Monday, December 13, 2010

Following Manitoba's Lead

“Made in Manitoba” Solution for Riders New Stadium

REGINA (CP) – The Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders may get a new stadium after all and it might come from an unlikely source.

David Asper, the one-time prospective owner of the rival Winnipeg Blue Bombers who spearheaded a drive to build a new stadium for the Bombers, wants to do the same thing for the Riders.

“I believe in the Bombers and I believe in the CFL,” said the Winnipeg native who currently heads up Creswin Properties and was formerly the Executive Vice President of the bankrupt CanWest Global Communications empire. “”When I envision the kind of stadium we will be playing in, I can’t help but turn to Regina and see the condition of Taylor Field. I want to do something to help them as well.”

At a press conference today, Asper outlined his plan for a new stadium in Regina that would replace the aging Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field and serve as the Riders’ new home. The plan calls for an open-air facility that will hold 30,000 for football and could also be used for hosting concerts and other large-scale events.

When asked about funding for the proposed stadium, Asper replied, “I see this as a public-private partnership similar to the deal we negotiated in Winnipeg. The government gave, er, loaned me the money and, in return, I promised to build them a stadium. I see no reason why I would not be able to propose a similar deal here in Saskatchewan. If the government is willing to provide the funding, I can promise the fans of the Saskatchewan Roughriders a new stadium. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

The announcement left many Riders fans giddy with excitement.

“What a deal!” exclaimed longtime Riders fan Ken Hnatiuk. “It sounds too good to be true!”

A spokesman for the office of Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall declined to comment until the government could study the proposal in further detail. In Manitoba, Premier Greg Selinger and his NDP government couldn’t wait to pounce on Asper’s offer and they hurriedly advanced him the necessary funds to get the project moving.

Though Asper refused to put a deadline on his offer to the Saskatchewan government, he cautioned that the deal may not last.

“I can’t keep a deal like this on the table too long. I would urge the government in Saskatchewan to complete its review as soon as possible. I am confident that, once the review is complete, the people of Saskatchewan will recognize a good deal when they see it and we can proceed without delay,” said Asper.

“All they have to do is give me the money and I’ll build them a stadium. It worked for Winnipeg and it can work in Saskatchewan.”

Sounds like an offer too good to refuse.

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