Ottawa Canadian Football League team
Founded To be determined
Based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Home field Frank Clair Stadium
League Canadian Football League
Division East Division
Colours Red, white and black[1]
Head coach TBA
General manager Marcel Desjardins
Owner(s) Jeff Hunt

The Ottawa Canadian Football League team is an unnamed CFL franchise that has been awarded in the city of Ottawa, Ontario. On March 25, 2008, an ownership group led by Ottawa 67's owner Jeff Hunt was awarded the franchise. The team is expected to play at Frank Clair Stadium if the stadium can be remodelled, and would likely begin play in 2014.[2][3][4] While the franchise was conditionally awarded the right to host the 2014 Grey Cup game in 2008,[5] Jeff Hunt has indicated that he would like to postpone the game for a few years to give his franchise a better chance to play in the championship game[2] and, due to lawsuits and delays, the stadium renovations will not be completed until 2014.[6] Hosting the Grey Cup is a condition included in the agreement giving Hunt control of the franchise.[7] A C$7 million fee was reported to have been paid.[8] The team originally planned to begin play in 2010, until cracks in the concrete structure in the south stands of Frank Clair Stadium led to the demolition of those stands; the league later set a date of 2013 for the team's debut, but lawsuits forced the delay of construction on the stadium to be pushed back even further.[6]

File:Lansdowne Park 3.jpg

This will be the third CFL team to play in the city. The Ottawa Rough Riders, formed in 1876, was a founding member of the CFL in 1958, playing until 1996. A new Ottawa franchise was formed as the Renegades in 2002, but lasted only until the end of the 2005 season.[8] The situation of Ottawa has been compared to that of Montreal, which went nine years without a team and had its franchise fold twice before the arrival of the present Alouettes, and where ice hockey is the number one sport.[9] It was announced that the name of the team would either be the RedBlacks, the Nationals, the Raftsmen, the Voyageurs, or the Rush.[citation needed]


The team had been in contact with previous Rough Riders owner Horn Chen regarding the Rough Riders name and the team "[knows] his price."[10] The Rough Riders name still retains popular currency among football fans in Ottawa. The Rough Riders enjoyed a 120-year history, during which time they won the Grey Cup nine times.[11] However, in July 2010, Jeff Hunt announced that the Rough Riders name would likely not be returning due to the objections of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, though the team did successfully purchase the rights to the Rough Riders name from Chen.[12]

Concurrently, Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk had announced plans to bid for a Major League Soccer franchise to play in Ottawa and to build a new soccer specific stadium near the Senators' Scotiabank Place in support of these plans. Depending on the stadium's design it could possibly be used by a CFL team instead of the aging Frank Clair Stadium. However, the CFL and MLS groups have not indicated that they are co-ordinating their plans. Furthermore, municipal officials have questioned whether the city could support both a CFL and an MLS franchise.[13]

In April 2009, the staff of the City of Ottawa presented a report to Council on the merits of the Soccer Stadium and Lansdowne proposals. The city held public hearings based on the report, which questioned the necessity of the spending, but gave a slight edge to the Lansdowne proposal. Councillors attempted to find out whether the SSE group would support sharing their stadium with a planned CFL franchise, but the SSE group rejected the possibility. On April 22, 2009, the City of Ottawa Council chose the Lansdowne Live proposal over the SSE proposal as its choice for an outdoor stadium. Over the next several months, negotiations were made leading up to August 26, where a presentation was made to Ottawa City Council would ultimately decide the fate of football in Ottawa in the foreseeable future.

On November 12 and November 13, City Council held a public debate to discuss what should be done with the area at Lansdowne Park. Guest speakers included Mark Cohon and former Rough Riders Jock Climie and Mark Kosmos who all presented their case as to why Lansdowne Live was an important contributor to the city of Ottawa.[14] The following Monday, on November 16, it was reported that Ottawa City Council had voted 15–9 in favour of plans to redevelop Lansdowne Park with the purpose of housing a CFL team.[15] The Hunt Group had until June 2010 to sort out the details of the redevelopment with construction likely to begin in the spring of 2011.

On June 28, 2010, after a 12-hour meeting, Ottawa city council approved the plan to redevelop Lansdowne Park by the same vote of 15–9, all but securing a franchise in the nation's capital.[2][3] With construction on the stadium originally scheduled to begin in 2011, the earliest a team could play would be in 2013 under the original time line.[16] After a failed legal challenge and a Ontario Municipal Board hearing on the Lansdowne Park redevelopment, construction on the stadium will not begin until 2012,[dated info] with a completion in summer 2015, although there have been indications that the stadium could be opened for CFL football as early as 2014.[6] Without a viable stadium, the debut of the team would necessarily be pushed back accordingly.[7]

October 10, 2012, marked the final political hurdle that the new franchise had to clear as a 21–3 vote by the Ottawa City Council in favour of the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park passed. [17] Construction on the north and south side stands is set to begin in October 2012.[18][dated info]

On December 6, 2012, the CFL opened name voting for the team, up until December 16, 2012, on It was speculated that the team would be called the Rush, but this has since been debunked.[19] The Rush name was nonetheless included in a list of five potential names (Nationals, Voyageurs, RedBlacks and Raftsmen being the others) for the team in a focus group led by the team's owners in January 2013.[20]

On January 30, 2013, Marcel Desjardins was named the first general manager in team history.[21][22]

Expansion Draft Edit

The 2013 CFL Expansion Draft is a proposed three-round CFL draft tentatively scheduled for December 12, 2013 which is designed to assign players from existing CFL teams to the new Ottawa team. The structure of the draft was announced on January 19, 2011, which described one round for selecting import players and two rounds for selecting non-import players.[23] Additionally, if the Ottawa franchise begins play in 2014, they will be given the last pick in each of the first four rounds of the 2013 CFL Draft and the first pick in every round of the 2014 CFL Draft.

Ottawa will select three players from each of the eight existing teams for a total of 24 players. Ottawa will select eight import players and 16 non-import players with quarterbacks, kickers and punters eligible within their respective import/non-import categories. Ottawa will be able to select a maximum of two quarterbacks and one kicker/punter, but they may not select any of these three players from the same team. The CFL Commissioner will resolve any dispute related to player eligibility for the Expansion Draft process.

See also Edit


  1. "Jeff Hunt wowed by response to Name Our Team campaign". Ottawa Sun. 2012-12-06. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 CFL will return to Ottawa
  3. 3.0 3.1;-city-eyes-CFL-return/1 Lansdowne passes by 15-9 margin; city eyes CFL return
  4. CFL in Ottawa on track for the 2014 season
  5. "Ottawa conditionally awarded 2014 Grey Cup". The Sports Network. 2008-11-21. Retrieved 2008-11-21.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Lansdowne won't be ready for CFL football until 2014". August 12, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Garrioch, Bruce (June 4, 2012). No Grey Cup for Ottawa in 2014. Ottawa Sun. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Group pays millions to bring CFL back to Ottawa". CTV News Ottawa. 2008-03-25. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
  9. Campbell, Don (2008-05-06). "Ottawa CFL franchise leans on The Don for advice". National Post. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
  10. Ottawa's New CFL Franchise. Ottawa 67's franchise information sheet. March 25, 2008.
  11. "History of the Ottawa Renegades". Canadian Football League. Archived from the original on 2006-10-07.
  12. Desaulniers, Darren (2010-07-22). "Saskatchewan not expected to allow Ottawa to use old name". The Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2010-07-22.
  13. Gordon, Sean (2008-09-17). " Sports". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
  14. Garrioch, Bruce (2009-11-11). "Lansdowne proposal Ottawa's last shot". Slam Sports. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
  15. Naylor, Dave (2009-11-17). "CFL's return to Ottawa moves one step closer". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
  16. MacKinnon, John (2010-03-04). "CFL’s success comes from its Canadian spirit: Cohon". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
  18. Lansdowne project a GO!
  20. Baines, Tim (January 23, 2013). " So to sum it up ... Ottawa CFL group considering Nationals, Raftsmen, RedBlacks, Rush and Voyageurs." Ottawa Sun. Retrieved January 23, 2013.

External linksEdit

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