Toronto, ON – (February 3, 2009) – The Canadian Football League will kick off its 2009 season on Canada Day, Commissioner Mark Cohon announced today.
“July 1st is the perfect day to celebrate that this is our country, this is our league, and the bond between the two is strong,” Cohon said as the CFL released its schedule for the upcoming season.
“We can’t wait to get started. And, in the meantime, the thought of a summer holiday capped by a fun evening at a CFL stadium is just the ticket to get many of us through another cold, winter day.”
Opening Day on Canada Day does promise some football fireworks: a clash between traditional rivals - the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats from Ivor Wynne Stadium (7:00 p.m. eastern on TSN) followed by a rematch of the 2008 Grey Cup game with the defending Grey Cup champion Calgary Stampeders hosting the Montreal Alouettes (10:00 p.m. eastern on TSN and RDS).
The Edmonton Eskimos open their season the following day (Thursday, July 2) when they host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (9:00 eastern on TSN). The 2009 debut of Friday Night Football caps opening week on July 3rd with the Saskatchewan Roughriders hosting the British Columbia Lions (9:00 eastern on TSN).
Other highlights of the 2009 CFL Schedule include:
• Labour Day Weekend features some traditional match-ups with the Lions hosting the Alouettes on Friday Night Football (10:30 eastern on TSN and RDS), the Roughriders hosting Winnipeg on Sunday (7:30 eastern on TSN) and, on the holiday Monday, Toronto returning to Hamilton (4:00 eastern on TSN) and Edmonton visiting Calgary (7:30 eastern on TSN).
• Thanksgiving Weekend kicks off with Edmonton hosting B.C. (9:00 eastern on TSN) on Friday, October 9th, Saskatchewan hosting Toronto (9:00 eastern on TSN) on Saturday, October 10th, and a double header on the holiday Monday: Calgary at Montreal (1:00 eastern on TSN and RDS) and Winnipeg at Hamilton (4:30 eastern on TSN).
• The Grey Cup playoffs (TSN and RDS, times to be determined) return to a Sunday format, with the East and West Semi-Finals on Sunday, November 15th and the East and West Finals on Sunday, November 22nd.
• The Stampeders have a rare opportunity to defend their championship on home soil, with the 97th Grey Cup game set for Calgary on Sunday, November 29th (6:30 eastern on TSN and RDS).
Preparations for the season are well underway, with the Evaluation Camp for draft eligible players set for Toronto March 6-8, the CFL’s Canadian Draft set for May 2nd, training camps open June, 7th and pre-season games set for June 17th and June 23rd.