Edmonton Eskimos fans may have a lot of things to complain about this off-season, but the schedule isn't one of them.
The CFL released one of the most interesting schedules ever Friday and the annual attendance-leading Eskimos, who have often allowed themselves to take one for the league with Thursday dates, etc., have about as fan-friendly a schedule as possible.
While there's potential for the opening game at home against ex-Eskimo quarterback Ricky Ray and the Toronto Argos to backfire big time, the 5 p.m. Saturday June 30 lid-lifter has major marketability potential as being more than a football game, but an event.
The Eskimos have two regular season home games against their top two drawing rivals, Calgary and Saskatchewan. The Eskimos will play Calgary four times in the regular season including the traditional Labour Day home-and home with a late September game in Calgary and season-ending match-up on Nov. 2.
The Eskimos home schedule features exclusive Friday and Saturday dates 1/3 six Friday night home games and three Saturday evening games.
The team which opened the new B.C. Place last year has also been afforded the honour of opening the new Winnipeg stadium – in Week 5 after the Bombers open their first four on the road, in Vancouver, Montreal, Edmonton and Toronto.
It's not just a good schedule for Edmonton fans for a change but takes advantage of some of the storylines of the season which should dial up interest all over the nation.
It's not just Ricky Ray vs the Eskimos in Commonwealth Stadium on opening weekend but Andy Fantuz, who signed Friday with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats going against his old team, the Saskatchewan Roughriders in his first game in Ivor Wynne Stadium.
But there's no Fantuz in Regina until July 28. And no Henry Burris in Calgary until Oct. 21.
The Toronto at Hamilton Labour Day Classic is back after missing a season but the Argos vs Eskimos featuring Ricky Ray is scheduled Aug. 27, a Monday night. Opening weekend also features a Grey Cup rematch, with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Vancouver against the Lions.
Sat. Jun 30 Toronto at Edmonton 5 pm
Sun. Jul 08 Edmonton at Saskatchewan 5 pm
Fri. Jul 13 Winnipeg at Edmonton 7 pm
Fri. Jul 20 Edmonton at BC 8 pm
Thu. Jul 26 Edmonton at Winnipeg 6:30 pm
Fri. Aug 10 Saskatchewan at Edmonton 7:30 pm
Fri. Aug 17 Montreal at Edmonton 7 pm
Mon. Aug 27 Edmonton at Toronto 5:30 pm
Mon. Sep 03 Edmonton at Calgary 02:30 pm
Fri. Sep 07 Calgary at Edmonton 7 pm
Sat. Sep 15 Edmonton at Hamilton 1 pm
Sat. Sep 22 BC at Edmonton 5:30 pm
Fri. Sep 28 Edmonton at Calgary 8 pm
Fri. Oct 05 Hamilton at Edmonton 7 pm
Sat. Oct 13 Saskatchewan at Edmonton 2 pm
Fri. Oct 19 Edmonton at BC 8 pm
Sun. Oct 28 Edmonton at Montreal 11 am
Fri. Nov 02 Calgary at Edmonton 7 pm
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