Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ title defense starts with Grey Cup rematch in Hamilton on June 13; The team will celebrate its championship and province at June 26 home opener. A couple of holiday classics are featured: Mark’s Labour Day Weekend and a Thanksgiving Day game
“We’re proud and excited to officially launch the countdown to a new season of great football, featuring top flight athletes from Canada, the U.S. and around the world,” said Randy Ambrosie, Commissioner of the CFL.
“We can‘t wait for June and the start of our clubs’ quests to capture the 108th Grey Cup in Saskatchewan. And we couldn’t think of a better holiday gift for our fans than the opportunity to savour everything to come on the other side of another Canadian winter.”
The Lions and Eskimos kick off the new season on Thursday, June 11 in a match-up featuring two newly-appointed head coaches: Scott Milanovich in Edmonton and Rick Campbell in BC. Friday Night Football is the next stop on the coaching carousel: Paul LaPolice debuts as the REDBLACKS’ head coach in Ottawa against the visiting Toronto Argonauts and first-time head coach Ryan Dinwiddie. The second half of the evening’s doubleheader will see the Montreal Alouettes in Calgary to take on the Stampeders. Week One wraps up with a Saturday night prime-time rematch of the 107th Grey Cup as the defending Champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers travel to Hamilton to face the Tiger-Cats.
CELEBRATE THE CHAMPIONS, CELEBRATE THEIR PROVINCE
The Bombers’ home opener will coincide with the Manitoba 150 celebrations sweeping the province this summer. The team will host the Calgary Stampeders on Friday, June 26 – the evening before Unite 150, a free outdoor concert on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature.
CONSISTENCY MEANS APPOINTMENT VIEWING
Set your calendars: Thursday Night Football all summer long. With the exception of Mark’s Labour Day Weekend, there will be Friday Night Football every weekend, Saturday football all season long with almost all Saturday games in prime-time in the East and no Sunday games until the playoffs.
FOCUS ON PLAYER SAFETY
The new schedule continues the league’s emphasis on working to provide teams with more rest and recovery time between games. In 2017, teams played with less than seven days rest 54 times. That has now been reduced to 44 – a 19 per cent decrease. There have been no four-day turnarounds in the CFL since 2016.
CIRCLE THE DATES
The Hall of Fame Game features the REDBLACKS in Hamilton to play the Tiger-Cats on Saturday, August 15 – one night after this year’s Canadian Football Hall of Fame class is inducted at Tim Hortons Field.
Mark’s Labour Day Weekend has BC at Ottawa on Thursday, September 3, Winnipeg at Saskatchewan on Sunday, September 6 and the Argos and Ticats, plus the Eskimos and Stampeders, on Monday, September 7. The following Saturday features two traditional rematches with the Riders visiting Winnipeg and the Stamps in Edmonton.
Canadian Thanksgiving Day football is back: the Argos play the Alouettes in Montreal on Monday, October 12.
The Argos will play a neutral site game on Saturday, July 25 against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. (More exciting details to be announced soon)
Rick Campbell, the only head coach the Ottawa Redblacks had ever known until he landed in BC this off-season, brings his Lions to the nation’s capital on September 4. Paul Lapolice, a key part of the Bombers’ Grey Cup victory as their offensive coordinator before taking the head coaching reins in Ottawa, returns to Winnipeg with his new team on October 16.
ALL ROADS LEAD TO SASKATCHEWAN
CFL Semi-final Sunday is November 8 with the East and West Finals set for Sunday, November 15. The 108th Grey Cup will be contested at Mosaic Stadium in Saskatchewan on November 22 at 6 p.m. ET.
All CFL games will be broadcast exclusively in Canada by Bell Media on TSN and RDS. CFL games are available in the U.S. on the ESPN network.
The Canadian Football League, a proud part of Canada’s sporting and cultural fabric, has been the home of elite-level, professional Canadian football since 1958. Canadian clubs have competed for the iconic Grey Cup trophy since 1909.