MONCTON, N.B. - The turning point of Touchdown Atlantic could be the warmups.
About two hours prior to Sunday’s kickoff between the Calgary Stampeders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats there will be players running in circles, staring at their feet.
For the first time in two years, the Stamps are playing on a grass surface, so picking the best cleats will be crucial.
“It will depend on whether it’s wet or dry,” said Stampeders receiver Nik Lewis. “I walked it the other day and it’s kinda hard. It’s about finding the footing.”
Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton was the final CFL stadium with turf, but it was replaced with the synthetic material prior to the 2010 season.
“Edmonton used to be a lot thicker,” Lewis said. “I’m sure everyone will slip once or twice. We just have to keep it to a minimum.”
The one main difference is Moncton Stadium wasn’t built for football, so while there are about 110 yards or so of grass, the endzones are field turf.
“The first grass-slash-turf field I’ve every played on,” said running back Jon Cornish. “I will probably wear normal cleats because it’s going to be hard. It’s hard and patchy.
“Hopefully it rains so that it will be softer. I don’t anticipate slipping too much.”
The field is also a bit off the normal 110-by-65-yard playing surface of other stadiums, according to punter Burke Dales and kicker Rene Paredes.
The duo walked off the yardage and say the markers are wrong, meaning there is an extra five yards or so in length but the width is a few yards shorter than usual.