STREAMING CFL PPV: Montreal Alouettes @ Calgary Stampeders, June 9, 9 pm ET (03:00 am June 10 CET)

CALGARY — The pre-season is complete.

Rosters have been set.

And the road to the 109th Grey Cup begins Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. ET when the Montreal Alouettes head west to visit the Calgary Stampeders.

Montreal enters the regular season after a 1-1 pre-season that saw them lose to Hamilton Tiger-Cats 25-23, before going on to beat the Ottawa REDBLACKS 27-26. The Stampeders on the other hand won both of their pre-season matchups, beating the BC Lions 41-6 and the Edmonton Elks 37-7.

But the pre-season is now over, the regular season is here and things are about to get real.

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The Alouettes will have their main man Vernon Adams Jr. back under centre for the first time in a regular season game since Week 10 of last year, when he suffered a season-ending arm injury against Ottawa.

In the eight games he appeared in for the Alouettes last season, Adams threw for 1,949 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Als head coach Khari Jones likes the familiarity and versatility that Adams provides his team heading into their season opener.

“I just think Vernon’s the right person for the job at this point,” Jones told the Montreal Gazette. “He’s been in the system for a long time. Not only can he do things from inside the pocket, he can do things from outside the pocket. He makes things happen with his feet. He’s won games here. We feel really good with him being the quarterback.”

One of Adams’ targets for the upcoming season will be former Calgary Stampeders first-round pick, Hergy Mayala. The Als’ newcomer caught 67 passes for 846 yards over the past two seasons with the Stamps.

However, Mayala won’t be the only Calgary connected receiver at the disposal of Adams on Thursday night. Montreal’s ninth overall pick from this year’s CFL draft, Tyson Philpot, enters his rookie campaign after a career at the University of Calgary. As a Dino he caught 77 passes for 1,574 yards and 14 touchdowns in 16 career games.

On the ground it will be running back William Stanback carrying the load for the Als. Stanback’s availability was in question earlier in the week when he was limited at practice due to an ankle injury. Defensive backs Jarnor Jones (hand) was also limited, while Najee Murray did not participate due to a foot injury. Stanback and Jones were both full participants at practice on Tuesday and appear ready to go, while Murray is listed as out for Thursday’s contest.

Stanback will be joined in the backfield by the recently extended fullback Christophe Normand. The Bromont, QC native recently signed on for two more seasons with his provincial team.

If the Als hope to be successful they’ll need to find a way to penetrate a Calgary defence that allowed just 13 points in two pre-season games.

On the home side, quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell enters his 10th season with the Stampeders and will look to lead his team to the Grey Cup for the first time since their 2018 championship run.

If the preseason was any indication, he’ll have help behind him as University of Nebraska running back Dedrick Mills looks primed for a big rookie season. Mills will look to take some of the load off of Ka’Deem Carey who had 164 carries for 869 yards last season. The duo will try to exploit an Als’ defence that allowed 92.9 rushing yards per game a season ago, a mark that was fourth best in the league.

Through the air, Mitchell will look to Kamar Jorden who led the Stamps with 767 receiving yards last season.

It appears as though the showdown between the Philpot brothers will have to wait. Tyson’s twin brother and fellow receiver Jalen, the Stampeders fifth overall pick in the 2022 draft, is listed as doubtful for Thursday’s action as he’s on the one-game injured list.

Mitchell knows the first game of the season can present many unknowns and adjustments will need to be made along the way.

“I think game one is always hard to predict,” he said in a CTV News Calgary interview. “You’re going to look at tape from last year and you’re going to watch the pre-season. But you know they had a whole off-season to watch us and prepare for us. We expect to see some things we’ve never seen before.”

In their lone meeting in 2021 in Week 3, the Stampeders walked away with a 28-22 victory at McMahon Stadium. And now the two will meet again to kick off the new season.

As the Als and Stamps get ready to open the 2022 CFL season, kickoff is set for 9:00 p.m. ET at McMahon Stadium in Calgary on Thursday night.

– With files from and CTV News Calgary.

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Watch the game live here PPV. Montreal Alouettes @ Calgary Stampeders, June 9, 9 pm ET (03:00 am June 10 CET)

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