Empire dreams - 24 Hours


By BOB MACKIN

Could the B.C. Lions be back at Empire Bowl in 2010?

"It has the potential to be something we do annually," Lions' business vice-president George Chayka said of Sunday's community practice.

The Lions played at 32,375-seat Empire Stadium 1954 to 1982. The stadium, built for 1954's British Empire Games, hosted seven Grey Cups, Elvis Presley in 1957, the Beatles in 1964 and the Vancouver Whitecaps from 1974 to 1983, but was demolished in the early 1990s. The site reopened with soccer and softball fields and a field house in 2003.

B.C. Pavilion Corporation has considered it as a temporary home for Leos' games in 2010 because of post-Olympic construction for a retractable roof at B.C. Place Stadium. The Liberal government, however, said last week the $365-million project is under review.

"We're still waiting to find out what the decision is going to be, we haven't heard anything further," Chayka said.

Meanwhile, Friends of Soccer's Bill Currie wrote Premier Gordon Campbell to urge the project be done on time in 2011 when the Whitecaps are supposed to debut in Major League Soccer.

"It was a promise your party proclaimed dozens of times to the electorate, and your party took every opportunity during the campaign to slam your opponents when they showed uncertainty about the project," Currie wrote.