The rebuilt Calgary Stampeders finally have something to sell.
Tom Higgins, head coach and senior vice-president of football operations, said the team has no complaints other than the CFL schedule's tardy arrival.
"It was getting to the point where we could have to play 10 games in row and we would have said, 'Just give us the schedule please!' " Higgins said. "It's getting to that point where enough's enough. Just give us a schedule. We'll take whatever."
The new-look Stampeders will receive a great test by opening at home July 1 against the defending Grey Cup champion Toronto Argos after resting in Week 1 with a bye.
"What it allows us to do is to see Toronto play their first regular-season game before we line up to play them," Higgins said. "What a great way to start the season -- Canada Day against the defending Grey Cup champions. C'mon in! It's an outstanding opportunity for us to get an outstanding crowd for that game."
The renewed rivalry with Saskatchewan, ratcheted up last week with the Stampeders' signing of free agent QB Henry Burris, kicks off with a pre-season game against the Roughies June 7 at McMahon Stadium.
Calgary will also play a warmup contest with the Lions June 16 in Vancouver.
"I love the fact we're playing Saskatchewan and B.C.," Higgins said of the tuneups.
"Two very good teams. If we want to find out where we are, let's line up against the guys who were strong last year."
The Roughies return for Game 4 of the regular season Saturday, July 23. Local Green and White fans guarantee the clash will sell out in light of hostilities after Burris decided to head West. The Stamps travel to Regina for the rematch Oct. 23.
In addition to home-and-home series against all four Eastern Conference teams, the Stamps will face West foes Edmonton and Winnipeg three times while playing just two games against Saskatchewan and B.C.
Three of the nine home games are 8 p.m. starts, including a Thursday night contest against Ottawa. The other two late starts are on Friday and Saturday nights.
All 18 Stampeders regular-season games in 2005 will be televised, although McMahon Stadium contests are subject to blackout.