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CFL announces 2009 Grey Cup will be played at Calgary's McMahon Stadium

CALGARY - The ownership group that bought the Stampeders three years ago with the express purpose of bringing the Grey Cup back to Calgary has accomplished its goal - sort of.


CALGARY - The ownership group that bought the Stampeders three years ago with the express purpose of bringing the Grey Cup back to Calgary has accomplished its goal - sort of.

The 2009 Grey Cup game was awarded to Calgary on Wednesday and with it of course, will come the requisite hardware - the Cup itself.

"On the business side of a football team it's the Holy Grail. You get it every eight, nine or 10 years depending on how you suit up," said Ted Hellard, the team's managing partner.

"It's the one item where you're not wondering how much am I going to lose this year. It's the one time you know there's going to be something positive out of it," he said. "For all teams it's a strong opportunity for their business."

Hellard, along with former Stampeders John Forzani and David Sapunjis and former CFL commissioner Doug Mitchell, finalized their purchase of the team in June of 2005 after it had struggled through a 4-14 season when it was owned by California businessman Michael Feterik.

"This is a great city that knows how to host world class events," said CFL commissioner Mark Cohon.

"I think it was time for Calgary, with this new ownership group who has been around for several years now and said they wanted to bring it back," he said. "I think the other governors were committed to that as well."

Calgary last hosted the Grey Cup in 2000 when the B.C. Lions edged the Montreal Alouettes 28-26. That year, Calgary finished first but lost in the CFL West final and Dave Dickenson, who has since rejoined the Stamps, was the quarterback.

"That was my last year with the Stampeders," he remembered. "The Lions wouldn't let us do that. There is some extra pressure on the host city to get into the game but the key is to produce on the field and get your fans into it.

"It would be nice if that home team could sneak in their and get the home-field advantage."

Dickenson, who has won two Grey Cups, both in games played at Winnipeg, said the strength of the CFL gives him reason for optimism.

Last year's Grey Cup game was held in Toronto.

"Even being in Toronto last year - people said it wasn't going to work in a big city but it did work and they did a nice job," he said.

This year's game will be played in Montreal.

The 1975 and 1993 Grey Cups also were played at aging McMahon Stadium. But Hellard said there wouldn't be time for any major renovations before then.

"We are doing some renovations but it won't be seating wise," he said. "It's more to do with the administration buildings."

Hellard, a lifelong football fan, is also excited from the football side of things to host the Grey Cup.

"It's corny but when I was driving here I started thinking about Grey Cups and when I started thinking about when I was between about 15 and 25 I can remember everyone of them. I can remember who played, who won and who I was partying with," he said.

"It started to sink home how really this game does transcend everything. It's not just about football - it's about our country."

Hellard said temporary seating will be brought in for 2009 with the capacity around 45,000.

 
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