TORONTO — The CFL released its much-anticipated 2019 game schedule on Thursday with the regular season kicking off in Hamilton.
The 2019 season gets started on Thursday June 13 when the Saskatchewan Roughriders, led by the current Coach of the Year Chris Jones, travel to Hamilton to meet the Tiger-Cats in the debut of their new head coach, Orlondo Steinauer.
The Calgary Stampeders launch the defense of their championship on Saturday June 15 when they host the Ottawa REDBLACKS. A rematch of the 106th Grey Cup presented by Shaw, the game is the first of 19 “Saturday Prime” games on TSN (all at 7 p.m. ET). It is followed that night by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers visiting the BC Lions and their new head coach, DeVone Claybrooks.
Here is a look at some of the highlights for each team:
Home to Winnipeg – June 13
- All about the Saturdays as the club plays six of its nine regular season games on weekends in 2019 with two games on Friday nights and a feature game on Thursday Night Football in July.
- West Division rival Saskatchewan Roughriders make the first of two visits on Saturday, July 27th and then return on Friday, October 18th. The Grey Cup-champion Calgary Stampeders make their only regular season appearance in Vancouver on Saturday, November 2nd.
- The second half of the regular season schedule features all four East Division teams making the trek west and five games after Labour Day.
Home to Montreal – June 14
- The Green and Gold travel to Calgary on Friday, August 2 to face the 2018 Grey Cup champions for the first of three regular-season matches. The Eskimos return to McMahon Stadium for the annual Labour Day Classic on Monday, September 2. The Labour Day Rematch takes place at The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday, September 7.
- The Eskimos 2019 home schedule includes one Thursday game, five Friday games, and three Saturday games, and one Sunday pre-season game.
- The final regular season home game is against Saskatchewan on Saturday, October 26.
Home to Ottawa – June 15
- The home-opener is the first of six Saturday home games during the regular season. Calgary’s home dates also include a special Thursday Night Football event featuring live music at halftime in July, a Friday Night Football clash against the Roughriders and the traditional Labour Day Monday battle against the Edmonton Eskimos
- As was the case in 2018, the 18-game regular season is spread over 21 weeks, with three byes for each team. Calgary’s byes are in Weeks 2, 11 and 16
- The Stamps’ provincial rivals, the Eskimos, make two regular-season visits to Calgary – Aug. 3 and the Labour Day Classic on Sept. 2 – while the Stamps make two trips to Winnipeg to face the Blue Bombers
- The regular-season home schedule includes five games in June, July and August plus the Labour Day Classic
- The home schedule features two early-afternoon contests – the Labour Day Classic against Edmonton on Sept. 2 (2:30 p.m.) and a Sept. 14 matchup with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2 p.m.) during which the Stamps will celebrate Family Day
- McMahon dates also include five Saturday 5 p.m. kickoffs, one 7 p.m. start and one game that begins at 7:30 p.m.
At Hamilton- June 13
- The regular-season opener will be on Thursday, June 13th as the Riders visit the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. It will be the fourth time in franchise history the Riders will open in Hamilton. The Green and White won in 2012, while dropping openers in Hamilton in 1978 and 1972.
- The Riders will stay out East for game two of the regular season on Thursday, June 20th in Ottawa. It is the first time since 1999 that the Riders will open the regular season with two road games.
- The team will play three Thursday night games, including one at home – August 1st vs. Hamilton.
- The team will have its first of three byes during week five with the latter two falling on week 10 and 15 respectively.
- The 55th annual Labour Day Classic will be played Sunday, September 1st. The Riders have won 13 of the last 14 matchups and hold a 36-18 advantage through the first 54 meetings.
- The Riders have back-to-back games at home in week three and four (and again week six following the bye) and again in week 11 and 12. The team will play back-to-back on the road in week one and two, then three consecutive away on weeks 18, 19 and 20.
WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS
At BC – June 15
- With an even mix of Thursday Night Football and Friday evening games in the 2019 calendar, fans will be able to enjoy many summer nights at Investors Group Field. In all, the Bombers will host four regular season Friday night games and three home games on Thursday nights in the summer months.
- After a bye in Week 2, the Bombers are home at Investors Group Field for the home opener June 27th, followed by a trip to Ottawa on Friday, July 5th.
- The team is then home for weeks five and six to host the Toronto Argonauts July 12th and the Ottawa REDBLACKS July 19th for Friday Night Football. The Bombers then head East for Weeks 7 and 8 before returning home for a West Division Final rematch against the Calgary Stampeders Thursday, August 8th.
- The long-rivaled Roughriders then visit Winnipeg for the much-anticipated Banjo Bowl on Saturday, September 7th at 3:00 p.m, one of two Saturday afternoon games in the fall.
Home to Saskatchewan – June 13
- Hamilton’s schedule features a mix of Friday and Saturday games, with a balance of evening and afternoon kickoffs.
- The Tiger-Cats will host their oldest rivals, the Toronto Argonauts, three times in 2019 (2 regular season, 1 preseason) including the Labour Day Classic, which returns to a 1 p.m. time slot.
- WeatherTech Football Day in Hamilton – September 2: A celebration of football and live music, culminating in the Labour Day Classic vs. Argonauts. More programming details to come in the new year
- Canadian Football Hall of Fame Game – August 10: This clash with the BC Lions features a halftime induction ceremony of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019
- Wall of Honour Game – Date TBD: A soon-to-be selected Tiger-Cats legend’s name and number will join other distinguished Wall of Honour inductees on the upper facade on the west side of Tim Hortons Field during a halftime ceremony
Home to Hamilton – June 22
- Under the lights: Toronto will play seven of its eight home games at BMO Field at night; three on Saturday nights, three on Friday nights and one on a Thursday night. The last home game of the year is scheduled for a 4 p.m. kickoff vs. BC.
- The Argos call BMO Field home for the fourth consecutive year and will have a new playing surface to get excited about. A new grass surface, strengthened with intertwined artificial fibres that help protect and hold the surface together as well as reduce recovery time between events, will be in place before the Argos take the field for their home opener.
- Four of Toronto’s final seven games will be at home.
- The return of the CNE game! The Argos welcome the Edmonton Eskimos to BMO Field on Friday, August 16th, at 7:30 p.m. Free admission to the CNE included with the purchase of a game ticket.
- Weeks five to seven will see Toronto travel West for three straight road games vs. Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton. 2015 was the last time Toronto played three straight West teams on the road.
- The back half of the season figures to have major playoff implications, with six of the nine games against East Division opponents. The final four games of the season come against the East.
At Calgary – June 15
- The REDBLACKS host five Saturday games next year, with start times split between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. with a single 1 p.m. start on September 7 against the Toronto Argonauts.
- The June 20 home opener marks the first of two editions of Thursday Night Football in Ottawa next year, the other being a tilt between the Stampeders and REDBLACKS at TD Place on July 25.
- Ottawa’s two Friday night games are July 5 against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and a November 1 date with the Montreal Alouettes in Ottawa’s season finale.
- The REDBLACKS road schedule includes five Friday games and four on Saturdays.
At Edmonton- June 14
- The Alouettes will kick off their home season on Thursday, July 4 against their division rivals, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium. The opener will be the return game of a home and home series against the Tiger-Cats and mark the first opportunity for Alouettes fans to witness the team in action wearing their new home uniform. The Montreal squad will officially begin its season on Friday June 14, against the Eskimos in Edmonton.
- The regular season includes four Friday home games as a part of the Friday Football series
- New in 2019, the Alouettes will play four home games on Saturdays
- Division rivalries will mark the start and end of the season, as the Alouettes will face Ottawa and Hamilton in three of their first four games, while they will play three division games against Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton to close off the regular season.
- As was the case in 2013, the Alouettes will return to Atlantic Canada, as they will face the Toronto Argonauts on Sunday, August 25