Atlantic Schooners

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Atlantic Schooners
Team logo
Founded 1982
Folded 1983
Based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
Head coach John Huard
General manager J. I. Albrecht
Team president John Donoval
Owner(s) Maritime Professional Football Club Ltd. (Included John Donoval, J. I. Albrecht, and R. B. Cameron) [1][2]
League Canadian Football League
Colours Silver, Maritime Blue, Nautical Brass, and white[3][4]

The Atlantic Schooners were a conditional Canadian Football League (CFL) expansion team that was to begin play in 1984 in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. However, team ownership could not secure funding for a stadium and the franchise application was withdrawn 13 months after it had been submitted.

Franchise history

On May 13, 1982, Maritime Professional Football Club Ltd. was granted a conditional expansion franchise by the Canadian Football League's board of governors with unanimous approval.[5] The team was to pay a $1.5 million expansion fee by May 1, 1983 and could begin play in 1984 if a suitable 30,000 seat stadium were built in time for the league opener that year.[1] The ownership group was led by John Donoval, a Mississauga, Ontario truck executive, and J. I. Albrecht, former general manager of the Montreal Alouettes. Even before the franchise was officially awarded, Albrecht, who was working as a football consultant for Donoval, planned on hiring Acadia Axemen head coach John Huard as the Schooners' first head coach.[6] As expected, Huard was named as head coach on the same day that the franchise was awarded.[7][8] Nova Scotia industrialist, Robert Burns Cameron joined the ownership group on August 30, 1982 and was reported to have invested over 50% into the group.[2]

On November 3, 1982, the team name Atlantic Schooners was officially announced by Albrecht at a press conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia.[9][10] It was selected based on a study followed by a name-the-team contest in which "schooner" was the winning selection.[11] Other names that were considered by Donoval were Atlantic Windjammers and Atlantic Storm.[6] The goal was to have a team that would represent each of the four Atlantic provinces and become a regional team.[6] The logo was a stylized "A" in the shape of a schooner that rode on four waves, each representing the four Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland.[12] The team colours were silver, maritime blue, nautical brass, and white.[3]

An expansion draft was planned to be held following the 1983 CFL season where, initially, a maximum of 38 players from the existing nine member clubs would be used to form a roster.[5] The actual formula was approved on November 24, 1982 by the CFL governors. Each of the nine existing clubs would be able to protect 10 imports and 10 non-imports from their final rosters from the 1983 season. The Schooners would then select two imports and two non-imports from each team for a maximum of 36 players. Each team could only protect one quarterback and the Schooners could draft a maximum of two in total. The draft would have taken place in January 1984.[13]

The Schooners proposed home was a 34,000-seat stadium located on leased land in the city of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, said to be built at a cost of $6 million.[14][15] When the franchise was awarded, it was still being debated between the mayors of Halifax and Dartmouth where the new stadium should be built as both wanted the team in their respective cities.[9] However, neither the provincial or federal government were willing to contribute to the funding of the stadium. As described by senator Ray Perrault, minister of state for fitness and amateur sport, federal funds were only made available when a city was hosting an international event, such as the Olympic Games or Commonwealth Games. The Premier of Nova Scotia, John Buchanan, also stated that no provincial funding would be made available in any circumstance.[16] The ownership group had purchased a scoreboard from the New England Patriots' Sullivan Stadium for use in their new stadium.[17]

Ultimately, the Schooners were unable to meet the deadlines set by the league, including the deadline for a financing plan for the new stadium. On June 16, 1983, Maritime Professional Football Club Ltd. withdrew their application for a franchise and refunded season ticket deposits.[18] The ownership group's withdrawal came one day before the league deadline because Donoval believed that a withdrawal rather than league rejection would make re-applying for a franchise easier. However, another franchise application never came to fruition.[19]

Attempted revival

In November 2017, the Schooners name and logo was linked to a new attempt at CFL expansion to Halifax. The bid is headed by Anthony LeBlanc, former CEO of the NHL's Arizona Coyotes. The CFL confirmed that they received a 'very credible' pitch from the group.[20] Public consultations have shown popularity for the new team to adopt the Schooners name.[21] On December 12, 2017 the organization Maritime Football Limited re-registered the Atlantic Schooners trademark.[22][23] Once again, a stadium for the team is the main issue. As the tenth and final stop on his cross country off-season tour CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie held a town hall style session in Halifax with the leaders of Maritime Football Limited. At which both parties reiterated that although there was no imminent announcement of a conditional franchise, steady progress was being made.[24] On June 5, 2018 Dave Naylor revealed that Maritime Football Limited met with the Premier of New Brunswick (Brian Gallant) and Mayor of Moncton (Dawn Arnold) to discuss the impact of adding a regional CFL team to Atlantic Canada, and the possibility of playing games in Moncton while a Halifax stadium is being built.[25] On June 19, the group met with Halifax Regional Council to discuss the possible team and stadium.[26][27] In October 2018 the group selected the neighbourhood of Shannon Park, in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia as the target location for a new stadium. The proposal is to construct a 24,000-seat multi-use stadium with an adjacent commercial development at a cost of $170 million to $190 million.[28] On October 30, 2018 Halifax City Council voted 15-0 in favour of engaging in the development of a thorough business case for the potential stadium.[29] Eight days later Maritime Football Limited held a joint press conference with commissioner Randy Ambrosie at Saint Mary’s University to announce the launch of a season ticket drive and name the team contest.[30]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Canadian League Expand". Associated Press. May 14, 1982. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
  2. ^ a b "Yanks' Owner Blasts Umpires". The Montreal Gazette. August 30, 1982. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
  3. ^ a b "Atlantic Schooners christened". The Globe and Mail. November 4, 1982.
  4. ^ Paul Palango (June 17, 1983). "Demise of the Schooners roils troubled CFL waters". The Globe and Mail.
  5. ^ a b Ian Dutton (May 14, 1982). "Dream turns into reality for Maritime group". Leader Post. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  6. ^ a b c Lyndon Little (May 13, 1982). "Maritimes' CFL bid heating up". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  7. ^ Jeff Adams (June 13, 1983). "Schooners Coach Waiting for a Decision". Canadian Press. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
  8. ^ Lyndon Little (May 14, 1982). "CFL conditionally accepts Halifax". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  9. ^ a b E. Kaye Fulton (November 4, 1982). "Team has name but no stadium". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  10. ^ Canadian Press (November 4, 1982). "Atlantic team gets its name". Leader Post. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  11. ^ "Newest Canadian team given name 'Schooners'". Lawrence Journal-World. Nov 4, 1982. Retrieved 2011-04-09.
  12. ^ Football fans remain loyal to Atlantic Schooners
  13. ^ "CFL franchise for Maritimes gets approval". The Globe and Mail. November 25, 1982. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  14. ^ "Schooners unveil plans for new football stadium". The Leader-Post. Feb 5, 1983. Retrieved 2011-04-09.
  15. ^ Canada Press (April 21, 1983). "Dartmouth approves site for new football stadium". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  16. ^ Canada Press (November 5, 1982). "Ottawa takes wind from sails". Leader Post. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  17. ^ "CFL scuttles Schooners". Canadian Press. June 17, 1983. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
  18. ^ "McEnroe hopes shoulder heals for Wimbledon". Lakeland Ledger. June 17, 1983. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
  19. ^ Michael MacDonald (February 10, 2014). "CFL team for Halifax a good idea but still years away: commissioner". The Province. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  20. ^ "Group makes 'very credible' pitch for Halifax CFL franchise - Article - TSN". TSN. 2017-11-16. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Atlantic Schooners trademark registered by company with links to CFL bid". Global News. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  23. ^ "Atlantic Schooners name has been re-registered - 3DownNation". 3DownNation. 2017-12-12. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  24. ^ "Slow and steady approach to landing CFL team in Halifax, says bid group". CBC News. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  25. ^ "Commissioner, prospective Halifax owners meet with Moncton - Article - TSN". TSN. 2018-06-06. Retrieved 2018-06-07.
  26. ^ "Maritime Football Ltd. agree to process for securing Halifax franchise". TSN. June 19, 2018. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  27. ^ "Halifax council gets CFL update behind closed doors". Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  28. ^ "Group behind Halifax CFL expansion bid picks stadium site -". TSN. 2018-10-26. Retrieved 2018-10-26.
  29. ^ "Game on: Halifax votes to advance negotiations on potential CFL stadium". Global News. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  30. ^ "Maritime Football LTD. announces season ticket drive for potential team -". 2018-11-07. Retrieved 2018-11-07.

External links

  • Spin or Spun: Should the CFL expand to Halifax? Debate
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