On Monday, the CFL’s board of governors voted unanimously to approve the proposed August 5th start for the 2021 season. On Tuesday, the league released the full schedule.
The Montreal Alouettes begin the year with a bye in Week 1, which will give them extra time to prepare for their season opener on the road against the newly branded Edmonton Elks. The Alouettes are on the road in Week 3 as well, when they take on the Stampeders in Calgary on August 20th.
Week 4 Montreal welcomes Hamilton to Percival Molson Memorial for their home opener, which also their first East Division match-up. The 2019 results aren’t exactly relevant to these teams, considering there was no 2020 season, but the Al’s finished second in the East to the Ti-Cats the last time the league took the field.
Week 5 puts them back on the road for their first visit to Ottawa to face the Redblacks.
It isn’t until the 8th week of the season that the Alouettes meet their chief rivals, the Argonauts. The 1st of two match-ups is in Toronto, while Week 12 the storied battle comes home to Montreal.
In May, the Quebec province announced that up to 2,500 fans could attend live sporting events, which is an amazing first-step to the return to normalcy in the region. After the announcement, the club released the following statement:
“Since the presence of a certain number of fans in the stands is essential for the Alouettes to return to play, today’s announcements is a step in the right direction considering that the team’s first home game (in Montreal) would most likely take place in September. It goes without saying that the organization is also extremely happy that youngsters will be able to practice their favourite team sport once again.”Alouettes statement
The team faces Ottawa 4 times this season, including back-to-back in Weeks 10 and 11, and to wrap up the year in Week 16. The Blue Bombers are another club the Alouettes play in repeated weeks, 14 and 15, but only see the Elks (Week 2), Stamps (Week 3), the Lions (Week 7), and the Roughriders (Week 13) once.
Training Camp starts on July 10th, with Canadian players beginning self-quarantine on the 2nd. Players coming into the country from either thr US, or abroad must quarantine at home a week before reporting to Canada on 7/2, which will begin their 2nd week of isolation. They will also be equipped with a tracking app, to ensure the rules are being followed.
Some had questioned whether the BOG would vote to start on the proposed 8/5 date. Others questioned whether there were team ownerships that wanted to play at all. Almost every position within the clubhouses have taken at least a 20% paycut to minimize revenue losses from the shortened season, given that most of team monies come from ticket sales, even with full stadiums less games mean less in the bank.
Even with the augmented schedule, the CFL would be on the brink of collapse if the board hadn’t agreed to start. And nobody is as ready to begin this campaign for the 108th Grey Cup than your Montreal Alouettes.
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