CFL.ca Game Notes: A look at CFL Kickoff
TORONTO — It’s CFL Kickoff week as the CFL officially returns with four exciting matchups on the schedule.
Things start on Thursday night as the regular season gets under way at McMahon Stadium with the BC Lions visiting the Calgary Stampeders. Vernon Adams Jr. and his Leos will look to get their campaign started on a high note with a win while Jake Maier and his Stampeders hope to tame the visitors.
Friday Night Football returns with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats meeting the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at IG Field. These two teams are no stranger to one another after meeting in the Grey Cup two seasons in a row (2019 and 2021). Who gets the best of this matchup in 2023?
The Ottawa REDBLACKS and Montreal Alouettes meet on Saturday night as Cody Fajardo makes his regular season debut in Alouettes colours. REDBLACKS fans will have to wait a few more weeks to see Jeremiah Masoli take the field as the team will be rolling with Nick Arbuckle to start the year.
And finally, the week ends in Edmonton on Sunday night as the Elks welcome the Saskatchewan Roughriders to town. Edmonton will be looking to snap their long-standing home losing streak while Trevor Harris and his new team look to keep the Ls coming for the green and gold.
BREAKING IT DOWN
- Of the 502 players on CFL rosters, 69 are entering their first year in the league (13.7 per cent).
- Edmonton has the most first-year players (14) and Ottawa, Saskatchewan, Toronto and Winnipeg have the fewest (six).
- Players entering this season have an average of 38 games or approximately three years of CFL experience.
- One third of CFL roster players have come via U SPORTS (171).
- Winnipeg has the oldest roster with an average age of 28.9. Edmonton and Calgary have the youngest at 27.6.
- Of the 54 CFL Divisional All-Stars from 2022, 49 are on CFL rosters.
PAST FIVE SEASON OPENERS
- Winnipeg | 4-1
- Ottawa | 3-1-1
- Toronto | 3-2
- Saskatchewan | 3-2
- Montreal | 2-3
- Calgary | 2-2-1
- Edmonton | 2-3
- BC | 2-3
- Hamilton | 1-4
- Bo Levi Mitchell | 117 starts | 90-25-2
- Zach Collaros | 97 starts | 61-36
- Trevor Harris | 96 starts | 48-46-2
- Cody Fajardo | 44 starts | 27-17
- Vernon Adams Jr. | 35 starts | 21-14
- Nick Arbuckle | 22 starts | 9-13
- Taylor Cornelius | 20 starts | 4-16
- Jake Maier| 12 starts | 7-5
- Chad Kelly | 1 start | 0-1
- Ticats QB Bo Levi Mitchell needs 10 wins to reach 100 in his career. If he accomplishes the feat this season, he would be aged 33 years (and 239 days or fewer), making him the second youngest to reach the milestone.
- Ages of quarterbacks when they reached 100 wins:
MOVE ON UP
- Adam Bighill (817) needs 17 tackles to pass Solomon Elimimian (833) for 6th all-time.
- Simoni Lawrence (658) needs five tackles to pass Calvin Tiggle (662) for 12th all-time.
- Henoc Muamba (610) needs 29 tackles to pass Shannon Garrett (638) for 17th all-time.
- Thursday’s season kickoff between the Lions and the Stampeders will be the earliest the CFL season has ever begun. 2022 previously held this distinction with a start on June 9.
- Lewis Ward (88.7 per cent), René Paredes (87.6 per cent), and Sean Whyte (87.1 per cent) enter the season as the CFL’s all-time leaders in field goal success rate (min. 150 attempts).
- Calgary’s Paredes (1,944) is 56 points shy of becoming the 10th player to reach 2,000 career points.
- Hamilton’s Bo Levi Mitchell (188) is 12 passing touchdowns away from becoming the 13th QB to reach 200 in his career.
- Winnipeg’s next victory will be Mike O’Shea’s 83rd win, moving him into a tie for 13th alongside Jack Gotta (83).
- With one more touchdown pass, Zach Collaros will become the 25thquarterback to reach 150 in his career.
- Nic Demski (284) needs 16 catches for 300 in his career.
- Ottawa has won 10 of its last 11 games in Montreal. Prior to that streak, Montreal had won six straight at home against Ottawa.
- Ottawa’s Nigel Romick (99) sits second among active players in Special Teams Tackles.
- Entering his fifth season, Montreal’s William Stanback needs 84 rushing yards for 3,000 in his career.
- Edmonton’s Chris Jones has had two previous stints as a head coach. In his second season on both occasions, he led his team to the playoffs, including a Grey Cup victory with Edmonton in 2015.
- Manny Arceneaux (8,931) needs 69 yards to reach 9,000 in his career. He enters the season with 617 receptions.