Realty One

Thursday, December 20, 2018


TORONTO - The Canadian Football League will stage a regular-season game in Atlantic Canada in 2019, continuing the drive to put a franchise in Halifax within a few years.

The 2019 schedule, unveiled on Thursday, will see the Toronto Argonauts face the Montreal Alouettes on Sunday, Aug. 25 in an undetermined location in Atlantic Canada.

The "Touchdown Atlantic'' game will be presented by the owners of the proposed Halifax CFL franchise, the Atlantic Schooners.

Schooners Sports and Entertainment (SSE) says it will unveil the location for the game in the new year.

"We're expecting it will illustrate to the CFL and the local powers-that-be that there's very strong support for the CFL in the Atlantic provinces,'' SSE founding partner Anthony LeBlanc said in an interview.

"It whets the appetite of the local football fans to go out and watch a regular-season game.''

LeBlanc said several potential sites are being considered, including venues in Moncton, N.B., Halifax and at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S.

While some sites can hold up to 14,000 fans, LeBlanc said temporary seating could be used to expand some locations to accommodate up to 20,000.

"That's really the challenge right now - figuring out which location has the best expandability and a community that can support this,'' he said, adding that the CFL asked the Schooners organization about hosting the game only two weeks ago.

LeBlanc's group will be responsible for sponsorships, ticket sales and supplying food, beverages and merchandise.

The Argos, who had the worst home attendance in the nine-team league this year, will serve as the home team and will give up a game at BMO Field.

"As the oldest professional sports team in North America and one of the most storied franchises in Canadian football, the Argos feel a special responsibility to grow our great game,'' Argos president Bill Manning said in a statement.

"That's why we agreed to move one home game out east, to contribute to the momentum behind the Schooners' bid to make a CFL dream come true by making ours a coast-to-coast league.''

The CFL will return to Atlantic Canada for the first time since 2013 when the league staged the last of three regular-season games in Moncton.

The regular season kicks off June 13 when Hamilton plays host to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Tiger-Cats head coach Orlondo Steinauer's debut.

A Grey Cup rematch follows on June 15 when the reigning champion Calgary Stampeders entertain the Ottawa Redblacks. Later that night, new B.C. coach DeVone Claybrooks will guide the Lions for the first time against the visiting Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

New Argos coach Corey Chamblin waits until June 22 for his first game after Toronto gets a bye in Week 1. The Argos play host to the Tiger-Cats in their season opener.

The league is holding 20 "Saturday Prime'' games, all starting at 7 p.m. ET. ``Friday Night Football'' makes 24 appearances and there are Thursday night games the first 10 weeks of the season.

The traditional Labour Day weekend clashes also are on the schedule - Winnipeg at Saskatchewan on Sunday, Sept. 1 and then Toronto at Hamilton and Edmonton at Calgary on Monday, Sept. 2. The Argos-Ticats Labour Day game is the opening game of a doubleheader with a 1 p.m. ET start after the league drew criticism for having it start in the evening last year.

The Argos also will have a home game on the opening night of the Canadian National Exhibition, facing Edmonton on Aug. 16. Toronto's largest crowd in 2018 came during their CNE game.

"As soon as the Grey Cup trophy is presented, we switch from football season to business season and the release of the schedule is a highlight,'' CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said.

The final 12 games of the season are all divisional contests.

The Grey Cup is Nov. 24 in Calgary.

(Canadian Press)


Russell Cone said...

WOW. Someone at the league office sure doesn't like the Riders.

Home opener not til week 3 and the last four weeks of the season, 3 road games against Calgary Edmonton and BC, really??

Absolutely brutal.

FG said...

Might be something happening at Mosaic in October that the Riders won't be able to play there...


Football Fan said...

I think you want to play within your own division down the stretch, and in our last 5 we play Winnipeg, Calgary, BC, and Edmonton twice, so I think that's good. I also think BC will only be middle of the pack next year and I'm picking Edmonton to miss the playoffs. I thought it was strange that they brought back Maas and Sunderland but I'm guessing that there is a plan, or at least a backup plan, behind that. I think Trestman is going to take the year off to deal with some serious family issues and that would make him available next year. And if we drop the ball and fail to get Jones signed to a long term contract he would be available to them next year as well.

Brady Y said...

Actually Russell the way I see it is the league office knows what a cash-cow the Riders are. They know that they will get people in the stands for road games so they put them on the road to start the season to get fans in early and then put them on the road at the end of the season for games that could be less meaningful to get fans in the stands. They know the Riders are there most marketable team and I personally believe that is why the schedule is the way it is but I may be wrong.

Old Rider Fan said...

Pleased to see no Friday night games at home. A lot of out of town fans still work on Fridays. Also nice to see lack of evening games when it gets cold. An improvement overall.

Steve said...

I gotta think where the Argos future may take them. MLSE took them in so they wont be in any financial d8fficulty.
Idk the answer but they could have a better attendence if they had a stadium somewhere in the GTA area away from Toronto Proper.
Alot of MLS soccer teams have there teams in surburban areas.
Where for the Argos . Toronto FC gets the attendence in the city limits

Unknown said...

Why would the Riders have a home game right in the middle of the Queen City Exhibition? No very smart on someone's part.