CFL sets the table for Esks

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:03 AM ET

While the Edmonton Eskimos are hoping to end up back where they started this season, the rest of their road map was laid out Monday.

While Commonwealth Stadium will host its fourth Grey Cup, the Eskimos will take part in a couple of firsts over the 2010 schedule.

The Eskimos will be the first opponent the B.C. Lions host at the new Empire Fields in Vancouver in the preseason. Located on the site of the former Empire Stadium, the Lions will play their home games outdoors while renovations go on at BC Place.

EMPIRE STADIUM

"For the first time in 28 years, we will not play an indoor game," said Eskimos communications and marketing director Dave Jamieson. "Last time we did that, we were at Empire Stadium in Vancouver in '82, when Skydome and now Rogers Centre didn't exist.

"We're not playing in the Big O this year, so we're going back outside the way football was meant to be played."

At least, according to how nature intended.

Instead of the comfy confines of Rogers Centre, the Eskimos will travel to Moncton, N.B., where they will take on the Toronto Argonauts as the CFL makes its regular-season debut in Atlantic Canada.

"It's a real honour to be asked to take part in something that is big for the league," said Jamieson. "This is a further step along the path to securing a CFL franchise in the Maritimes. To be part of that and to be, in a sense, ambassadors for the game really is a privilege.

"It's very big in our world."

Currently, three players on the Eskimos roster have Maritimes ties.

Offensive lineman Adam Rogers, linebacker Tim St. Pierre and safety Elliott Richardson have played college football in the Atlantic University Sports conference.

'A NEW PART'

"For the rest of us, we largely haven't been there so it's going to be a new part of the country," said Jamieson.

Overall, the Eskimos will see earlier starts as well as an end to weekday games.

"That's something over the last several years we've heard consistently from fans," Jamieson said. "They have come back with Thursday nights were not appealing, for any number of reasons. And that Friday, Saturdays and Sundays were more preferable days for them to watch football at Commonwealth Stadium.

"This schedule, I think, answers those concerns."

GERRY.MODDEJONGE@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos