December 15, 2023

Landry: Plenty of intriguing games early in ’24 schedule

Kevin Sousa/

Balance has been restored.

That’s perhaps the biggest news in the wake of the release of the CFL’s 2024 schedule – with every team paying a visit to every other’s home at least once – but it is not nearly the only interesting thing about the sked.

There are a few more points of interest I’d like to present to you as you get to planning your life around CFL ’24.

It might be kind of odd to circle a preseason game on a schedule but I’m going to go ahead and do that anyway.

On Saturday, May 25, the Toronto Argonauts pay a visit to the Montreal Alouettes and I’m betting Argos quarterback Chad Kelly will absolutely beg head coach Ryan Dinwiddie to start him in that one. Kelly will have had a long, cold winter to contemplate his disastrous Eastern Final and he will almost certainly want to dispense with those nightmarish memories as soon as possible. If Dinwiddie isn’t sold on playing his QB1 in the first preseason game, then look no further than Week 4, when the Alouettes play the Argos at BMO field in Toronto.

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Right away, we get some great intrigue in Week 1, as the CFL has decided to grant the wish that so many fans had asked for over the last year or two and that is a Grey Cup rematch as the new season’s jumping off point. At least the Winnipeg Blue Bombers don’t have to watch the Montreal Alouettes raise their 2023 Grey Cup banner on this night, as the game will be played at IG Field. But that brings up another date of interest; A Week 3 game on June 20, when the Als get to hoist that pennant up prior to a game against the Ottawa REDBLACKS. Many horns will be honked.

The REDBLACKS, as you will see, are all over a bunch of the special dates that pop up in the 2024 schedule.

Getting back to Week 1, though, another game of interest jumps out for what will be personal reasons for Bo Levi Mitchell. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will pay a visit to Calgary, and Mitchell will get the chance, at last, to appear before the fans who adored him for ten seasons as a Stampeder.

There will be so many dates to be aware of when it comes to personal attachments for players and coaches in 2024. Many of them, though, we can’t know until the blender of free agency stops whirring and we see who ends up where.

For now, though, we can at least count on a few that we can point to.

Saskatchewan Roughriders’ new head coach Corey Mace gets a chance to do to the Toronto Argonauts what he did for them for two seasons, when the Argos play in Regina in Week 5. Ottawa’s offensive coordinator Tommy Condell gets his first crack at bamboozling the defence of the team that let him go in 2023 – the Ticats – when the REDBLACKS take on the Tabbies in Week 4. Hamilton’s Scott Milanovich returns to BMO Field as a head coach for the first time since he left the Argos after the 2016 season, though he won’t do that until Week 16.

There are touchstones that we can count on and look forward to as we do every year. The OK Tire Labour Day Weekend match-ups come to mind right away, of course, and in 2024 that weekend will get some special sauce added, with the BC Lions hosting a game in Victoria, when the REDBLACKS come calling. There’s a Thanksgiving Weekend presented by Purolator game (Ottawa at Montreal), and there is the Hall of Fame Game (Ottawa, again, this time at Hamilton, September 14) too.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have an interesting stretch run in 2024, one in which their western rivals don’t get a crack at them after Week 17.


In the last four weeks of the regular season, the Bombers have a bye mixed in with three games against Eastern opponents; Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. That last one, against the Alouettes, forms a kind of bookend companion for the first game of the season. If Winnipeg is playoff bound once again in 2024, the team that would be most familiar with them – should they get there themselves – would be the Edmonton Elks, who are Winnipeg’s final regular season opponent from the West, when the two square off on September 27. If Calgary were to meet Winnipeg in the playoffs, it’d be their first meeting since July 12. BC? August 18th.

The Argos open at home against the Lions, get a bye, and then play two more home games before setting foot on the road. A whole month at home to open seems nice. It’s the first time since 2001 that Toronto has opened with three home games.

As was the case last season, CFL fans get to enjoy a game a night over four nights for most of the first half of the season, a routine that I personally enjoyed in 2023, with the addition of a regular slate of Sunday summer games. I wasn’t the only one. It seems that kind of scheduling was a pretty big hit and its success means we are in store for a game a night from Thursday to Sunday every Week from the curtain-raiser through to Week 6, and then again from Week 8 to 12.

The only exception to that pattern over the first half of the season is Week 7, when a Friday night doubleheader pops up as Ottawa hosts Edmonton and Saskatchewan plays at home against Winnipeg.

Not that fans of doubleheaders won’t be satisfied. There are twelve doubleheaders on the 2024 schedule including Week 7, with the rest of them coming on OK Tire Labour Day Weekend or afterward. And if you count the playoffs, you can run that count to fourteen, of course, with Semi-Final Saturday going on November 2, and the finals on November 9.

If you want, you can actually make a case for there being fifteen doubleheaders, in a way. Week 14 sees a Saturday triple-header, or as I like to call it: “Buy Two Get One Free Saturday!” Tell your loved ones, CFL fans. You’re not available on Saturday, September 7.

And, finally, you already had November 17 highlighted on your calendar because that’s the day your team appears in the Grey Cup game, right?

There’s reason enough to look forward to Grey Cup Sunday every year, and this year comes with a little extra spice, in my mind. In seeing what BC owner Amar Doman has done to make Lions’ home games special events in Vancouver, I can’t wait for what he and his team will have in store as hosts of Canada’s championship game in 2024.

But before I go, may I swing back to Week 1 again? The Edmonton Elks play host to the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday, June 8. Two non-playoff teams in 2023 who will be bound and determined to get off on the right foot. And it will mark the beginning of Edmonton’s 75th season too, and the Elks have a week of celebrations leading up to the game.

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