Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'league'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Forums

  • Real estate projects
    • Proposals
    • Going up
    • Completed
    • Mass Transit
    • Infrastructures
    • Cultural, entertainment and sport projects
    • Cancelled projects
  • General topics
    • City planning and architecture
    • Economy discussions
    • Technology, video games and gadgets
    • Urban tech
    • General discussions
    • Entertainment, food and culture
    • Current events
    • Off Topic
  • MTLYUL Aviation
    • General discussion
    • Spotting at YUL
  • Here and abroad
    • City of Québec
    • Around the province of Québec.
    • Toronto and the rest of Canada
    • USA
    • Europe
    • Projects elsewhere in the world
  • Photography and videos
    • Urban photography
    • Other pictures
    • Old pictures

Calendars

There are no results to display.

There are no results to display.

Blogs

There are no results to display.

There are no results to display.


Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


About Me


Biography


Location


Interests


Occupation


Type of dwelling

Found 9 results

  1. MLS : Ottawa officiellement candidate Mardi 16 septembre 2008 RDS.ca Le propriétaire des Sénateurs d'Ottawa, Eugene Melnyk, a dévoilé mardi son projet pour amener une équipe de la Ligue majeure de soccer (MLS) à Ottawa et construire un stade multifonctionnel de classe mondiale, dédié expressément au soccer, mais qui pourra aussi servir pour présenter des événements en plein air. "Le soccer est un sport établi et qui a une portée à l'échelle mondiale. Il est inculqué dans la culture et la tradition et il possède une capacité unique de rejoindre des amateurs de partout dans le monde, a déclaré M. Melnyk. Nous souhaitons amener le sport le plus populaire au monde à Ottawa et rien de mieux que le faire en adhérant à la Major League Soccer." En juillet, Ottawa s'est retrouvée sur une liste de neuf villes nord-américaines visées par la MLS, pour établir deux équipes d'expansion qui feront leur entrée dans le circuit en 2011. Afin de répondre à une condition préalable pour obtenir une franchise de la MLS à Ottawa, M. Melnyk a aussi dévoilé les plans pour la construction d'un stade extérieur de classe mondiale. Le stade de la MLS à Ottawa aura une capacité qui pourra accueillir jusqu'à 30 000 personnes et comprendra une surface de jeu de gazon naturel ainsi que cinq terrains de soccer qui seront construits à proximité du stade et qui seront mis à la disposition de la communauté. Ces éléments permettront la création d'un complexe majeur de soccer. Le stade sera situé à côté de la Place Banque Scotia. M. Melnyk a insisté sur le fait que la construction d'un stade de cette envergure exige un appui massif de la part de la communauté, une équipe de direction chevronnée, un solide plan d'affaires ainsi que la collaboration entre les secteurs privé et public. "Le stade est l'élément central de notre candidature pour amener la Major League Soccer dans notre région, mais les besoins pour un stade dans notre ville vont au-delà de cela. Toutes les villes de renommée mondiale possèdent un stade extérieur de classe mondiale. Le stade représente un investissement majeur dans notre communauté, donc nous désirons ériger un amphithéâtre de divertissement multifonctionnel. Nous aurons besoin d'un bâtiment sophistiqué afin d'avoir la possibilité d'attirer des événements sportifs internationaux, des concerts en plein air et des festivals dans la capitale nationale, de souligner M. Melnyk."
  2. CTV Montreal Published Monday, Nov. 12, 2012 11:42PM EST MONTREAL--The Matrix, the Royal, the Sasquatch and now the Montreal Jazz. This city just can’t seem to hold onto professional basketball teams, but players hope this new squad will stick around. “One of the big differences is the league. The league is so legit. When you play away games, you can tell the league is serious. So, it's a big difference,” said Jazz forward Louis-Patrick Levros The Jazz have replaced the Kebs as the province's only team in the National Basketball League, the current owners of the franchise until a proper ownership group is put in place. “Every game was played last year, you got the website, everything was very serious which is the first time that I saw a league at that level to be so serious. All the players have to be cleared through Basketball Canada which means our league is well respected,” said Jazz General Manager Pascal Jobin. “They put in hard work to get a team here in Montreal and hopefully we can continue doing it. So this year is very important for the city and the team,” said Jazz centre Sani Ibrahim. With the exception of two players, the team is comprised entirely of Quebecers, something the league surely hopes will finally attract a loyal following. “We are really happy with a group of hard charging Quebecois players,” said head coach Alejandro Hasbani “For me it's definitely just a blessing. After I left Concordia, it's been three or four years since I haven't gotten anything. I've just been working. I miss the game of basketball and to have this opportunity I’m just blessed and I work every day just to be in this position,” said point guard Damian Buckley. As for the product, fans will be pleasantly surprised, the Jazz have a good mix of speed, size and talent—something that will complement the team’s blue collar mentality. “I think we're going to come out and play hard,” said Ibrahim. “That’s the most important thing. We’re probably not the best talent in the league but for sure we're going to play hard and get some wins.” Read more: http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/sports/montreal-s-newest-sports-franchise-the-jazz-1.1035875#ixzz2CADHMg7d
  3. Habs 'recession-proof' Canadiens anniversary merchandise is selling well. and the team even has an authorized special edition Monopoly game By MIKE KING, The GazetteJanuary 9, 2009 8:03 AM Being a sports monopoly with a merchandising power play extending to its own Monopoly board game has helped insulate the Montreal Canadiens from an economic slump affecting other teams and even entire leagues, a Concordia University marketing professor says. "The Canadiens and the New York Yankees may be the only two franchises that are recession-proof," said Bruno Delorme, a sports marketing and management professor at Concordia's John Molson School of Business. He called the century-old hockey team an anomaly in the sports world for its continued success during difficult financial times and offered reasons for the club's ability to remain prosperous. First, there's the monopoly of being what Delorme described as "the only true professional North American-wide sports franchise" in town. Second, the team is celebrating its 100th anniversary this season, boosting its already rich heritage. The official team boutique at the downtown Bell Centre has been expanded to accommodate additional souvenirs marking the centennial celebrations, items ranging from reproductions of vintage jerseys to an authorized special edition Habs Monopoly game. Anniversary merchandise creates a large revenue stream, said Delorme, who admitted to "buying a brick myself" in reference to the 20,000 personalized bricks being sold in Centennial Plaza outside the Bell Centre. The commemorative bricks, which can be inscribed with names and messages, range in price from $175 to $799 plus tax. Struggling corporations like the Big Three U.S. automakers are drastically cutting back sponsorship dollars for sports - something Delorme said especially affects the National Basketball Association, National Football League, Major League Baseball and their teams. But the impact is less on the National Hockey League because "hockey is a more gate-driven sport." Also playing in the Habs favour is a phenomenon Delorme pointed to: "when there's a recession, people tend to look to sports for escapism." Asked to comment on Delorme's remarks, Donald Beauchamp, team vice-president of communications, said the privately owned Canadiens don't discuss the business side of the operation. [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  4. mtlurb

    Expos de Montréal

    Expos gone, baseball alive in Montreal Aspiring baseball players and history keep sport going By Stephen Ellsesser / Special to MLB.com MONTRÉAL -- On a Sunday morning, the corridor between Pie IX Station and Olympic Stadium is almost completely deserted. Based on some of the crowds that came out to the Big O in 2004, the final season for Major League Baseball in Quebec, it almost seems the Expos never left. After touring Olympic Stadium, it's almost as if they were never there. Montréal, the world's most truly bilingual city, is known for its tolerance, but Stade Olympique may have walked away from the Expo-dus with hard feelings. Baseball in Canada's Sin City existed long before the Expos became the Washington Nationals, and today it lives on in many different forms, some nearby and some farther away, but hardly any of it at Olympic. A catcher, a piece of meat and a glorified Muppet form an interesting picture of the ville's offerings to the sport. Catcher Russell Martin is bringing back Dodger Blue to Montréal, giving the city another Major Leaguer to support, along with Eric Gagne, who won a National League Cy Young Award with the Dodgers, but now comes out of the bullpen for the Red Sox. Both played for the same high school, and both are among the greatest offerings to come from Baseball Quebec's feeder system, which remains strong, according to Gilles Taillon, the group's administrative director. "The actual departure of the Expos had no impact whatsoever," Taillon said. "The major impact was in 1995-97, when the Expos got rid of a championship team. We experienced a decrease in our membership mainly due to the bad publicity that baseball was getting in the media." In 1994, the strike-suspended season clipped an Expos club that was cruising along, on pace to win 105 games. The ensuing firesale disenchanted the fan base. The team parted with Marquis Grissom, Larry Walker, Delino DeShields and John Wetteland after the year, and the foundation began to crumble. By the time the Expos rolled into their final season, Montréal had lost all momentum, not to mention a considerable amount of local interest. After the Expos' fate was sealed, there was no last-minute spike of support. For the opener of the final series at the Big O, a crowd of 3,923 watched the home team fall to the Florida Marlins. The worst part? That was only the fifth-smallest turnout of the year. Yikes. "You really can't blame them with some of the decisions that were made," said former third baseman Tim Wallach of the fans who stayed away. "When fans follow guys and they have no chance of staying when it's time for them to get paid, that turns people off." The Expos succumbed to a combination of economic factors, all of which, Wallach said, slowly took hold after original owner Charles Bronfman sold the team in 1991. "I feel bad because there were a lot of people who loved that team," said Wallach, who played for the Expos from 1980-92. "It was good, and it should have been good for a long time. But it went bad, and now it will never be there again." Martin remembers fondly the Expos and their days north of the border. "It was different for me because I loved baseball," he said. "I could care less how big the stadium was or how many fans were there, as long as I was at the stadium. I grew up going to that stadium and watching the Expos, so that was a big thing." Montréal, with a metro-area population of 3.6 million, is large enough to support an MLB club, but what the area baseball community is most focused on is starting smaller. "For MLB to come back, it would have to go through the Minor League route first," Taillon said. "At this point in time, efforts are being made to bring a Can-Am League team in." The Can-Am League is an independent league composed of eight U.S.- based teams, one road team and one Canadian club, based in provincial capital Québec City. "It would be nice to see baseball back up there, but they would have to give it a better venue, a smaller stadium and more fan-friendly activities," Martin said. As for the piece of meat, sometimes life is stranger than fiction. On eBay, someone (Cirque du Soleil's founder, interestingly enough) paid $2,605 Canadian for what was billed as "The Last Hot Dog of the Expos," which was -- as one might expect -- a hot dog, which was almost a month old at the time of sale. All of a sudden the $2,100 sale price of Montreal-Expos.com looks like a bargain. "It was different there because there wasn't that many fans that loved baseball," Martin said. "But those that did love baseball, they were always at the stadium." Indeed. Nothing says loving quite like a thousand-dollar piece of processed meat. But the apocalypse is not upon us yet ... proceeds went to charity. Ignoring any discussions of shelf life, the Expo with the most staying power has been mascot Youppi!, who joined the rotation at Bell Centre, home of the Canadiens, Montréal's hallowed NHL franchise. Youppi! hit the ice just more than a year after his team's departure put him out of work. His presence, along with that of a banner honoring the Expos' 1969-2004 existence and the team's retired numbers, makes Nos Amours more visible there than at the Big O. The luxury condos that stand where Labatt Park -- the proposed downtown stadium that would have helped the franchise stay put -- would have been built are only a couple blocks away from Bell Centre, so it almost makes sense for it to feel closer to home. Where the sport thrives, however, is in Baseball Québec's tight infrastructure. The organization emphasizes getting kids involved early through two main programs, Rally Cap and Winterball, which is sponsored by MLB. In Rally Cap, players ages 4-7 are taught skills and techniques, being evaluated as they meet different performance targets. With each level advanced, they get a new hat of a different color. "Winterball," Taillon said, "is designed to provide gym teachers with plans to initiate students in grades 3, 4 and 5 to baseball." Prospective players are evaluated for Baseball Québec's high-performance leagues between ages 14 and 15. From there, it is Midget AAA and the Ailes du Québec program, the province's U17 team. Those who continue play in the ABC program in the fall and winter and the Elite League in the summer. Players at this level are at the top of their game, and many are either drafted or signed to play college baseball in the United States. Martin and Gagné are veterans of the ABC program. One player hoping to follow in their footsteps is James Lavinskas, a 20-year-old third baseman for the Montréal Elites, one of the only shows in town for baseball fans. A three-sport star in football, baseball and hockey at a Connecticut prep school, Lavinskas came up through the Elite League's feeder programs, and now he is heading to the United States for college ball. Lavinskas will play for Seminole State College in Oklahoma, following once again in Gagné's footsteps. "Guys are getting drafted every year," Lavinskas said, summing up his hopes after moving on from the Elite League. With Baseball Québec's work, the sport's foundation in Montréal is stabilizing, with or without Olympic Stadium's help. Aside from a single postcard and one or two minutes of a 30-minute tour, baseball's only other fingerprint on the facility stands right out front, a statue of Jackie Robinson. After signing Robinson, Branch Rickey sent him to Triple-A Montréal. On the road, Robinson was jeered just as he would be when he was promoted, but in Montréal, fans loved their star second baseman. Robinson batted .349 with the Triple-A Royals that season, leading the team to a 100-win season. During Robinson's final game with the team, fans gave him a standing ovation, and a second curtain call, amazing support for a black athlete in 1946. "The fans just chased him after the game because they loved him and didn't want him to go," Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame president and CEO Tom Valcke said. "Rachel Robinson once said, 'That must have been one of the first times a white mob was chasing a black man for a good reason.' Don't tell me Montréal has bad baseball fans. They've always been great." Even if baseball did not live on at Olympic Stadium, at least baseball left a marker of tolerance in its place, and that is worth more than a hall of jerseys and signed balls. Stephen Ellsesser is a contributor to MLB.com. Associate reporter Jayson Addcox contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. A ballpark that never was MONTREAL -- Labatt Park has had two deaths -- not bad for something that never actually existed. Condos now stand where the downtown park would have been built, and after the project was canned, the model of the park was passed to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. On one truly unlucky night in the Hall's archives, the model also met its destruction. "They just destroyed it, the two very troubled young men," said president and CEO Tom Valcke, recalling a day he said literally brought tears to his eyes. "It could have been a stagecoach or an old ping-pong table, but they wanted to destroy whatever got in their way that night." The 12-by-12 model, too large to be a regular fixture at the St. Marys, Ontario, museum, was in storage. Although a smaller Labatt Park model exists, the larger one (valued at $80,000 Canadian) was a sight to behold. "It was something -- one of the showstoppers in our collection," said Tom Valcke, director and CEO of the Hall. "I've never seen anything else like it, nothing before and nothing since. The detail -- individual seats, trees, all the concession stands -- it was beautiful." The model made an initial showing at the Hall, then Valcke put it away until a proper space could be created for it. Less than a month after the Expos franchise began its new life at RFK Stadium, two teenagers broke into the building where the model was kept and destroyed it, adding a bizarre and somewhat ironic twist to the life of the park that never was and never would be. Valcke said the Hall kept the pieces and that it could be reassembled, but that the task would be daunting and that it would be difficult to recapture the piece's original majesty. "We kept every single splinter of it," he said. -- Stephen Ellsesser
  5. J'ai besoin de votre aide. Je suis en train d'écrire un billet pour mon blogue où j'essais de nommer toutes les équipes sportives professionnelles et Semi-Professionnelles que Montréal a eu dans son passé. Voici la liste que j'ai jusqu'à maintenant, pouvez me dire si j'en ai oublié Hockey Maroons de Montréal (Ligue Nationale de Hockey) Wanderers de Montréal (Ligue Nationale de Hockey) Shamrocks de Montréal (National Hockey Association) Victorias de Montréal (Plusieurs Ligues Semi-Professionnelles) Montreal AAA Winged Wheeler (Plusieurs Ligues Semi-Professionnelles) Crystals de Montréal (Amateur Hockey Association of Canada) Voyageurs de Montréal (American Hockey League) Canadiens Junior de Montréal (et verdun) (Ligue de hockey Junior Majeure du Québec Bleu Blanc Rouge de Montréal (LHJMQ) Juniors de Montréal (et verdun et de retour à Montréal) (LHJMQ) Le Rocket de Montréal (LHJMQ) Hockey Féminin Wingstar de Montréal (National Women Hockey League, a été renommé Axion) Axion de Montréal (National Women Hockey League) Le Jofa-Titant de Montréal (National Women Hockey League) Baseball Expos de Montréal (MLB) Royaux de Montréal (International League) Royales de Montréal (Canadian Baseball League, jouaient a Sherbrooke) Football Alouettes de Montréal (CFL) Concorde de Montréal (CFL) Machine de Montréal (World Football League) Il y a aussi eu 8 équipes dans la Quebec Rugby Football Union, ancêtre de la CFL soit; Les AAA Winged Wheeler, Bulldogs, Cubs, Hornets, Indians, Nationals, Royals et les Westmounts Football Intérieur Machettes de Montréal (North American Indoor Football league, en 2005 et la ligue n'a jamais joué un match) Soccer Olympique de Montréal (NASL) Manic de Montréal (NASL et NASL Interior) Supra de Montréal (Devenu l'Impact) Basketball Dragons de Montréal (National Basketball League) Royales de Montréal (American Basketball Association, renommés Matrix) Matrix de Montréal (American Basketball Association) Sasquatch de Montréal (Professionnal Basketball league) Arena Lacrosse Montreal AAA Lacrosse Club Les Québecois de Montreal (National Lacrosse League) L'express de Montreal (National Lacrosse League) Roller Hockey Roadrunner de Montréal (RHI) Je vais surement en éliminer quelques-uns comme les équipes amateurs du temps des AAA ou de la Quebec Rugby Football Union, mais je vais leur donner un petit clin d'oeil quand même. Alors en ai-je manqué ? Je sais que j'étais pas obligé d'écrire "de Montréal" à côté de chaque nom, mais c'était plus fort que moi et je n'ai pas mentionné la future équipe de la Canadian Lingerie Football League. J'ai trouvé la plupart des équipes obscures ici http://www.angelfire.com/ns/agalley/napsl/napsl4.html
  6. this is kinda old, but it's well written and pretty interesting from an 'historical' point of view, of sorts ... it's a 1999 washington post tourism piece, set in the context of a d.c. man visiting montreal, and going to a ball game "to see the team washington will probably inherit". it nicely highlights the city's unique attractions, all the while quite accurately summing up the general mood that surrounded baseball in montreal at the time. oh, and for extra sentimentality, read with in the background ... ----------------------------------- Montreal, Expos'd Visiting the City Whose Team Might Call D.C. Home By Mike Tidwell The Washington Post Sunday, July 11, 1999 Hundreds of crazed fans in this crowd of 5,000 foreigners begin standing and savagely slamming the backs of their chairs up and down, up and down to register their intense approval of what's going on on the playing field. The act creates sharp explosions of sound not unlike small-arms fire. The only people not banging chairs, it seems, are the sticky-fingered children eating deep-fried dough or forking strange mounds of fried potatoes laced with cheese and gravy. Suddenly, down on the field halfway through this "match," something bad happens for the home team. The French-speaking fans begin yelling at the mostly Spanish-speaking players: "Pourri! Pourri!" Rotten! Rotten! People whistle and blow long, booming plastic horns. I am, of course, taking in a major league baseball game in Montreal. I'm watching the pinstriped Expos on their home turf, a nine-inning experience that's perhaps the best multicultural adventure available to Washingtonians within easy flying distance of Reagan National Airport. It's a spectacle, a combination of God's two greatest inventions: baseball and international travel. As a junkie for both, I'm borderline apoplectic, immersed in fastballs and home runs, foreign billboards and surnames I can't pronounce. But a worrisome question nags as I sip my Molson: Do we really want these guys? Unless you're tone deaf to sports news, you probably know there's rampant speculation that the financially troubled Expos may move to the D.C. area. So I've come here as more than a sports tourist. I'm on a scouting mission, crossing the border for a sneak preview. I've already told my 2-year-old son, an emerging fan back in Takoma Park, that this is his team. He wears a tiny Expos hat when we play Whiffle ball in the back yard. But seeing this team firsthand reveals the naked truth: They're awful. Just now, an Expos batter strikes out on four pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies, triggering grumbles from the sparse crowd at Olympic Stadium. The team mascot--an orange and hairy something called "Youppi" (French for "hooray")--leads the fans in more chair-slamming fun, trying to keep a rally alive. The next batter runs the count full, teasing the fans, before popping out to the pitcher. More grumbles. The Expos have the lowest team payroll in baseball and some of the youngest players--and they are off to one of their worst starts in the team's 30-year history. Two nights ago, the players committed six errors in a single game. Again: Do we really want these guys? The answer, of course: Oui! Si! Yes! Please! Pretty please! Pretty please with whipped cream and a new, stylishly retro downtown stadium within easy walking distance of the Metro on top! Expos second baseman Wilton Guerrero steps to the plate as Youppi waves his hirsute arms wildly and the fans begin yelling things in French I can't understand. Guerrero, like the rest of the team, is in a terrible slump, and he falls behind in the count just as I come to a realization: Whatever happens in this game, I'll leave without regrets. If the Expos decamp for Washington, this will be the last summer to see French Canadian big-league baseball, a phenomenon worth catching before it goes, if for no other reason than it provides something found nowhere else in North America: minor league baseball with major league players. For anyone fashionably tired of big pro salaries, high ticket prices, arrogant players and the hassle of big crowds, the Expos offer the best of all worlds. I took a cheap Air Canada flight here, spent two days touring one of the world's great cities, and now I'm getting the farm league treatment: a tiny crowd, players barely old enough to shave, a crazy marriage proposal in the stands brokered by the mascot, and a wooden outfield scoreboard with numbers updated manually by teenagers. All this for the ridiculously low ticket price of less than $5 U.S. and a seat so close to the action that I can almost smell the pine tar. Guerrero bounces to second for an out, ending the inning. I do the only sensible thing. I order another Molson. My innkeeper in downtown Montreal, Madeline, says in accented English, "So what if the Expos leave town? There are many things fantastique and unique in Montreal besides just the Expos." She's right, of course, and during my two-day stay I'm determined see some "things fantastique" before hitting the ballpark. I begin by renting a mountain bike and pedaling straight to the top of Mont Royal, the dramatic, forested mountain (okay, a big hill) in the dead center of town that gives the city its name. A winding gravel road takes me through stands of Canadian maples to a beautiful summit park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. It's odd to stand at the grassy pinnacle and be eyeball to eyeball with the tops of skyscrapers just 10 blocks away. On the way down, pausing for great views of the lovely St. Lawrence River, I pass a pair of oddly segregated cemeteries--one for French speakers, one for English speakers--a site that mutely summarizes the long-festering cultural divisions within Quebec. I pedal to the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal, a 40-square-block delight of colonial structures and alleyways filled with horse-drawn caleches and itinerant artists. A warm spring sun has unloosed crowds of diners on the city's Euro-gamut of outdoor cafes, bistros and restaurants. The legendary French Canadian reputation for highly developed leisure skills is on full display this Sunday afternoon amid a sea of white tablecloths and red wines so good that even the vin de maison is a pretty sure bet. I eat grilled salmon served rare with escargots on a bed of scallions and garlic, and nearly swoon. The next day is game day. I visit the Old Fort on St. Helen's Island, in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, before heading to Olympic Stadium. After the War of 1812, the British prepared for a possible American invasion of Montreal by building this moated fortress with eight-foot-long cannons and two-meter-thick stone walls. As something of an invader myself, I grow slightly self-conscious inside those walls. Maybe I'm paranoid, but the eyes of those period-dress sentries make me think they're onto me, pegging me as the expeditionary fingertip of Washington's long arm reaching up to snatch the Expos. I make a discreet but hasty exit. I arrive three hours before the game, leaving plenty of time to tour the flag-festooned Olympic Park. I buy a ticket for the highly touted gondola ride rising from the spine of Olympic Stadium. Photos of the 1976 Games ornament the waiting area: Nadia Comaneci, Kornelia Ender, Sugar Ray Leonard. But I soon learn something unexpected about myself: Facing backward in a gondola rapidly moving upward at a 45-degree angle makes me afraid. At the top, pale and sweating, I take in a dramatic aerial view of the famous Olympic Village, the Montreal Botanical Garden and the city's 1967 international Expo site. Back on terra firma, there's time for one more stop: Moe's Deli and Bar, where Expos fans gather. It's a friendly place with exposed-brick walls, barbecued ribs and desserts kept in an old phone booth by the bar. It's happy hour--two-for-one Labatt beers--till well past game time, perhaps to anesthetize the fans for the poor play sure to follow. I sit at the bar next to Daniel, a baseball-hatted Expos loyalist, who has a message for D.C. fans. "Don't accept our Expos," he tells me. "You've lost two teams of your own before, so you know what it feels like. Please don't do this to us." I grimace and finish my second Labatt and push back my stool while Daniel, like all Montrealers I meet, remains a friendly sport to the end. "When you reach the stadium," he says, "buy the cheapest ticket in the house. It's only $7 Canadian [$4.80 U.S.]. Then, after the first pitch, sit wherever you want." "A $7 seat, please," I tell the stadium ticket seller moments later, handing over my money. I walk through the turnstile, past the popcorn and pennant venders, toward Section 139, right field. Virtually alone in my area, I take in batting practice amid thoroughly modern trappings: artificial turf, a space-age stadium roof, a gargantuan replay screen in center field. But already it doesn't quite feel like major league baseball. First, of course, there's the ticket price, about a quarter of what you'd pay at Camden Yards. Then there's the action on the field. An Expos coach is pitching batting practice using a wobbly shopping cart full of baseballs, and he's throwing to the beat of French rock music blasting over the P.A. Thirty feet below me, two teenage boys are standing on a crude scaffold, diligently updating a sprawling pre-World War II-type wooden scoreboard that gives results from around the league. This old-fashioned work, utterly exposed to those of us in the cheap seats, involves taking scores from a press-box official, then reaching into several wooden troughs for wooden slabs hand-painted with numbers and sliding them into the appropriate slot. One of them wears a felt Gatsby hat. I exit the stands for a quick pregame bite. "One order of poutine," I tell the uniformed attendant at a concession stand. Poutine, a uniquely Quebecois concoction combining french fries, cheddar cheese and beef-stock gravy, is so popular that it's served at McDonald's restaurants throughout the province. I watch the cook in back combine the fries and cheese in a tall paper cup, then slop on a ladleful of thick gravy from a stainless-steel vat. He pauses and then, momentarily indecisive, adds a second, heaping ladleful. I'm back at my seat in time for the national anthem, spearing dripping mouthfuls of poutine with a fork. For extreme junk food, it's not so bad, though halfway through the serving my stomach begins making odd noises that compete with the junior high school band playing "O Canada" with tubas and French horns on the field. The Expos take the field next, and the crowd, sprinkled more or less evenly across the stadium, begins banging empty seats up and down in preparation for the opening pitch. Twenty-five-year-old Expos pitcher Mike Thurman is on the mound, and as he warms up you can almost sense the whole place cringe. With an 0-2 record and an ERA of 8.05, he's the worst pitcher on the second-worst pitching staff in the National League. Just two nights ago, Expos pitchers gave up 17 runs in a game. But the first pitch from Thurman is a strike on the outside corner, and cheers go up just as the strange migration begins. True to Daniel's prediction, everyone in the stands not already seated behind home plate makes a beeline for amazingly choice (and empty) lower-level seats just 20 rows from the field (above a narrow VIP section) in an arc from dugout to dugout. I grab the rest of my poutine and join the exodus. By the end of the first inning, we fans are huddled cozily around home plate. In the third inning, the Expos stage a mini rally. Third baseman Mike Mordecai lines a clean single to left, and the juices start flowing in the stands. I get caught up in the excitement--this is my team, too--so I stand and begin slamming the back of my chair and cheer madly like those around me. The noise coming from these fans is, no exaggeration, as much as I've heard from crowds four times as big in other parks. Despite the high-decibel support, the rally sputters when Thurman strikes out trying to lay down a bunt. Next to me, a serious fan named Jean Yves Leduc is studiously scoring the game. He says he's attended at least 40 Expos home games every year for the past two decades. He puts down his scoring pencil and reminisces about highlights, including the 22-inning game against Los Angeles in 1987 and the time he shook hands with third baseman Tim Wallach in the parking lot before a game. "I could feel all the calluses on Wallach's hand from taking extra batting practice every day," Yves says. "I'll never forget those calluses. He was so dedicated to this team and to the game." And what will Yves do if the Expos leave town? "I had a talk with my girlfriend," he says, "and I decided that, with all my new free time, I would just go ahead and get married and have a life." It's the top of the fourth when Thurman makes a mistake pitch and Phillies right-fielder Bobby Abreu lifts a second two-run homer into left field. Four-zip, Philadelphia. "One more Phillies run," mutters the old farmer next to me after removing his teeth, whistling and putting them back in, "and I'm going home to watch hockey." Halfway through the fifth inning, Yves gets into an animated conversation with a hot dog vendor. It's all in French, and they both laugh a great deal, and I ask Yves what's so funny. "The crowd's so small tonight that the stadium is telling all the vendors--when they go back for more hot dogs--to go home. They're getting paid for only half a game. But this vendor's decided to avoid the order by not going back to resupply. That way, he can at least get his base pay for the rest of the game." Sure enough, the vendor walks away with a smile, barking to the crowd, "No hot dogs here! No hot dogs! Pas de chiens chauds!" Unexpectedly, the Expos make a heroic comeback with three runs in the seventh, while a young relief pitcher called up from Double-A somehow keeps the Phillies scoreless. By the bottom of the ninth, the drama escalates. The Expos are down 4-3 with two outs and a man on second. First baseman Ryan McGuire, who has power, steps to the plate. We may be few, but we fans do our best. Youppi claps his hairy orange hands and directs our cheers to the field. Chairs are banging. The vendor has stopped not selling hot dogs and is rooting like everyone else. The scoreboard guys are smoking nervously, peeping through a hole in the outfield scoreboard. The guy with the false teeth, true to his word, has stayed to the end. On a 2-1 pitch, McGuire lifts a towering blast to left field. We jump for joy and cheer louder and louder. But the Phillies's left fielder refuses to give up on the ball. He drifts back, back, back and, incredibly, makes the catch standing against the outfield fence. Five thousand people collapse in their seats in anguish and disbelief. It was a good game, and the young Expos have no reason to drop their chins. But there is something very sad about the way these previously boisterous fans shuffle slowly out of the stadium. An unusually large number stop and linger at souvenir stands by the exit gates. Souvenir. A French word meaning "to remember." For many of these fans, this may very well be the last time they see their Expos. They buy hats, T-shirts, pennants. To remember. I take the Montreal Metro back to downtown thinking two things. First, I sincerely hope Montreal figures out a way to keep its team, and prosper, even if it means we in D.C. don't get one. Second, if the Expos do come to us, I can't wait for the day when I can take the Washington Metro to a baseball game with my son. I'll really show him how to make a stadium chair hum. ----------------------------------- :rolleyes:
  7. Cutting to the chase Sean Fitz-Gerald, National Post Published: Wednesday, June 18, 2008 TORONTO -- If he had told the truth while walking into that south Florida bar that winter, in 1969, nobody would have stopped to listen. So Paul Godfrey lied, just a little, and introduced himself to the commissioner of Major League Baseball as a councillor from Toronto - and not from nearby North York, where he actually worked. Then he asked for a baseball team. "Son, where are we going to play?" Bowie Kuhn asked back. "Sir," Godfrey said, "you give us a team and we'll build you a stadium." Kuhn, with his imposing 6-foot-5 frame, put a hand on Godfrey's shoulder. "Son, let me tell you the way we do it in Major League Baseball," he said. "First, you build us a stadium, then we'll decide if we want to give you a team. Nice meeting you." After plenty of negotiation and a bit of luck, the Toronto Blue Jays staged their first regular-season game at Exhibition Stadium eight years later. And by the mid-80s, Godfrey had turned his attention to the NFL, shaking hands and making friends with the league's power brokers. Today, it is Godfrey's employers at Rogers Communications who have taken up the chase, and Godfrey's employers who are faced with the same stadium-related questions for football that the former councillor faced for baseball. Rogers Centre is too small for the National Football League. Its seating capacity has been set at about 54,000 for an upcoming eight-game series featuring the Buffalo Bills, placing it firmly behind each of the league's existing 31 stadiums in terms of size. Renovations are a possibility, but would not be executed without complication. If a new facility is deemed to be the answer, then where would it be built? And who would pay for it? Ted Rogers and Larry Tanenbaum had to navigate a number of obstacles just to secure the series, and the stadium issue is still only one in a line of hurdles stretched out between them and the finish line of their quest to land their own NFL team. There are politicians on both sides of the border who would want to be heard before the relocation of any team; there are the NFL owners who would have to be convinced the time is right to move beyond the U.S. borders; there are other, American billionaires who would likely join in the bidding for any available team; and then there is the Canadian Football League, which would loudly protest any further encroachment onto its turf. "Getting a franchise, it's like getting the games here," Rogers vice chairman Phil Lind said. "It's extraordinarily complicated." Rogers Communications will pay $78-million to lease eight games from the Bills over the next five NFL seasons. And there has been rampant speculation the move eventually could become permanent. Sports investment banker Sal Galatioto, president of Galatioto Sports Partners, was asked why Toronto does not already have its own NFL franchise, despite decades of lobbying. "There are a bunch of reasons," he said. "One is Toronto doesn't have a stadium that really is NFL-ready, that meets NFL specs. That's a big problem. And it's like the chicken and the egg - unless you have the building, it's difficult to entice an NFL team to move there, but you don't want to build a building not knowing if you're going to have a team." Rogers Centre, formerly known as SkyDome, opened in 1989 at a cost of $578-million. It was overshadowed just three years later when Camden Yards opened in Baltimore, unleashing a new wave of stadium architecture, which favoured the quaint and the retro over the futuristic feel of the concrete and steel dome. SkyDome was sold to Rogers four years ago for just $25-million. Some feel the stadium could be renovated to house an NFL team by, among other things, digging and lowering the floor. The obvious conflict that would arise, though, is how the construction schedule might interfere with the Blue Jays, the stadium's primary tenant - and another of Rogers' holdings. According to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, the league does not have a minimum size requirement for stadiums. But the smallest facility, Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears, holds 61,500 fans, 7,500 more than Rogers Centre. Opinions vary about where a new stadium might be built. There would seem to be some potential along the water just east of downtown, but the lack of public transit and room for added traffic flow has ruled it out for some. Downsview Park, in the city's north end, has often been cited as prime real estate, but Liberal Member of Parliament Joe Volpe vaguely suggested there was "some maneuvering" that might rule out its candidacy. "Probably the best place - and it was the best place 30 years ago when they were talking about the SkyDome - is Downsview," Volpe said. "And the second-best place is just past Canada's Wonderland." Building a new stadium is not cheap, but some believe the Toronto group might be able to avoid asking for public money by selling personal seat licences. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is reportedly charging as much as US$150,000 for a PSL - which only really gives a fan the right to buy tickets - in his new, US$1.1-billion stadium. Private financing might be the only way to proceed in Toronto. "When SkyDome was built, Metro Toronto put in $30-million, because at that time, the municipality had felt there was a need for a major sports centre," Toronto Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone said. "There's no political will in this town, that I'm aware of, to basically subsidize an NFL team in Toronto by putting taxpayers' money in it." "It'd be tough," Volpe said. The same could be said of the competition to land an NFL team. Ralph Wilson founded the Bills for US$25,000 in 1959, and has indicated the franchise will be placed up for auction after his death. Wilson turns 90 this fall, and Forbes values the Bills at US$821-million. "When an NFL team comes on the market, Ted Rogers is great - he's a bidder, but not necessarily the winning bidder," Galatioto said. "There are other people just as wealthy as he is, if not wealthier, who want an NFL team." Galatioto suggested the Bills could have more than a half-dozen wealthy suitors, from those who might want to keep it in Western New York to those who might want to return the league to Los Angeles after an absence of more than a decade. "You're going to have a lot of interest around the Bills," he said. "Believe me, there are a lot of people who ask me that same question: Some people interested in keeping it in Buffalo; some people interested in the dream of L.A.; some people talking about Toronto. The Bills are a big, hot topic." Especially in Western New York, where the NFL acts as one of the region's final ties to the national spotlight. Senator Charles Schumer is reportedly scheduled to meet with Wilson and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at training camp this summer, seeking to ensure the team's future in Buffalo. Other politicians have made their voices heard, and only on the mere speculation the team might be in danger of moving. The Toronto consortium would face headaches at home, too, where B.C. Lions president Bob Ackles has pledged to make as much noise as possible in defence of the CFL. Senator Larry Campbell, a former Vancouver mayor, recently tabled a bill that would ban the NFL from playing regular-season games in Canada. "I do believe in the tradition of the Canadian Football League," Godfrey said. "And it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that there are ways that both can survive. I really believe that the CFL can not only survive, but I think with the co-operation between the two leagues, it can put teams in cities that they're not in today - possibly Quebec City, Halifax." According to Rogers Communications, though, the Southern Ontario market is NFL territory. "The NFL owners have to cross the threshold and decide whether they are international, or whether they are just American," Lind said. "And they lose a certain amount if, say, Toronto or Moose Jaw gets a franchise. They gain a lot, too, because there's a huge market in Canada that would be energized way more than it is right now." Godfrey, who started the chase more than 20 years ago, is admittedly not in the foreground of the most recent pursuit, focusing on his role as president of the Blue Jays while Rogers, Tanenbaum and Lind lead the hunt. But even from the background, he claims he can still see the finish line. "A team is coming here," Godfrey said. "Can I predict whether it will be two years, or six years, or 10 years? I can't. I have no inside information, but I do know the NFL wants to go global, and it's the only sport that has not gone North American - never mind global."
  8. Il s'agit d'un contrat de gestion de l'infrastructure technologique et des applications logicielles de services bancaires de la société de Halifax League Data. Pour en lire plus...
  9. The Myth of Montreal Posted 12 Feb 2008 at 12:18 PM by Bill Archer There are a great many of you who will stop reading at the above title and skip right to the comments section which Huss thoughtfully provides in order for all and sundry to heap abuse on poor ink-stained wretches like Dan and I. Fair enough. We can take it. (Just lay off of 10Shirt. He's a sensitive, New Age guy.) So in the spirit of goodwill, mutual respect and bonhomie for which I am justifiably famous, herewith some "Inconvenient Truths" regarding Montreal fielding a team in MLS. First off, let's look at Montreal's geographical dilemma, because lost somewhere in the discussion about whether Montreal is leaving USL1 is the fact that USL1 seems to be leaving Montreal. This concept is illustrated perfectly by the history of the "Can-Am Cup" competition, which was a competition between Montreal, Toronto, Rochester and Syracuse. A nice little regional tournament which added a little drama to the season by highlighting natural rivalries. Except that Syracuse folded in 2004, Toronto left the league in 2007 and there's a good chance Rochester will cease to exist in 2008. So much for natural rivalries. In fact, USL1 used to have quite a few teams within a quick plane flight, and all of them - save the teetering Rochester Rhinos - are now just memories: Long Island collapsed in 2002. Pittsburgh and Indiana in 2003. Syracuse was gone in 2004. Virginia Beach in 2006. Toronto skipped to MLS in 2007. And what new cities have taken their place? Well, there was Portland Oregon in 2001, followed by Puerto Rico in 2003 and Miami in 2005. In other words, if Rochester really does go the way of all things, the shortest road trip and closest "regional rival" will be the Carolina Railhawks, in Cary, NC, a mere 871 miles away. If home and home grudge matches between those two don't light you up, your next choices would be Charleston, SC (1134 miles) St Paul (1240 miles) and their friendly neighbor Vancouver, which is a staggering 3000 miles from the stinky cheese of home. And the league is welcoming a new member this year: Austin Texas (the obnoxiously named "Aztex"). Apparently the Dark Side of the Moon still has some stadium issues to sort out, but look for them in 2009. In short, if you're a travel agent, the Impact is the Mother lode, Holy Grail, put-down-a-deposit-on-oceanfront-property of clients. By the end of 2008 they'll have racked up more frequent flier miles than Barack Obama. Compare this planeride/hotel existence competing against a bunch of far distant cities the average Quebecois couldn't care less about with membership in Major League Soccer East: Toronto anybody? How about New York? New England? DC? Possibly Philadelphia? Think maybe you could gin up a little fan interest in any of those games? Talk about a no-brainer: step up to a Division 1 league offering readymade rivalries with major North American cities and have your travel expenses go down? Where do I sign? Get Garber on the horn! Plus, as everyone knows, because it gets repeated on BigSoccer 50 times a day, Montreal is a) moving into a gleaming new Soccer Specific Stadium this April, b) Draws 12,000 fans a game in a minor league and c) is owned by a scion of the deep-pockets Saputo family, worldwide cheese purveyors. What else could you possibly want? What kind of idiot is Don Garber, wasting time playing footsie with Philly and St Looey while this golden opportunity is just a quick hop across the border? Well, to paraphrase Havey Keitel (Mr Wolf) in Pulp Fiction, let's not start "congratulating ourselves" quite yet, gentlemen. There are a couple of issues getting lost in the confetti here, to wit: First of all, the Impact is not owned by team President Joey Saputo. After the team went bankrupt in 2002 (something nobody ever seems to mention) the team was resurrected as a non-profit organization owned by Saputo, the Quebec Government and Hydro-Quebec. It's charter is to serve as a representative for Montreal tourism and as an incubator for Quebec-born soccer talent. So leaving aside the question of just how Phil Anschutz might feel about being partnered with a bunch of French-speaking politicians, and just how this ownership structure translates to MLS (and, honestly, it doesn't) there's the fact that a good deal of the Impact's success at the box office is due to the fact that they field as many Quebed-born players as they can find, another thing which won't likely translate well into MLS unless their goal is to lose all the time. Furthermore, Saputo, who would have to be the one to take over ownership and become and MLS partner, has been bad mouthing MLS for the better part of a decade, very publicly disparaging the caliber of play and scoffing at any hint that he might be interested in joining up. Back when MLS was desperate for someone - anyone - to step up and buy a team, Saputo ridiculed the idea that it was worth the $10 million asking price. A year or two later, when he could have bought in for $15 million, he announced that it just wasn't worth the money. But maybe, as the USL has migrated away from Montreal, and after seeing Toronto's success last season, maybe he's changed his mind and, being the gracious, good-hearted, forgiving types that we are, why wouldn't we simply forgive and forget and - assuming he's changed his mind, a proposition for which there is but scant evidence - roll out the red carpet and welcome him with roses and champagne? Short answer: his stadium. Now, on any day of the week you can read dozens of BigSoccer expansion experts raving about the wonderful new stadium in Montreal. They'll tell you how, although it only seats 13,000, it is "expandable" to 18,000 (officially it was 17,000 but 18 sounds better, apparently) and if that's still a little small, well, why let that get in the way of a good story? I would suggest to those of you who are dying to put MLS in that building to look at a couple facts. Starting with the cost of construction: Among recent stadium projects, Red Bull Park will come in somewhere between $180-200 million. If memory serves, Bridgeview was built for around $100 million. Sandy Stadium is projected to wind up at roughly $115 million. Chester (Philadelphia) and the proposal in Miami both call for $100 million buildings. Saputo Stadium (Stade Saputo for you Francophones) will be completed this April at a total cost of $15 million. Canadian. By comparison, Columbus Crew stadium, which a lot of MLS fans denigrate as being a cheaply built galvanized erector set high school stadium cost Lamar Hunt over $28 million. Ten year ago. So let's have a look at the gleaming soccer palace which so many of you insist ought to become an MLS venue immediately if not sooner, shall we? The small cement block building in the corner is the combination restroom and concession stand. Just like your local high school only smaller. The expansion to 17,000? They'll put another set of bleachers in the open end, where the consruction trailers are. It'll make all the difference, I'm sure. Now this is a very nice little stadium for USL1. Works very well. But for MLS? Seriously? I mean, the place makes Crew Stadium look like Anfield. Sorry, Montreal. It's just not going to happen. http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/blog.php?b=277