tions sev­eral weeks ago be­cause of the Blue Jays’ “tremen­dous suc­cess” this sea­son.

“While this sce­nario cer­tainly of­fers some chal­lenges to our team, I would like ev­ery­one to know that we are ex­cited for the run the Blue Jays have made to date and we wish them best of luck down the stretch and, hope­fully, into the post-sea­son,” Rudge said.

Fans who have pur­chased tick­ets to the Oct. 6 game will be con­tacted by a Toronto Arg­onauts ticket rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the near fu­ture.

Rudge told the Cana­dian Press in Au­gust if the Jays reached the AL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries, the Argo games sched­uled for Oct. 17 against Cal­gary and Oct. 23 against Mon­treal would also be dis­placed.

The Ar­gos couldn’t say Wed­nes­day where those games would be played if nec­es­sary. Last month, Rudge said the Ar­gos had reached out to many other sta­di­ums about host­ing the af­fected games and that Tim Hor­tons Field in Hamil­ton was the most likely venue.

This is the last sea­son the Ar­gos will play at the Rogers Cen­tre. The team is mov­ing to BMO Field next sea­son, where it will share the fa­cil­ity with Toronto FC.

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