Cohon: CFL working to put team in Maritimes

Halifaxl fans show their support for an East Coast franchise as the Calgary Stampeders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats played in Moncton, N.B. in 2011. (CP/Andrew Vaughan)

The Montreal Alouettes are currently the team farthest east in the Canadian Football League, but that could change in the coming years.

Talk of expansion has been an ongoing topic in the CFL for years and many fans across the country want to see the league expand into Atlantic Canada.

“That’s something I’m working on right now. I’m working on a five-year plan,” CFL commissioner Mark Cohon told Tim and Sid Thursday on Sportsnet 590 The Fan.

Though there aren’t currently any teams in Atlantic Canada, the league has made an effort to have a presence out there in recent years.

“We’ve done two regular season games in Atlantic Canada; we’re doing another game this year in Moncton,” Cohon said, referring to a Sept. 21 game that will see the Alouettes and Hamilton Tiger-Cats meet in Moncton as part of the league’s Touchdown Atlantic series.

Cohon added that he’s had some conversations with the mayor of Moncton as well as the mayor of Halifax.

“The new mayor of Halifax is very much interested in the project we’ve done in Ottawa – can the CFL be a catalyst for urban renewal in the areas within Halifax? And we’re starting to have those conversations,” Cohon explained.

The eight-team league is set to welcome a ninth franchise in 2014, as Ottawa is returning to the CFL, this time as the RedBlacks.

With the league succeeding on many fronts these days, Cohon said now is the time to start seriously looking at eastern expansion.

“I think we’re at a stage now where the league is strong,” Cohon said. “In the past (expansion east of Montreal has) been a dream of people. I think there’s an opportunity now, because of the strength of the league, to see if we can make that a reality.”

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.