May 5, 2023

Steinberg: Seven games you have to see in 2023

Chris Tanouye/

Single-game tickets are now available across the league as the countdown to the 2023 season is officially underway!

We know how important OK Tire Labour Day Weekend, Touchdown Atlantic, and Thanksgiving Weekend presented by Purolator are every season, but here are seven other games to keep an eye on in 2023.

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» O’Leary: 2023’s must-watch games come into focus

Week 1: BC vs. Calgary

It’s game one of Week 1, which in and of itself is a big deal. But these two teams started to develop a rivalry in four games last season, including a 30-16 Lions win in the Western Semi-Final. There’s no love lost between these two, so to see them kick off 2023 should be a treat.

Both teams will also have new starting quarterbacks compared to their season openers last season. Jake Maier, who took over for Bo Levi Mitchell partway through 2022, will get his first ever week one start for Calgary. And if things go the way we think, Vernon Adams Jr. will get the call for BC after being acquired late last season.

Week 17: Toronto vs. Winnipeg

Henoc Muamba and the Toronto Argonauts defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 109th Grey Cup at Mosaic Stadium last November (Kevin Sousa/

These two gave us one of the most memorable Grey Cup games in recent memory last November and they’ll finally lock horns again on September 29. We all remember how the Argos pulled off the upset in thrilling fashion at the 109th Grey Cup and you can bet both teams will have this circled on the calendar.

Interestingly, though, this game comes 17 weeks into the season. As a result, we don’t know for sure what the two teams will look like. If both are generally healthy, it’ll be a Bombers squad that looks almost identical to last season. My big question will be if Chad Kelly is still Toronto’s starting quarterback come Week 17, and if so, how will he have performed as a first year CFL starter?

Week 17: Calgary vs. Hamilton

One day after our Grey Cup rematch, we get another highly anticipated late September game. After a decade spent with the Stampeders, quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell faces his former team for the first time. While perhaps not as emotional as his return to Calgary, which won’t happen this season, you can bet Mitchell’s adrenalin will be running high regardless.

Mitchell is Calgary’s all-time leader in career passing yards (32,541) and completions (2,496) and was the face of the franchise during one of their most dominant stretches. Mitchell was moved to the Tiger-Cats this winter in a blockbuster trade and signed a contract extension a little while later. I wonder if we’ll be used to seeing him in black and yellow by Week 17.

Week 10: Saskatchewan vs. Montreal

Cody Fajardo signed with the Montreal Alouettes as a free agent earlier this off-season (Matt Smith/

While not typically a classic rivalry, 2023 brings a different element to the only game between the Riders and Alouettes. That’s because the two teams swapped quarterbacks over the winter, starting with Saskatchewan’s decision to sign Trevor Harris to a two-year contract on day one of free agency. Harris’ jump to the Riders comes after parts of two seasons with the Als, including almost all of last year as their starter.

On that same day, Cody Fajardo signed with Montreal after three eventful seasons in green. Fajardo’s time in Sask started positively, as he was named West Division Most Outstanding Player and a CFL All-Star in 2019. Things tailed off from there the next two years before Fajardo was replaced at starter late last season. You can bet Fajardo will be playing with something to prove all year, and that’ll never be truer than in Week 10.

Week 2: Winnipeg vs. Saskatchewan

It’s always a big deal when the Riders and Bombers hook up, but their Week 2 showdown at Mosaic Stadium is a chance for the former to end a long, painful streak. Dating back to the 2019 Western Final, Saskatchewan has lost seven consecutive games to their prairie rivals.

This June 16 game is the first of three between the Riders and Bombers, but they won’t play again until the Labour Day doubleheader in September.

Week 5: Ottawa vs. Hamilton

Jeremiah Masoli’s first year in Ottawa was unfortunately cut short four games in. As a result, Masoli missed his first opportunity to play his former team the Tiger-Cats. In fact, that game was supposed to be next for Masoli before he went down with a season ending lower body injury.

It sounds like Masoli is ready to go for 2023 and his return to Hamilton is scheduled for July 8. Masoli spent parts of eight seasons with the Ticats and was named East Division Most Outstanding Player in 2018. Week 5 serves as Masoli’s first chance to take on his former team who opted to move away from him following the 2021 campaign.

Week 19: Montreal vs. Edmonton

The Elks and Als only play once this season, which means we have to wait until October to see prized free agent Eugene Lewis play his former team. After five seasons with Montreal, Lewis signed a big money deal with Edmonton this winter. It was one of several free agent splashes made by the Elks, but landing Lewis was definitely the biggest.

Lewis is coming off his best season yet. He racked up 1,303 receiving yards and ten touchdowns last year, which ranked him third overall in both categories. Lewis’ first game against his old team is also Edmonton’s second last game of the season. As such, I’m curious to see if Lewis is closing in on career totals once again when Week 19 hits.

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