Bombers start season on the road

Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce makes a throw during first half action at the CFL's...

Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce makes a throw during first half action at the CFL's 99th Grey Cup game at BC Place in Vancouver on Sunday Nov. 27, 2011. (AL CHAREST/QMI Agency)

Jim Bender, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:37 PM ET

The head coach of the temporarily displaced Winnipeg Blue Bombers has steeled himself to the task his team will face at the start of the 2012 CFL season.

The Bombers will be forced to hit the road for their first four games due to the uncertainty of the completion of their new stadium slowly being erected at the University of Manitoba.

“It’s part of the process of getting a brand new stadium and we can’t dwell on it,” Paul LaPolice said Friday. “We just have to be successful with it and control what we have to control.

“Next year, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats might have to play their whole season on the road waiting for their new stadium.”

The Bomber start almost looks like an NHL-style road trip and LaPolice has never been part of a football team that began a season with that many games away from home in a row.

The Bombers kick off their season in a re-match of last year’s Grey Cup championship against the B.C. Lions in Vancouver on June 29th. They will then play the Alouettes in Montreal on July 6th, the Eskimos in Edmonton on July 13th, and the Argos in Toronto on July 18th.

“Obviously, we’re going to have to do a good job at the start of the year,” LaPolice said. “We go all the way out to the West coast, then we go out East to Montreal. After that, we go to Edmonton, then play in Toronto on a real short week. We’re really going to have to be Road Warriors and certainly, we want to get off to a fast start. But we were better on the road last year than the year before.

“Then, we come home for four straight games, so it evens out.”

The one advantage is that the players get familiar with other better on the road, especially the newcomers trying to fit in.

“Getting to know each other when they travel is part of the process,” LaPolice said.

Their home-opener is slated for July 26th versus the Eskimos when they hope to unveil their spanking new facility.

“It’s a beautiful stadium, it will be the best in the league,” LaPolice said. “And we’re excited about all of the facilities that will be part of it, like the locker rooms and the practice facilities.”

The home-opener will be followed by home games against the Alouettes on Aug. 3rd, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Aug. 16th (following a bye week), and the Lions on Aug. 24th.

Winnipeg’s first home pre-season game is scheduled for June 20th versus the Tiger-Cats. Although it is expected that they will play that one in Canad Inns Stadium, a club spokesman said that has yet to be decided. Apparently, the Bombers must make sure it is up to safety standards and the cost of getting it ready for one game could be prohibitive, depending on how much it has disintegrated since last season ended.

The Bombers have not decided where they will hold training camp yet, either, LaPolice said.

Their home schedule will feature three Friday night games, two Thursday night games, three Saturday games and the Banjo Bowl on Sunday, Sept. 9th against the arch-rival Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Blue Bombers Schedule

EXHIBITION

— Thursday, June 14, at Montreal, 6:30 p.m.

— Wednesday, June 20, vs. Hamilton, 7 p.m.

REGULAR SEASON

— Friday, June 29. at B.C., 9 p.m.

— Friday, July 6, at Montreal, 6 p.m.

— Friday, July 13, at Edmonton, 8 p.m.

— Wednesday, July 18, at Toronto, 6:30 p.m.

— Thursday, July26, vs. Edmonton, 7:30 p.m.

— Friday, Aug. 3, vs. Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

— Thursday, Aug. 16, vs. Hamilton, 7 p.m.

— Friday, Aug. 24, vs. B.C., 7 p.m.

— Sunday, Sept. 2, at Saskatchewan, 3 p.m.

— Sunday, Sept. 9, vs. Saskatchewan, noon

— Friday, Sept. 14, at Calgary, 8 p.m.

— Friday, Sept. 21, vs. Hamilton, 7 p.m.

— Saturday, Sept. 29, vs. Toronto, 6 p.m.

— Monday, Oct. 8, at Montreal, noon

— Saturday, Oct. 13, vs. Calgary, noon

— Friday, Oct. 19, at Toronto, 6 p.m.

— Saturday, Oct. 27, at Hamilton, noon

— Saturday, Nov. 3, vs. Montreal, 2 p.m.


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