It's been a great week for Canadian Football League fans. One day after the league officially gave the green light to a shortened season, the 14-game schedule was released. While news concerning crowd capacity at stadiums around the league is still to come, fan can begin circling their calendars ahead of the 2021 season.
TSN.ca looks at six must-see matchups on the CFL schedule.
Grey Cup rematch
The last CFL game was played in November, 2019, when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 33-12, to win the 107th Grey Cup. It's only fitting the same two teams will kick things off 16 months later in Week 1 on Aug. 5. Both teams are expected to return strong rosters and a number of players from that Grey Cup meeting. The season kicks offs with a battle of two contenders.
Campbell back in the capital
Rick Campbell was the only coach in Ottawa Redblacks history until he parted ways with the club after six seasons in charge, and one Grey Cup victory, after the 2019 season. At the time Redblacks GM Marcel Desjardins said Campbell "thought our relationship wasn't good enough for him to continue," and Campbell said he was sad to be leaving.
He'll make his return to the nation's capital to face his old team in Week 4 on Aug. 28, now the head coach and co-general manager of the BC Lions.
Labour Day Weekend
It won't be the halfway point of the season like in previous years, but all the rivalry matchups return on Labour Day Weekend. The Redblacks and Montreal Alouettes kick the long weekend off on Sept. 3, before the Blue Bombers travel to Saskatchewan to take on the Roughriders on Sept. 5. It will be the first matchup of the season between the rivals and the first time they've met since the Western Final in 2019.
The Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts renew hostilities followed by the Edmonton Elks taking on the Calgary Stampeders in the traditional Labour Day doubleheader on Sept. 6.
The three customary rematches are scheduled for the week after as well, including the Banjo Bowl in Winnipeg between the Roughriders and Blue Bombers.
Returning to Riderville
Two stalwarts of the Roughriders' defence the last two seasons of CFL football, Charleston Hughes and Cameron Judge, will return to Saskatchewan in Week 7 on Sept. 17, wearing the Argonauts' Double Blue. Hughes said when he signed with the Argos in February he thought he would be back with the Roughriders, but struggled negotiating with the team and was happy to be somewhere he's "valued."
Bulletin board material
When asked at his introductory press conference why he didn't pursue buying the Argonauts previously, new Alouettes co-owner Gary Stern took a shot at the Double Blue: "Don’t take this the wrong way, but the Argos suck.”
Stern's comment didn't go unnoticed by Toronto at the time, and their Week 8 matchup on Sept. 24 will be the first time the two sides will meet since then. Will the Argonauts still remember?
Arbuckle vs. Nichols
Nick Arbuckle joined the Redblacks and Matt Nichols signed with the Argonauts in the off-season ahead of the 2020 season. Then the season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and both players were given a free agency do-over earlier ahead of this season. Arbuckle ultimately decided to join his QB coach in Calgary and new Argonauts head coach Ryan Dinwiddle in Toronto while Nichols ended up with his former offensive coordinator in Winnipeg and new Redblacks head coach Paul LaPolice in Ottawa. The two teams, and quarterbacks, will meet for the first time in Week 10 on Oct. 6 in a battle of who made the right decision behind centre.