MONCTON, N.B. — Once again, Moncton will be hosting the CFL.
The league announced Friday it will be holding the 2019 Touchdown Atlantic game there Aug. 25 between the Toronto Argonauts and Montreal Alouettes. The contest will be played at Stade Croix-Bleue Medavie Stadium on the University of Moncton campus.
It will mark the fourth time the CFL has held a regular-season game in Moncton, but first since the Hamilton Tiger-Cats edged Montreal 28-26 on Sept. 21, 2013.
Moncton got the nod ahead of Saint John, N.B. and Antigonish, N.S. A big reason for that was the presence of Moncton's stadium, a facility with 10,000 permanent seats but can be expanded to 20,725 via temporary seating.
The game wasn't being played in Halifax due to the lack of a suitable venue there.
Staging the game in Moncton continues the CFL's drive to put an expansion franchise in Halifax. The contest is being presented by the owners of the proposed Halifax CFL franchise, the Atlantic Schooners.
Anthony LeBlanc, a founding partner of Schooners Sports and Entertainment (SSE) was on hand for the announcement at the Avenir Centre along with CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie and Moncton Deputy Mayor Greg Turner.
"From the very beginning, the major objective of our group has been to make the Atlantic Schooners a regional team and bringing this game to Moncton helps us achieve that," Leblanc said in a statement. "It would not have been possible without the support of the City of Moncton and the Government of New Brunswick, and the great work of the CFL, the Toronto Argonauts and the Montreal Alouettes.
"We continue to work hard behind the scenes to offer football fans what will be a great experience, so stay tuned as more information about the game will be available shortly. You won't want to miss it."
Ambrosie said Touchdown Atlantic is another opportunity for football fans in the Maritimes to enjoy CFL football.
"Canadian football belongs in Atlantic Canada," he said. "Anthony and his partners Bruce Bowser and Gary Drummond and their team are working hard to realize the dream of a 10th CFL team, and this Touchdown Atlantic game is an opportunity to share our unique, exciting game and our incredible athletes with fans in Atlantic Canada.
"I can't wait for game day, and I know fans will have an amazing experience."
Added Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold: "We are excited to be the host city of Touchdown Atlantic for the fourth time. We are pleased to welcome two teams, the Argonauts and the Alouettes, who have already experienced our legendary hospitality. Moncton showed it was a great football city in the past, and we are looking forward to again displaying our passion for the game in August. It’s going to be a great time."
Toronto, which had the worst home attendance in the nine-team league last season, will be the Touchdown Atlantic home team and will give up a contest at BMO Field in 2019. The Argos also played in the inaugural Touchdown Atlantic game in 2005, a 16-16 exhibition tie with Hamilton.
Toronto was also part of the first of three-regular season games in Moncton (2010, 2011 and 2013).
"The Argos are thrilled to be returning to Moncton to take part in the Touchdown Atlantic series with Montreal," club president Bill Manning said. "Growing the game of Canadian football from coast to coast is an initiative we fully support, and we are excited to have the Double Blue faithful in Atlantic Canada to enjoy some east coast hospitality and cheer on the Argos."
Alouettes president Patrick Boivin echoed those sentiments.
"We are delighted to return to Moncton where we had played a game in 2013," he said. "We have always said that we are in favour of adding a 10th team to our league, and we are happy to support the CFL’s presence in Atlantic Canada with this game in Moncton."