Blue Bomber Report Record: 7–11–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bombers clinging to hope for new home

Admits return to old stadium now Plan B

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THE Winnipeg Football Club reiterated its position on where it will play 2012 regular-season games Friday, remaining confident they can get into Investors Group Field come the end of July.

Bombers CEO Garth Buchko told members of the media that the club is prepping for the possibility of having to play at least one regular-season game -- maybe more -- at Canad Inns Stadium this summer if construction targets at the 33,500-seat facility aren't met before May.

On Friday, the Free Press reported the Bombers are actively looking at contingency plans for the 2012 season.

"Nothing has changed," Buchko said. "What was reported yesterday was true, we do have a 'Plan B.' That is the prudent thing in any business; you need to have a 'Plan B' just in case things don't work out the way we want them to."

Buchko once again confirmed construction at $190-million Investors Group Field is two months behind schedule and the Bombers have already committed to play the June 20 pre-season game at Canad Inns Stadium.

Winnipeg opens the regular season schedule with four straight road games before the first home date July 26 against Edmonton. The game is the first of four home games for the Bombers, who also enjoy the bye week during that stretch.

Buchko has circled May 1 on the calendar as the day management will decide where some -- if not all -- of those games will be played. A definitive construction progress update and timeline for completion will be provided then, he said.

"So far, it's one game," Buchko added. "I think most people understand that when you're building a home or you're building a business or you're building a stadium, there are construction issues. This is a windy province, and unfortunately when you have 25 C weather in March it brings wind. And that's what we're dealing with."

The Bombers aren't the only football operation looking at a 'Plan B' scenario for the coming season.


The Manitoba Bisons are scheduled to open play in the new building on Sept. 8 against Saskatchewan but haven't completely ruled out dusting off University Stadium for the home opener yet.

"We're working on that right now," Bisons head coach Brian Dobie said Friday. "We do have University Stadium -- that's probably 'Plan B' for us -- but there might even be a possibility, if it comes to that, where we move our games off-campus for what would be 'Plan C.'"

Rather than dump money into the University Stadium field on the off-chance Investors Group Field isn't ready before the Banjo Bowl, Dobie said the Bisons might explore playing their games at Canad Inns Stadium.

Dobie said the university hasn't approached the Bombers about this scenario yet.

Buchko pointed to Canad Inns Stadium as a suitable backup plan.

The old Polo Park facility was shutdown like any other year following the 2011 season, he says, adding any start up costs and repairs have already been budgeted for if there weren't a new stadium.

"It's probably going to cost us $200,000 to get it going, which is normal," Buchko said. "We have a contingency fund just in case we run into other issues that we didn't expect."

NEW RECEIVER: The Bombers signed non-import Rory Kohlert, a 6-foot-2, 182-pound receiver who spent last season with the Saskatchewan Huskies. The 24-year-old started the 2011 season on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats practice roster.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 24, 2012 C1

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