One Grey Cup, two outdoor games and three pro sports seasons later, TD Place is bidding a fond farewell to 2017.
And what a year it was.
Coinciding with Canada 150 celebrations, Lansdowne as a whole was a hub of activity all year long, whether you were taking in a REDBLACKS, 67’s or Fury FC game, attending a concert or just going out for a night on the town, there were few quiet moments around here over the past 12 months.
In all, about four million people visited the Lansdowne site in a year that was capped off in style with the 105th Grey Cup, the NHL100 Classic and the first-ever outdoor 67’s game.
With 2018 around the corner, here’s a look back on some of the 2017 highlights:
Though the REDBLACKS came up short in their quest to repeat as champions this season, the CFL community descended on TD Place in late November for another Canadian football classic. With snow falling throughout the game, the sold out crowd of 36,000 was treated to a great game and overall experience, punctuated by Shania Twain’s dog sled arrival to perform the half-time show. Toronto defeated Calgary to capture CFL glory.
Both the REDBLACKS and Fury FC honoured some of the best of the best in their respective games this season with a pair of high-profile retirements. After leading the REDBLACKS to the franchise’s first Grey Cup and the city’s first CFL Championship in 40 years, Henry Burris went out a champion, retiring early in the new year. That was soon followed by the retirement of Fury FC captain Julian de Guzman, the most accomplished Canadian soccer player ever. Both have remained close to their respective teams. De Guzman, for his part, was just officially named Fury General Manager.
Outdoor hockey, anyone?
Call us crazy, but who wouldn’t jump at the chance to host back-to-back outdoor hockey games at TD Place in less than 24 hours? No problem. Up first was the NHL100 Classic between the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens, followed the next day by the first-ever 67’s outdoor game as the Barber Poles squared off against the Gatineau Olympiques. It was cold, the hockey was good and the beer was flowing (until it froze). Does it get more Canadian?
Football records broken
With the REDBLACKS making a final push for the East Division title in 2017, receiver/returner Diontae Spencer stepped up in a big way against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in late October. Spencer broke a CFL record for all-purpose yards, racking up 496 yards between kick/punt returns, missed field goal returns and receptions. It was a game for the ages for Spencer, who hung onto his game jersey to give to his mom.
NHL comes calling
The 67’s continue their storied tradition to developing young NHLers and it paid off in 2017 with the selection of defenceman Noel Hoefenmayer and forward Sasha Chmelevski in the NHL Entry Draft. Hoefenmayer was taken by the Arizona Coyotes in the fourth round, while Chmelevksi went to the San Jose Sharks in the sixth round.
Fury attendance climbs
Fury FC closed out their home schedule in style this year with a 4-0 drubbing of FC Cincinnati at TD Place. But even more exciting was that, on Fan Appreciation Day, the crowd of 5,445 helped Fury FC top the 100,000 mark in total attendance for the first time, bringing the season total to 104,354.
Fury downs TFC
One of the biggest wins in Fury FC history came during the first leg of the Canadian Championship semi-final. After advancing to face Toronto FC thanks to a win over Edmonton in the previous round, Fury overcame an early 1-0 deficit to hand Toronto a 2-1 loss. TFC would advance on aggregate after a win at home in the second leg, but Ottawa’s victory in that first game over the eventual MLS Cup champions was nothing short of historic.
Paradise City in Ottawa!
Rock fans in Ottawa were in for a special treat in August as Guns N’ Roses hit the outdoor stage at TD Place. It was a rare opportunity to see the original lineup in all its glory, with Slash and Axl once again sharing the stage.
Thanks, Ottawa, for making 2017 another year to remember!
By the Numbers
REDBLACKS attendance in 2017: 274,174
Fury FC attendance in 2017: 104,354
67’s attendance in 2017: 81,980
TD Place events attendance in 2017: 108,825
Events in 2017
REDBLACKS games: 11
Fury FC games: 19
67’s games: 37
TD Place: 31