For the darkness and devastation that has surrounded the Canadian Football League for the past few months, there are now hopes left for players, coaches and fans for the upcoming season.
The Canadian Football League is ready to make a comeback.
On Friday, the league announced its 2021 schedule The first game of the season will be the 2019 Gray Cup rematch between Hamilton Tiger-Cats and champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Thursday, June 10th.
The season ends in late November, with the 2021 Gray Cup taking place on Sunday 21 November at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.
“We look forward to hosting our comeback season in our stadiums, in front of our fans,” said CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrose.
“With this schedule, we are giving signs that we are looking forward to playing in 2021.”
The Gray Cup has not been awarded for the first time since 1919 after the league canceled the 2020 season in August.
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Training camps for next season begin in early May, with the first pre-season games coming up in the last week of the month.
After failing to get on the field in 2020 due to the epidemic, the league will focus more on regional competitions to reduce player travel.
While the revised schedule suggests optimism, there are still a lot of unanswered questions, including how hundreds of American players will be able to cross the border to play.
In the past, teams usually played two divisional teams twice and two divisional teams played three teams, and then twice, non-divisional teams played at home and away. Now, teams play three divisional teams, three times and only once a division team.
For example, the Saskatchewan Rafriders play Edmonton, Calgary and BC three times and Winnipeg twice. They will then play Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa twice, but will face Hamilton only once this season.
Preserves schedule tradition
Despite some minor changes, the new re-entry schedule is fraught with many CFL traditions.
With the Montreal Alloyts visiting the Ottawa Redblocks on Friday, September 3, there is a full slate of classic match-ups on Labor Day Weekend, September 5, the Saskatchewan Rafriders hosting the Bombers on Sunday, and the holiday, Monday, September. 6, with Toronto Argos.
“As we look forward to the new season, we are encouraged by the reports that have come in about vaccines, treatments and rapid testing in the news,” Ambrose said.
“We will work with our local public health authorities in 2021. We thank our fans, partners and broadcasters for their continued support and look forward to enjoying great Canadian football with them.”
Thanksgiving is upon us, which means the holiday season is in full swing. The regular season ends with a double header on Saturday, October 30, with two divisional match-ups and the Edmonton bombers visiting the Aloyts in Toronto.
The playoffs begin on the first Sunday in October with the Eastern and Western division semifinals. The divisional finals will then take place on Sunday, November 14, which will eventually lead to the Gray Cup in Hamilton a week later.