EDMONTON – The Halifax-proposed CFL franchise now has a name – the Atlantic Schooners.
"I'm happy to announce that CFL's 10th team will be known as Atlantic schooners," John Ryerson announced to the cheers of hundreds of fans late on Friday.
Ryerson spoke at the annual Gray Cup East Coast Kitchen. He is the organizer of this old Gray Cup social club, designed to bring a taste of the east coast to the big game of Canada.
Schooners beat other suggestions, such as Atlantic Convoy, Storm and Admirals.
It was chosen in a contest and already has a history. Schooners would be the name of a proposed CFL team in the 1980s, but that dream never materialized.
Kitchen Party fans said it was the right choice.
"I love the name. I was hoping it would be Schooners," said Daryl Shipman of Winnipeg, wearing a blue Schooners shirt.
"It symbolizes the East Coast, sailing ships and the maritime aspect."
Leslie-Anne McKenzie of Calgary, also in Schooner Blue, agreed
"It's absolutely the right name. This is great news for the league," she said.
"Schooners only make sense because it's history."
The next step is to get a place to play.
The Football Partnership, which is bidding, is eyeing a plot of land on the east side of Halifax port for a 24,000-seat facility. The cost is estimated at $ 170 million to $ 190 million and the group said it will need public funding.
So far, more than 5000 fans have put up the season ticket deposits.
CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie says CFL wants Halifax to become its 10th franchise.
Earlier Friday, speaking to reporters, Ambrosie said the league has signed a step-by-step agreement on what needs to be done to get the franchise launched.
"Ultimately, the big hurdle is the stadium," Ambrosie said.
But he pointed out the layout is there.
"We are totally committed to their efforts to win the 10th team," he said.
"For many of us, this is a dream that has been around for decades in the idea of a Canadian championship from coast to coast."
Meanwhile, Storied Halifax will likely send CFL players to its atlas, according to a random, non-scientific survey of participants at the Gray Cup in Edmonton.
"(It's the) first time I heard about Halifax to be honest with you," said Ottawa catcher Redlbacks, R.J. Harris
"I do not know anything about that."
Ottawa pitcher Dominique Rhymes of Miami has heard good things about the entertainment scene.
"I heard that the nightlife is very good," he said. "I've never been, but I think I can go in the next few months."
Calgary Stampeders defender Jamar Wall of Texas said: "I do not know anything about Halifax.
"I'll probably be away before that (franchise) happens, but good luck to the guys who could be there."