Atlantic Schooners

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Atlantic Schooners
Atlantic Schooners logo

Founded 1982
Folded 1983
Based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
League Canadian Football League
Head coach John Huard
General manager J. I. Albrecht
Owner(s) Maritime Professional Football Club Ltd. (Included John Donoval, J. I. Albrecht, and R. B. Cameron) [1][2]
Colours Black, silver, gold, white and blue
                        

The Atlantic Schooners were a conditional Canadian Football League (CFL) expansion team that was to begin play in 1984 out of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Franchise history[edit]

On May 13, 1982, Maritime Professional Football Club Ltd. was granted a conditional expansion franchise. The team was to pay a $1.5 million expansion fee and could begin play in 1984 if a suitable stadium was built in time for the league opener.[1] The team name was selected based on a study followed by a name-the-team contest in which "schooner" was the winning selection.[3] The logo was a stylized "A" in the shape of a schooner that rode on four waves, each representing the four Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland.[4] Acadia Axemen coach John Huard was named the team's first head coach.[5] The Schooners proposed home was a 30,000-seat stadium located on leased land in the city of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, said to be built at a cost of $6 million.[6] The owners purchased a scoreboard from the New England Patriots for use in their new stadium.[7] The Schooners were unable to meet the deadlines set by the league, including the deadline for a financing plan for the new stadium. On June 16, 1983, Maritime Professional Football Club Ltd. officially withdrew their application for a franchise.[8] Since then there have been endless rumours of a stadium being built in the area and with it, a CFL team, although none has yet been built.

Current status[edit]

Fan desire for a team in the region remains strong. There is a group on Facebook that was formed in hopes of building a stadium and starting a franchise, which once had over 3,700 members.[9] This Group is led by Nova Scotia Businessman John Ryerson and has been leading the charge to keep the dream alive in the Maritimes. Ryerson continues to hold team parties at the past 6 grey Cups and is his Down East Kitchen Party has become quite a hit with CFL fans. They could very well be the second largest team party draw at Grey Cup Regina 2013.

One urban legend around the Halifax area is that the old scoreboard from the Foxboro Stadium is in a warehouse in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, left there awaiting the proposed stadium. Another legend is that J.I. Albrecht had already bought turf for the stadium. When the club folded he took the turf and threw it into the Atlantic Ocean.

On June 11, 2005, a CFL exhibition game, called "Touchdown Atlantic" between the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats, was held in Halifax. This game served as a gauge for possible CFL expansion. The venue was Huskies Stadium (capacity 11 000) on the campus of St. Mary's University. Tickets for the event, which cost upwards of $60.00, sold out rapidly. The game ended in a 16–16 tie. Another CFL exhibition game would have taken place on June 3, 2006, but the suspension of the Ottawa Renegades, who were scheduled to play the game, forced the game to be cancelled altogether.

If Halifax had landed the 2014 Commonwealth Games, a stadium likely would have been built for the event, which would have removed a major hurdle facing Atlantic Canada's chances of getting a franchise;[citation needed] however, Halifax withdrew its bid for the games in early March 2007.

Nevertheless, a Schooners delegation took part in the festivities at the 2007 Grey Cup.[10] A ninth CFL team has been located in Ottawa, meaning were the Schooners to join the league they would become the tenth club. The CFL has been extremely cautious about expansion in recent years, following the failed expansion into the United States of the mid-1990s and the failure of the Ottawa Renegades in 2005. It is believed that the league are keen to have a tenth team, with five in the eastern division and five in the west. This has been seen as supportive of the idea of a team in Halifax making the league "truly national".[11]

Also in the Atlantic region of Canada, Moncton, New Brunswick (a city that is roughly 250 kilometres (160 mi) from Halifax, which is slightly longer than the distance between Ottawa and Montreal), built a 20,000-seat stadium (Moncton Stadium) to host the IAAF 2010 World Junior Championships in Athletics.[12] There is also hope that the stadium will help land a CFL team for the city, someday.[13] To test the feasibility of expansion to Moncton, a regular season game dubbed Touchdown Atlantic was played between the Toronto Argonauts and the Edmonton Eskimos on September 26, 2010. The game was won by Edmonton by a score of 24 – 6 and the game was played in front of a sellout crowd of 20,725 spectators. In TDII, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats defeated the Calgary Stampeders 55-36 on September 25, 2011.[14] After an absence during the 2012 season, Touchdown Atlantic returned for a third installment, with the hosting Hamilton Tiger-Cats defeating the Montreal Alouettes by 28 - 26 in front of 15,123, on September 21, 2013.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Canadian League Expand". Associated Press. May 14, 1982. Retrieved 2010-09-28. 
  2. ^ "Yanks' Owner Blasts Umpires". The Montreal Gazette. August 30, 1982. Retrieved 2010-09-28. 
  3. ^ "Newest Canadian team given name 'Schooners'". Lawrence Journal-World. Nov 4, 1982. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  4. ^ Football fans remain loyal to Atlantic Schooners
  5. ^ Jeff Adams (June 13, 1983). "Schooners Coach Waiting for a Decision". Canadian Press. Retrieved 2010-09-28. 
  6. ^ "Schooners unveil plans for new football stadium". The Leader-Post. Feb 5, 1983. Retrieved 2011-04-09. 
  7. ^ "CFL scuttles Schooners". Canadian Press. June 17, 1983. Retrieved 2010-09-28. 
  8. ^ "McEnroe hopes shoulder heals for Wimbledon". Lakeland Ledger. June 17, 1983. Retrieved 2010-09-28. 
  9. ^ http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2248041900 Build a Stadium in Halifax, Nova Scotia
  10. ^ Coutts, Matthew (2007-11-24). "Football fans remain loyal to Atlantic Schooners". CTV. Retrieved 2007-12-16. 
  11. ^ Windsor 'ready and willing' for CFL expansion team
  12. ^ francine (2008-04-21). "Construction on Moncton’s world-class stadium gets underway (08/04/22)". gnb.ca. Retrieved 2014-01-27. 
  13. ^ Crase, Dave. New stadium puts hopes for a CFL franchise on high. CanWestNews Service. 23 April 2008.
  14. ^ 2011 CFL schedule is here

External links[edit]