Quick … define “imparnumerophobia.”
In case you don’t know (and why would you?), it’s the fear of odd numbers.
I can’t say I actually suffer from imparnumerophobia – I’ve seen a lot of odd numbers in my day, and none have ever particularly scared me – but they bother me when it comes to sports leagues.
As a general rule, I think all athletic confederations should have an even number of teams and, ideally, at least 10.
I’ve given the nine-member Canadian Football League a pass because that was its original number in 1958, and because I’m a CFL apologist.
But a 10-team CFL?
I could go for that.
And it looks like maybe Halifax will go for that, too.
It doesn’t have a team or a stadium yet, but Maritime Football Limited Partnership started a season ticket drive last week to determine interest in a Nova Scotia-based CFL team.
A press conference to kickstart it all, held on November 7 at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, featured CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie and members of the group making the push.
“I think it’s the unfinished piece of business that has been on the hearts and minds of Canadian football fans for decades,” Ambrosie said.
For someone who has never set foot on Canadian soil (but who hopes to do so sooner than later), I still feel like I have a tangible connection to the CFL.
Maybe it’s because I’ve followed it for 40 years, and was even able to claim I lived in a CFL city – Birmingham – for one season in 1995.
Whatever the reason, I care deeply about the league. And when you care about something, you want to see it do more than survive … you want it to thrive.
I think adding Halifax to the mix would do just that and bolster the strength of the entire league.
“We do know that this is a great sports market,” Anthony LeBlanc of Maritime Football Limited Partnership said. “Everyone knows that this is a great place to live, work and play, and the idea of having a franchise here is something I know is important to everybody.”
A trademark for “Atlantic Schooners” has already been registered, but Admirals, Convoy and Storm is on the short list provided by the potential ownership group. Nothing is set in stone, and LeBlanc said those who put down $50 deposits on season tickets will have a chance to name the team, which will be announced on Friday.
“This is a big day for Halifax and Atlantic Canada,” LeBlanc said. “It’s a day football fans have been waiting for and an important step towards bringing another professional sports team to this region.”
Now if Halifax can just get a team.
On October 30, the Halifax Regional Council voted unanimously to study the feasibility of a 24,000-seat stadium, a decision that came after Halifax Regional Municipality revealed that the CFL was expected to grant the area a conditional franchise.
Cost of the stadium is reported to be in the $190 million range, and council members want it funded through reallocated funds from property taxes.
They’ve made it quite clear the municipality will nix any plans to operate and maintain the stadium itself.
So, nothing is promised.
Still, things look promising.
There is even hope that a team could be playing by 2020, which would assuage my disdain for odd numbers and give the CFL an even 10.
I assume a balanced schedule would be a byproduct of two five-team divisions, with each team playing every other team twice across an 18-game regular season.
“As Canada’s national league, the CFL aspires to have a presence from coast to coast,” Ambrosie said. “Our players want to play in the region, and our fans tell us they want the league to expand east. We’re happy to see fan excitement growing for an Atlantic franchise.”
I’ll bet those who suffer from imparnumerophobia are happy, too.