Pleasing schedule for Eskies

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:28 AM ET

The Edmonton Eskimos didn't receive everything on their wish list, but they are still pleased with the CFL schedule.

The Green and Gold had requested to open the 2006 season against former teammate Jason Maas and the Hamilton Tiger Cats.

However, the CFL schedule maker will make fans wait until Week 4, as Edmonton will open the regular season on the road in Montreal on June 16.

"Tradition dictates a Grey Cup rematch to open the season and there is tremendous marketing sense in doing that," said Eskimo marketing director Dave Jamieson.

Almost the entire nine-game home schedule makes marketing sense, which explains why the club is happy.

"We've got five Friday night home games and three Saturday games," continued Jamieson, "and our fans have told us they like Friday and Saturday night games."

After opening on the road, the Esks return home to battle the new look Ottawa Renegades on June 24. The club heads to Vancouver the following week before returning to face Maas and the Tabbies on July 7.

As usual, the middle of the schedule is highlighted by back-to-back tilts against Calgary, with the Esks in Cowtown on Labour Day before hosting the rematch four days later.

For the second straight year, the club will travel to Toronto for a Thanksgiving Day matinee, which might be the start of a challenging run to the wire, as Edmonton will complete the regular-season schedule by tackling the Alouettes, Lions and Stampeders.

The playoffs start Nov. 5 with the Grey Cup in Winnipeg on Nov. 19.

EXTRA POINT: This year's Canadian Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Hamilton - which will include Henry "Gizmo" Williams and Matt Dunigan - could fall on the same weekend the Edmonton Eskimos visit Ivor Wynne Stadium.

Executives with the Hall of Fame hope to make a decision next week, but they already know the festivities will occur on the third weekend in September when the Esks visit or on the final weekend of that month when the Tabbies host Ottawa.

"My preference would be the weekend when Edmonton plays," said Janice Smith, the Hall's managing director.


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