Windsor Express question venue after record crowd
A record crowd of 2,300 fans packed the Colosseum at Caesar's Windsor to watch the Windsor Express on Wednesday.
It's the second year in a row that moving the game downtown makes for a really good crowd, and it has team owners wondering if the WFCU Centre where they regularly play, is the right fit.
This is the team's third season, and while the team has been a big success, with a steady rise in attendance, but it's still not where the ownership wants it to be - except when they play downtown.
Coach Bill Jones says, "The crowd was electric, they got the guys energized and that's what we need. So we just want to carry these fans out to the WFCU - for the next home game, and hopefully we can continue to go and to play well."
But home games at the WFCU Centre in the city's far east end only draw average attendance of just below 1,000 per game - compared to an average closer to 3,000 at the Colosseum.
Jones says "The people seem to support this. If we can get maybe two games, three games or four games down here, that'll be good - have the fans come down here and watch us play."
Windsor Express CEO Dartis Willis says the price tag and logistics to play downtown season-long are too steep, even if home game bleacher volumes at the big WFCU Centre aren't inspiring.
"We don't know how long we can go, so I'm looking right here to see what we can do different to make it work."
Where is looking is the Windsor Arena - affectionately known as 'The Barn,' he says, "We want to play somewhere we can bring the people...We need a place where the people feel they can get to, the most successful teams are playing downtown right now."
But Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens explains the problem, "We've agreed in principle to sell that property to the school board, so they're waiting for their funding."
The provincial funding, which would see Catholic Central School move to that location - hasn't yet been secured.
An announcement from the Catholic board is expected in April, and until then the city is locked into the agreement.
But Dilkens says, "If the whole thing fell apart with the Catholic school board, that building is left empty and that was one of the options, but there'd have to be more to it than just a home for the Windsor Express."