Argos happy with schedule

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

For the first time in recent years, the Argos have a game schedule that doesn't look like a dog's breakfast.

There actually is some consistency to the regular-season home dates. Seven of the nine are Saturdays, with one game on a Friday and another on Thanksgiving Monday.

The Argos have described the schedule as Fan Friendly, hoping the weekend dates will be much more attractive than midweek games, which became a tough sell. Theme nights already have been planned and named for the home games, compared to the past two years when events had to be done on the fly because of scheduling uncertainties.

While the team will have to play two games five days apart four times and two games six days apart once, it's a far better situation than in the past two years when three games were crammed into 10-day or 11-day periods with major travelling involved. All the games tied closely together this year will be played against East Division opponents.

For the second consecutive year, the Argos will play in Hamilton on Labour Day, then play host to the Tiger-Cats five days later.

Due to the warm relationship the Argos now have with Rogers Centre ownership, compared to the coldness that existed between the football club and the previous landlord, Sportsco, the Argos are given consideration for the schedule it wants instead of having to take dates and make the best of it.

"We have a fantastic relationship with Rogers Centre. It has everything to do with (the improved schedule)," Argos president Keith Pelley said yesterday when the Canadian Football League revealed the full 2006 schedule. "It's like night and day (compared to the previous stadium management)."

The schedule will be player-friendly, too.

"It will definitely help us out as far as our recovery time is concerned and as far as preparation between games," veteran cornerback Adrion Smith, the longest active-playing Argo, said yesterday.

"And as far as fan support it will help us out, too."

LEAGUE NOTES

As first reported in the Toronto Sun, former University of Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch is coming to Toronto to work out for the Argos, likely on the week of Feb. 6. If he lands a spot with the team, Crouch, the 2001 Heisman Trophy winner, might become the backup -- and possibly heir apparent -- to Damon Allen ... When the free-agency period begins Feb. 16, look for Hamilton to become a major player, going after Ottawa running back Josh Ranek and B.C. middle linebacker Barrin Simpson ... The Saskatchewan Roughriders have hired Tommy Condell, formerly of Ottawa, as their next offensive co-ordinator ... The league will conduct its annual evaluation camp for the premier draft-eligible players in Toronto on March 27-28.

ARGONAUTS' 2006 SCHEDULE

The Argonauts' 2006 schedule (home games in bold, all times p.m.):

Pre-season

Fri. June 2: vs. Ham., 7

Fri. June 9: at Ham., 7

Regular Season

Sat. June 17: vs. Sask., 3

Thu. June 29: at Cgy., 9

Sat. July 8: vs. Wpg., 4

Thu. July 13: at Ott., 7:30

Sat. July 22: at Sask., 7

Sat. July 29: vs. B.C., 7

Thu. Aug. 3: at Mtl., 7:30

Thu. Aug. 10: at Wpg., 8

Sat. Aug. 19: vs. Mtl., 7

Sat. Aug. 26: at Edm., 7

Mon. Sept. 4: at Ham., 6

Sat. Sept. 9: vs. Ham., 3

Sat. Sept. 16: at B.C., 10

Sat. Sept. 30: vs. Cgy., 7

Mon. Oct. 9: vs. Edm., 4

Sun. Oct. 15: at Ham., 1

Fri. Oct. 20: vs. Ott., 7:30

Sat. Oct. 28: vs. Mtl., 3


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