Tim Hortons Field ready for Ticats home opener on Canada Day

Posted: Jun 29, 2016 12:16

The Tiger-Cat stadium is ready for the home opener Friday, following speaker collapse

Hamilton Ticats are ready to go for the 2016 home opener this Friday versus the B.C. Lions, following a month of structural malfunctions at Tim Hortons Field. (Aaron Lynett/The Canadian Press)

The city says Hamilton Tiger-Cat fans can cheer safely this Friday at the home opener at Tim Hortons Field.

After a speaker fell 30 metres and rolled down 26 rows earlier this month, the city initiated an engineering review and is now confident the stadium is ready to welcome fans for the game against the B.C. Lions.

“More than anything the Tim Hortons field is a safe facility for the community,” said Rob Gatto, Manager of Sports and Entertainment Facilities for the City of Hamilton.

After the  speaker crashed on the east side of the field in early June, the city hired a forensic engineer to check “anything that’s in the air.”

The city-hired engineer checked lights, speakers, scoreboard and any other items that could fall into the field.

Ongoing issues

At that time Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson, who headed the city committee for the stadium project, told the CBC, “I’m disgusted.”

“It’s crap. We’ve had so many problems with this thing.”

The stadium has been wrought with problems since it was finished in 2014 for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games in Toronto and Hamilton.

Hamilton wasn’t involved in the original construction. Instead the $145-million project was was led by Infrastructure Ontario and involved construction consortium Ontario Sports Solutions.

The construction, which was delayed a number of times, forced the Ticats to play out a season in Guelph and then part of the next at McMaster University.

Just one year after the city took ownership of the stadium, there have been reported deficiencies, including obstructed seat views.

“First and foremost it’s public safety.”– Rob Gatto, Manager of Sports and Entertainment Facilities 

Since the crash earlier this month, the speakers and brackets on the east side of the stadium have been pulled down and inspected and further testing will continue over the summer.

The rest of the stadium was analyzed and OK’d by the city’s forensic engineer.

“First and foremost it’s public safety,” says Gatto, who is notifying stakeholders of the findings.

Over the course of the summer, further tests will be put into place on the speakers and brackets themselves, as well as a complete quality analysis of the stadium.

With testing and analysis, “we’ll get to the root of the problem,” said Gatto, who has ensured that the isolated speaker incident will have no part in game day on July 1.

Ready for fans

“At the end of the day it’s a good structured building, a great facility to host events, and  we’ve proven that since 2014,” said Gatto. “We’ve got a good product, and it’s great for the community and great for the CFL.”

No major concerns were raised by fans after the speaker dropped, who arrived to enjoy the stadium for an exhibition game June 17, just two days after the investigation began.

“The building is safe and I think the crowd spoke to that by being almost a sell out for an exhibition game,” he said. “Go Tiger-Cats.”

The team opened the season on the road in Toronto last week, posting a 42-20 win over the Argonauts.

This Friday’s game against will be followed by fireworks in the stadium to celebrate Canada Day. Game time is 7 p.m.

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