There is a sentiment it is time to take the tournament around the country. No other major team sport has a fixed venue. Let's pretend hypotheticals such as having a basketball floor and being willing to pay the piper (the event is a big cash cow, since basketball has a lower overhead than football) are addressed. What cities and schools offer a combo of good support, a solid team and an appropriate mid-sized venue. Off the top of one's head:
- Saskatchewan (Credit Union Centre, Saskatoon): The new national champions play in a province which will support just about anything sporting, and Saskatoon offers a modern but not overly large venue with flexible seating capacity which can go up to 11,000. The city already did a good job with the 2006 Vanier Cup.
- UBC (Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, Vancouver): This hinges on what direction the UBC athletics program takes (NCAA?), but it did not get a 6,800-seat hockey arena on campus for the sake of the status quo. It would only be fair, too, to let Alberta and B.C. teams have a chance to play closer to home after travelling 2-4 time zones for more than a quarter-century and counting.
- Windsor (WFCU Centre): One does wonder how push there will be to direct semi-major sporting fare toward the City of Roses, since neighbouring Detroit got a Super Bowl and NCAA Final Four in a short span.
Windsor is a finalist to have the OHL's Spitfires host the 2011 Memorial Cup at the 7,000-seat WFCU Centre, which would be a good size for the Final 8. The question is whether the university and the city's business core have deep enough pockets. Windsor is the school which has the longest-tenured OUA football coach since it cannot afford to reassign him until his contract expires.
The St. Denis Centre would also make a good site for the women's Final 8. It is worth noting since (a) there is no host site for the 2012 women's Final 8 and (b) coach Chantal Vallée's Lancers are defending champion among schools staying in CIS.
Both Windsor and Saskatoon, among others, would have to trouble-shoot displacing a major junior hockey team for a week either at the end of its regular season or start of its playoffs. People saying the three Ottawa Final 8s should have been at Urbandale Centre might have wanted to keep that in mind. (Then again, it's less of an issue if it's held earlier so not to coincide with the NCAAs.)
- McMaster (Copps Coliseum, Hamilton): Marauders men's coach Joe Raso, in wake of the women's tourney in the Hammer two weeks ago, resurrected a long-standing idea about hosting the men's tourney. Hamilton has a fairly knowledge, passionate fanbase, so there's a lot to like about the idea. Copps (17,383 for hockey) might be a little large and is also one of the older buildings on this list.
- Western (John Labatt Centre, London): The JLC (9,100 for hockey) hosts NBA exhibition games (Global Spectrum, which manages the arena, has some tie to the Philadelphia 76ers), so setting up for b-ball would not be an issue.
Besides, it would be a good show that Western is a good sports school for all seasons and has evolved well past "the three seasons: football, football recruiting and spring football" phase. Mustangs athletic director Thérèse Quigley is not averse to being big and bold.
- Ryerson (the renovated Maple Leaf Gardens): A fan who might be moving to Toronto soon can dream, can't he?
- Laval (new Quebec City arena): Football fans should not be the only ones to experience a CIS championship hosted by Laval.
The sticking point is that Laval is out in suburban Ste-Foy and presumably any arena built in hope of resurrecting Les Nordiques would be far from campus.
- Queen's (K-Rock Centre, Kingston): Only in here to point out another Kingston Frontenacs owner Doug Springer will never let another team host a national championship at the K-Rock Centre, his petty fiefdom that he doesn't actually own or operate. You have to keep dates available for that huge playoff run (all the way to the second round!) that he's been promising Kingston since 1998, don't you know.
In no way is this a suggestion Springer and his Frontenacs (halfway to being swept in the first round) is actively trying to sandbag another Kingston team's bid to land a national tournament ... in no way whatsoever.
The new Queen's Centre, meantime, would be ideal for the women's Final 8 or a men's regional, should need for the latter ever arise.