Yesterday, in Saint John, New Brunswick, tickets for Game Five of the QMJHL Championship Series went on sale. Thirty-one minutes later, all 6,500 seats were gone. Completely sold out! Thirty-one minutes, my friends. In Saint John, New Brunswick. And that’s why it repulses me when Atlantic Canada continues to get the short end of the stick when it comes to sports – like, say, a Canadian Football League franchise.
The Q’s Championship Series – The Battle of New Brunswick – features the Saint John Sea Dogs and the Moncton Wildcats. In fact, their home rinks are, as the crow flies, only 132 kilometres apart. The Wildcats lead the series two games-to-one. Game Four is at Moncton Coliseum tonight.
The Moncton Wildcats are in their 14th QMJHL season, and wrapped up the regular season with 48 wins, sitting seventh in the CHL’s Mastercard Rankings. The Sea Dogs are only five years old, won 53 regular season games, and were ranked as the second-best major junior club in the Canadian Hockey League. I’d give anything to be able to watch this series in person.
And, obviously, so would a lot of people in the beautiful province of New Brunswick. But they keep getting the old shafteroo. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s awesome that the Edmonton Eskimos and Toronto Argonauts will be playing what the CFL is calling Touchdown Atlantic, on September 26th, at 20,000-seat Moncton Stadium. But it should not be a one-off. That’s nuts! And don’t tell me this is a barometer to gauge interest. I’ll tell you what the interest is – off the charts!
Touchdown Atlantic was sold out in 32 hours. That’s the only interest gauge I need. So here’s what you do. As the Argonauts’ players are getting ready to leave for Moncton, the team does the same thing. Just pull a Baltimore Colts. Hump everything with double blue on it into a few moving vans and hit the road. And never come back. NOBODY in Toronto would even notice.
Toronto doesn’t want the Canadian Football League. Attendance figures at Rogers Centre have made that abundantly clear. Over and over and over. And the CFL DOES NOT need Toronto. Get that through your skulls. For heaven’s sake, put a CFL team in Atlantic Canada. I don’t care if it’s in Moncton or Halifax or Saint John or Fredericton. The team would succeed beyond the league’s wildest expectations. Give the people in that part of the country a chance to support a CFL club. And watch how great it would be.
So, as the Sea Dogs and Wildcats battle for the 2010 President Cup (enjoy, New Brunswickers), we’ve now solved the issue of Atlantic Canada getting regularly screwed. Next, all we have to do is get the NHL into Hamilton and Winnipeg.