Boatmen set sail for Atlantic Canada


Atlantic Canada will welcome the Toronto Argonauts Tuesday as the team travels to Moncton in anticipation of a home-away-from-home game on Sunday.

The Double Blue plays host to the Edmonton Eskimos in a regular season game that will take place at Moncton Stadium.

Argonauts coach Jim Barker is happy to be spreading the Canadian game around the country.

“We’re excited about going to Moncton, and we’re excited about showing the people of Moncton what the CFL is all about,” Barker said in his press conference after the Argos win on Sunday against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Argonauts players and staff will travel to New Brunswick on Tuesday, and will take part in festivities throughout the week that will include parties, food and high school and university football.

The team has been looking forward to bringing their game to the other side of the country and show their Atlantic Canadian fans what it is all about.

“We are thrilled that the league has chosen the Argos to be the home team for the first-ever CFL regular season game in Atlantic Canada,” Argonauts president and CEO Bob Nicholson said in a press release.

“When the Toronto Argonauts played in Halifax in 2005, we promised the citizens of Moncton that we would play there, and are excited that we can finally deliver on that promise.

“The Argos are committed to building the CFL game throughout Canada and bringing our game to the East Coast helps do this.”

Several staff members and some players traveled to Moncton before the start of the 2010 season, to announce the game, and spread the word.

Defensive tackle Adriano Belli was amongst the visitors to New Brunswick, and during his time there he joined the CFL in the launch of the program, along with visiting local schools and hospitals.

“CFL players are proud of what we do on the field and in the community and we’re very proud to bring our league to Atlantic Canada,” Belli said at a Moncton news conference.

“We’re especially excited to be the home team and are looking forward to seeing all of our East Coast fans in the Double Blue.”

The Touchdown Atlantic, so named by a vote of more than 3,000 that was organized by the Moncton Times Transcript, is expected to receive a capacity crowd of more than 20,000 fans.

Public sale of tickets for the game was a sellout after just 32 hours. When they opened the box office for a one-day pre-sale in March, more than 13,000 tickets were sold to fans that registered in advance.

Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc stated at the news conference that he hopes the game, along with recent major concerts, will help propel the city’s reputation as a place for entertainment.

Along with helping the city, Nicholson thinks that both the Eskimos and the Argonauts are looking for the same results of their time in New Brunswick.

“Both teams have the same goals for Touchdown Atlantic,” Nicholson said at the news conference in Moncton. “Make a positive difference in the community, meet new friends, and win the game.”