Officials announced the move Thursday morning, which gives the reigning Western Mustangs their first chance ever to defend their Vanier crown in front of a home crowd.
“Western has been so successful at football, Greg Marshall runs just a professional club, and Western was very interested in hosting,” said U Sports chief sport officer Lisette Johnson-Stapley.
“You’ve got a great football community, so it just made sense.”
Lisette Johnson-Stapley, the chief sport officer for @USPORTSca, has announced that the 57th Vanier Cup will be held at Western Alumni Stadium, giving the reigning Western Mustangs a chance to defend their champion status in front of a purple crowd #LdnOnt pic.twitter.com/O9UFM2lN6H
— Andrew Graham (@andrewjwgraham) June 23, 2022
For London Mayor Ed Holder, the move was a long time coming, especially after Toronto had so many opportunities to play host.
“I need to ask a question,” Holder told a crowd attending Thursday’s announcement. “So Toronto (41) times hosting the Vanier Cup, this is Western’s first time, what the hell?
“In the spirit of equity, I believe sincerely that the Vanier Cup has to be hosted in London … another 45 more times after this for a little bit of balance because we’re sure as hell a better football team, no offence to disrespect to my friends at U of T, I’m sure they would never take offence to that.”
The hosting gig will also give the university a chance to show off the newly renovated Western Alumni Stadium, which seats more than 10,000 fans.
“We invested a lot of resources, a lot of money in making this facility new for the next generation,” Western president Alan Shepard said about the renovation, which took place last year.
“New field, new track, some new stadium seating and other amenities.”
While Thursday’s announcement was a cause for celebration, Mustangs head coach Greg Marshall has no plans to crack open a bottle of champagne any time soon.
“To be able to play (the Vanier Cup) at home would be tremendous, but having said that, we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Marshall told Global News.
“We’ve got a good football team coming back, we’re very good offensively, we’re going to be a little young on the defensive line, but it’s going to be a tough road.
“We’re excited about that being our end goal.”
The Mustangs’ road to the Vanier Cup will kick off on Aug. 27 when they host the University of Guelph at Western Alumni Stadium.
The Vanier Cup, which pits the winners of the Mitchell Bowl against the winners of the Uteck Bowl, will take place on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 1 p.m. ET
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