Almost two decades after the demolition of Empire Stadium, a new temporary stadium opens this weekend on the grounds of the storied venue.
The $14-million, 27,500-seat and yet unnamed stadium hosts its inaugural event Sunday when the B.C. Lions take on the Edmonton Eskimos in their second of two pre-season games.
Dylan Tomlin, a Lions fan who toured the stadium last weekend, said he was excited at the prospect of watching the Lions outdoors in an intimate setting.
“Getting a glimpse last Sunday was great,” Tomlin said. “But seeing the players on the field and realizing how close and intimate the atmosphere is going to be will be something special.”
The stadium will be the home of the Lions and Whitecaps while a new retractable roof is fitted on B.C. Place.
Howard Crosley, general manager of B.C. Place, said fans for the most part will be happy with the temporary facility.
“We always hope for nice weather,” said Crosley, who will be attending the game as a fan.
“But it is Vancouver. We expect that there may be a rainy game or two, but I think people are up for it.”
Diane Douglas, secretary of the Lion Backers fan club, grew up on outdoor football in Saskatchewan.
“Everything is very close,” said Douglas, who also toured the stadium last week. “You don’t feel so far away from the players and what’s happening on the field.”
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