Thursday, February 18, 2016 — TORONTO – A brand new CFL season kicks off June 23rd when the Toronto Argonauts host arch-rival Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the league’s first ever game at renovated BMO Field which will also host the 104th Grey Cup presented by Shaw in November.
Fans are counting down the days to #CFLKickoff weekend, which also includes a re-match of the 2015 Grey Cup on Saturday June 25th, when the defending champion Edmonton Eskimos host the Ottawa REDBLACKS, followed by the British Columbia Lions hosting the Calgary Stampeders in the first doubleheader of the season. And the Montreal Alouettes travel to Winnipeg to take on the Blue Bombers on June 24th in the debut of Friday Night Football on TSN and RDS.
Mark’s Labour Day weekend will feature a new prime time showcase: the classic Hamilton Tiger-Cats – Toronto Argonauts clash at Tim Hortons Field moves to a 6:30 pm ET start time on the holiday Monday.
“It’s one of the greatest rivalries in sport, one of the biggest celebrations on the CFL calendar, and one of the most intriguing match-ups of the year, in one of our new signature venues,” said Jeffrey L. Orridge, CFL Commissioner. “It deserves to be centre stage at a time when the most Canadians will watch and enjoy it."
Mark’s Labour Day Weekend also includes the ‘Battle of Alberta’ as the Calgary Stampeders host the Edmonton Eskimos on Monday, while the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders battle for Prairie bragging rights on the Sunday.
‘Thursday Night Football’ on TSN returns during the summer months for the second year, as the League continues to actively engage new fans.
New additions to the 2016 schedule include doubleheaders on Canada Day and Thanksgiving, and a massive triple-header on the final day of the regular season, Saturday November 5th, with #CFLPlayoffs positions on the line.
Other highlights include:
- The Saskatchewan Roughriders launch their final season at Mosaic Stadium on Thursday, June 30 versus the Argonauts, with their final regular season game at the historic venue set for Saturday, October 29, with the BC Lions the opponent.
- The CFL’s all-time winningest coach, Wally Buono, returns to the sidelines (for a regular season game) on Saturday, June 25, when his BC Lions host the Calgary Stampeders.
- Montreal Alouettes open their home schedule June 30th versus their East Division rivals, the Ottawa REDBLACKS, led by the 2015 AGF Coach of the Year Rick Campbell.
- Chris Jones, who led the Eskimos to their Grey Cup victory last November, before becoming the head coach of the Riders in the off-season, makes his return to Edmonton on Friday, July 8.
- On August 6th, the Eskimos’ new head coach Jason Maas makes his first trip back to Ottawa, where he was the REDBLACKS’ offensive coordinator last season.
- A new face will be patrolling the Calgary Stampeders sideline after John Hufnagel passed the head coaching reins to Dave Dickenson. Dickenson’s first regular season game at the helm will take place against the BC Lions on Saturday, June 25. He will coach his first home game at McMahon Stadium on Canada Day versus Winnipeg.
- The Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Ottawa REDBLACKS, who concluded the 2015 regular season with a thrilling home –and-home series, will do it again late in 2016, in Hamilton on October 14th and Ottawa on October 21st, both on Friday Night Football.
- There will be two home-and-home matchups in the final two weeks of the season between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Ottawa REDBLACKS, and the Saskatchewan Roughriders and BC Lions, with potential playoff implications.
“This is what today’s Canadian Football League is made of: the rivalries we’ve always loved playing out in exciting new venues and presented in exciting new ways,” added Orridge. “The season opener at BMO Field, the final game at Mosaic Stadium, the return of the Labour Day Classic in primetime and the triple header in Week 20 is going to make this another great season to remember for fans across Canada.”
The 86 regular season and playoff games culminate with the 104th Grey Cup on Sunday, November 27 at BMO Field in Toronto, marking the first time since 1982 that the Grey Cup will be contested outdoors in Canada’s largest city.
SEASON OPENERS BETWEEN THE HAMILTON TIGER-CATS AND THE TORONTO ARGONAUTS:
Despite playing one another 187 times in regular season play since the formation of the Canadian Football League in 1958, the Toronto Argonauts and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have only been featured in the CFL's season-opening game in Toronto once before. That contest, on July 12, 1989, was won by Hamilton 24-15. This year’s Season Opener will mark the inaugural game at Toronto’s newly-renovated BMO Field, and the first time in CFL history that a Season Opener between the rivals will take place outdoors in Toronto. It also marks the start of a new era for the Double Blue, under new ownership and in a new home. The two teams’ Labour Day meeting in Hamilton will mark the first time that game has been played in prime time since 2008.