Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Forge FC and Hamilton Bulldogs allowed 100 per cent capacity

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Published October 8, 2021 at 6:16 pm

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats' next home game in on Monday, Oct. 11. (Hamilton Tiger-Cats photo)

Many more Hamiltonians will have the chance to feel grateful for the chance to boo the Toronto Argonauts in person on Thanksgiving Day.

Football’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats, soccer’s Forge FC and hockey’s Hamilton Bulldogs each got a win at the box office on Friday. The Ontario government informed all teams that select indoor and outdoor settings across the province where proof of vaccination against COVID-19 is required will increase to full capacity as of Oct. 9.

The announcement may be an indicator that the Grey Cup in Hamilton on Dec. 12 will also be at full capacity. That will likely contingent on COVID-19 hospitalizations remaining low in Ontario. In the short term, it comes just ahead of the Ticats hosting the rival Toronto Argonauts in a first-place showdown on Monday (Oct. 11) at 4 p.m. at Tim Hortons Field. The Ticats, who had heretorfore been limited to 75 per cent capacity at the stadium, said all remaining tickets for Monday’s game will be available via Ticketmaster.

“We want to thank the provincial government and our public health authorities for all of their efforts and guidance as we return safely to full capacity for events at Tim Hortons Field,” Ticats president and chief operating officer Matt Afinec stated. “The health and safety of our fans, players and everyone attending Tim Hortons Field has always been at the forefront. With that remaining our main focus, we’re excited about today’s announcement and look forward to returning to a full capacity moving forward.”

The Ticats, Forge FC and the City of Hamilton both made proof of full COVID-19 vaccination and photo identification a condition of entry on event days without being required to by the province. Proof of a negative COVID-19 test was not enough to receive admission.

The Bulldogs will be the first Hamilton team to play without the capacity limits, since they have their Ontario Hockey League home opener on Saturday against the Barrie Colts (with 2,000 health-care workers as invited guests). The Bulldogs, who have a typical OHL average attendance around of 4,000 in recent years, seemed to joke about a bit about filling the 17,383-seat FirstOntario Centre, whose capacity will be downsized its upcoming renovation.

Forge FC, which tends to draw crowds in the 3,000 to 5,000 range, are home next against Athlético Ottawa on Oct. 16 at 3:30 p.m.

The Ticats (4-4) trail first-place Toronto (5-3) in the CFL East Division standings with six games left before the playoffs. Head-to-head record is the first tiebreaker for playoff seeding in the CFL. The first-place finisher also gets a direct bye to host the East Division final.

The Tiger-Cats are plus-12 after the home team won in each of their first two affrays. Hamilton also has four home games ahead of it, while Toronto has three.

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