Grey Cup week in Regina cancelled; Sask. to host Grey Cup in 2022
REGINA -- Grey Cup week in Regina won’t go ahead in 2020, according to the CFL.
The event was scheduled for Nov. 22 at Mosaic Stadium.
“We are quite disappointed,” CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said at a town hall Wednesday. “With all the things all of the things going on with the pandemic, having a traditional Grey Cup just is impossible.”
The CFL has awarded Regina the 2022 Grey Cup.
“Along with the Riders we made the decision that we would shift the Grey Cup away from Regina this fall. We’ve awarded the Grey Cup 2022 to the Riders and the province of Saskatchewan,” said Ambrosie.
If the season goes ahead, the team with the best record heading into the championship game will host the Grey Cup final in 2020. All nine CFL teams will have a chance to host the Grey Cup this year.
The Roughriders had discussions with a CFL committee comprised of representatives from past and future Grey Cup cities. They came to the decision that it was in the league'sd and the team’s best interests to postpone Grey Cup plans in Regina this year.
Next year’s event will take place in Hamilton. That host city was announced last year and work is already underway for the festival.
“It’s a disappointing day,” Craig Reynolds, the Roughriders president and CEO, said. “Most of it is just around the excitement that I know our fans had.”
Although the team is disappointed, Reynolds said the team is glad to have confidence that the big game will happen in 2022.
“If there’s any relief it’s just that we have certainty,” Reynolds said. “We just understood that increasingly we weren’t going to be able to deliver what we had planned.”
The Riders have already spent around $500,000 on 2020 Grey Cup planning, but Reynolds said those costs can be applied to future festivities.
“We feel the majority of the costs that were principally planning focused, we will be able to incorporate or make use of in 2022.”
Reynolds said six staff members were hired for Grey Cup planning. The team will be retaining these employees until the end of July to make plans for budget and programming for 2022, and then they will be released.
Grey Cup tickets hadn’t gone on sale yet for the general public, but seats were sold to Riders’ season ticket holders. The club says a $50 per seat deposit will secure a seat for the 2022 Grey Cup Festival in Regina and the balance will be refunded automatically.
The Riders say season ticket holders will also get an email on Wednesday with information on the shortened season.
The league also announced on Wednesday that play won’t start before September. The league has discussed pushing back the season, with a potential December Grey Cup.
“We’re even looking at how we extend our season,” Ambrosie said. “In the spirit of looking at all possibilities were even considering pushing the game back a little bit, giving us a little bit more elbow room, so that we have the possibility of getting games in this year.”
While an even later Grey Cup could be colder than usual, it may be the compromise the CFL needs to make in order to play a 2020 season.
“We’re looking at every option to try to get a season, and so that meant shifting the Grey cup into December,” said Reynolds. “Certainly to try to get that game in in November, should we be able to, would be optimal, but the reality is we may not be able to do that.”
The Regina & District Chamber of Commerce said the deferral of the Grey Cup to 2022 is the best scenario, in a statement Wednesday.
“Clearly, we would have loved to have seen a normal Grey Cup, but people’s safety comes first. We respect the CFL’s decision. Moreover, we are appreciative that the Grey Cup will come to the Queen City in 2022.”
The chamber estimates the economic loss in Regina of not hosting the Grey Cup is in the range of $100 million.