Michel Belanger

VANCOUVER – The organizing committee for the 47th Vanier Cup is proud to announce that the ticket mark has surpassed 21,000 for the first national university football championship to be staged in Vancouver.

This will ensure that the CIS final, set for Friday, Nov. 25 at 6 p.m. PT at B.C. Place Stadium, will become the best attended single-day amateur sports event in the city’s history. The number will surpass the previous mark set in 1978, when 16,400 watched UBC defeat Simon Fraser 22-14 in the Shrum Bowl at Empire Stadium.

“I think that football fans from across the country and BC along with our sponsors have done themselves and this game proud,” said Vanier Cup Director-Vancouver, Jim Mullin.

“There has been a tremendous group effort behind the scenes involving the Grey Cup Committee, CIS and MRX to get to this stage,” added CIS president Leo MacPherson. “Now we just have to punch the ball into the end zone.”

With a little over a week remaining before the second Vanier Cup ever played west of Ontario, a sellout of the 25,300-seat lower bowl remains in sight.

The CIS championship game will be the second-best attended in 16 years, trailing only a crowd of 26,787 at Toronto’s Rogers Centre in 2007. In 1995, the Calgary Dinos defeated the Western Ontario Mustangs before 29,178 at Rogers Centre (the SkyDome).

Three of the last five Vanier Cups have been sellouts in smaller venues, including in 2006 in Saskatoon, as well as in 2009 and 2010 in Quebec City.

Marg McGregor, chief executive officer of CIS, is also pleased that The Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State for Sport, will be on hand for the Vanier Cup celebrations.

“Canadian Interuniversity Sport is delighted to have Minister Gosal join us for the Vanier Cup festivities. Sport Canada is a big supporter of university sport, so it is fitting that Minister Gosal will be at centre field for the ceremonial coin toss.”

Tickets remain at participating Canada Safeway stores in Southwestern BC, for only $17. Tickets can also be purchased from the box office by calling 778-383-0922.

Four teams remain in the hunt for the 2011 Vanier Cup and only two will be left standing following Friday night’s CIS semifinals. The evening starts off with the Uteck Bowl from Moncton, NB as the OUA champion McMaster Marauders face the AUS champion Acadia Axemen at 7:30 p.m. AT (3:30 p.m. PT). The duel is followed by the defending national champion Laval Rouge et Or visiting the four-time Canada West champion Calgary Dinos in the Mitchell Bowl at 7:30 p.m. MT (6:30 p.m. PT). Both games are on TSN and RDS.