CFL approves 14-game regular season, Grey Cup date in Hamilton
Don’t call it a comeback.
Actually, do call it a comeback.
The Canadian Football League (CFL) owners voted unanimously Monday (June 14) on a 14-game regular season that will kick off on Aug. 5 and culminate in the 108th Grey Cup on Sunday, Dec. 12 in Hamilton.
"This is an exciting day for Canadian football and for Canada itself," said Randy Ambrosie, Commissioner of the CFL.
"I want to thank our fans, players, coaches, and partners for their incredible support and patience as we've worked together towards this day. This is great news for everyone who loves our game and our country."
The league set Aug. 5 as the target start date back in April after COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the 2020 season. It will be the first day of CFL football since the 107 Grey Cup on Nov. 24, 2019 -- a day Tiger-Cats fans have been trying to forget.
Hamilton enters the 2021 season with the longest active championship drought, having gone 21 years and 20 seasons without a title. The Ticats got pummeled in that Nov. 24 game against the Winnipeg Bluebombers, 33-12 at McMahon Stadium in Calgary.
What better way to snap the streak than to do so this year in front of the hometown crowd?
"Our team and our league are all about our fans, players, staffs and partners. We thank all of you for your passion, patience and perseverance. You've made today's announcement possible,” said Ticats owner, Bob Young.
"It's an exciting day and it's time to talk about football on the field and what promises to be one of the most exciting seasons in CFL history, culminating in a historic Grey Cup played right where it should be, at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton."
The CFL’s opening day announcement came shortly after the Ontario government outlined the return-to-play framework, outlining the minimum requirements that must be met for a safe return to play.
"We are on track to receive all of the necessary health and safety approvals, thanks to our tireless medical advisors and staff, and the dedicated government officials who have been working with them," Ambrosie said. "And while the outlook for fans in the stands varies from province to province, we are confident that process is also on the right track."
The full 2021 CFL Schedule will be released Tuesday (June 15) along with each CFL club's plan for distributing tickets to season ticket holders and, where government restrictions on stadium capacity allow, ticket sales to the general public.
CFL training camps are scheduled to begin on July 10.
"I want to acknowledge our governors for choosing to move forward in this very positive way today, for their perseverance, vision, and our great players, for working with us in a spirit of true partnership," Ambrosie said.
"Words cannot express how grateful we all are to the health care and front line workers who have done so much to keep Canada going. We at the CFL want to thank everyone who has chosen to get vaccinated. We encourage everyone to get a first shot, or a second, when it is their turn,' he said.
"The public health officials in every province keep telling us that as long as the vaccination rate keeps climbing, and the number of cases of COVID-19 is contained or goes down, the more life will get back to normal, including full capacities in our stadiums."
CFL governors also approved an amended collective bargaining agreement with the Canadian Football League Players' Association.
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