Argos happy with sked

ROB LONGLEY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

The Argos will open the CFL season in the same building they hope to end it -- at home in the Rogers Centre.

The league finally got around to releasing its 2007 schedule yesterday, revealing the Argos will kick off the season on June 28 at home against the reigning champion B.C. Lions.

Of course, with the Grey Cup coming to Toronto for the first time in 15 years, the Argos have special incentive to be the team to end that reign.

"It's an excellent schedule, we're pleased," Argos president Keith Pelley said yesterday. "It all builds toward the Grey Cup."

For the Argos, the schedule is also markedly different than a year ago.

Recognizing that weekend games didn't fly with fans during the peak summer months, the team has shifted to Thursday and Friday evenings until September.

"We arbitrarily did some research and it became clear that there was an outcry about playing home games on Saturdays in the summer months," Pelley said. "It may work well in other cities, but people in Toronto, besides going to their cottages, have all kinds of activities.

"Rather than competing with those activities, we decided to listen to our fans."

The opener will have a special 6:30 p.m. kickoff to help accommodate a TSN doubleheader. Most other Thursday games will go at 7 p.m. When it gets to September and October, the Argos will shift to weekends with Saturday afternoons at 3 p.m.

"The reason for the start time is quite apparent," Pelley said. "We don't want to compete with hockey."

Pelley said the team paid careful attention to avoid conflict in what is shaping up as a busy sports summer in the city. Staying away from Toronto FC, soccer's under-20 World Cup, plus the Blue Jays and big-league golf and tennis events is a challenge.

Also new this year is a more compact schedule that will see teams have just one bye week, allowing the 18-game season to be completed in 19 weeks.

East Division teams will be idle in Week 8 with the West teams off the following week.

The first of two Argos pre-season games -- both against Montreal -- will be played on June 9 at the Rogers Centre. The regular-season schedule includes the traditional Labour Day contest in Hamilton (Sept. 3, 1 p.m.) and concludes on the road in Saskatchewan on Nov. 3.

Playoffs begin on Nov. 11 with the Grey Cup scheduled two weeks later on Nov. 25.


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