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Divisional games take centre stage in unique 2021 schedule – CFL.ca

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TORONTO — The CFL released its 2021 game schedule on Friday and like many things in our lives these days, it is not like anything we have seen before.

The most significant difference is the focus on divisional play.

Compared to previous years, there will be eight more divisional games.  This means that although every team will play each other at least once, there will be some teams that will not travel to certain stadiums in 2021.

This not only places an emphasis rivalry games but limits certain cross-country travel.  That said, depending on the scenario and team records, it could make certain matchups more meaningful in the push for the playoffs.

Look no further than the final week of the schedule that features two divisional matchups which could decide playoff seeding, with the Alouettes in Toronto and Edmonton visiting the Bombers.

Some of the staples of the traditional CFL schedule remain, however.  The season will once again kick off with a Grey Cup rematch, the Labour Day matchups are all slated for rivals to pit against one another and there will be football on Thanksgiving Day.


CFL RELEASES 2021 SCHEDULE

The 2021 Canadian Football League schedule is out!  Have a look at your team’s matchups by clicking here.


“We’re looking forward to hosting our comeback season in our stadiums, in front of our fans,” CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a league-issued press release Friday. “With this schedule, we’re signalling that we’re looking forward with optimism to playing in 2021.”

Some additional notes from the 2021 schedule include:

  • A rematch of the 2019 Grey Cup to kick off the regular season, with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats visiting the defending champion Blue Bombers on Thursday June 10.
  • An additional divisional match-up per team to build regional rivalries while reducing travel for players.
  • A full slate of classic match-ups on Labour Day Weekend, with the Montreal Alouettes visiting the Ottawa REDBLACKS on Friday September 3, the Bombers hosting the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday, September 5, and a doubleheader on the holiday, Monday, September 6, with the Toronto Argonauts visiting Hamilton and the Edmonton Football Club visiting the Calgary Stampeders.
  • Thanksgiving football is back on Monday, October 11 when the REDBLACKS visit the Alouettes.
  • A regular season finale on Saturday, October 30 that features two divisional matchups which could decide playoff seeding, with the Alouettes in Toronto and Edmonton visiting the Bombers.
  • Playoffs on Sunday, November 7 and Sunday, November 14 leading to the 108th Grey Cup in Hamilton on Sunday, November 21.

All games will be broadcast in Canada on TSN. Montreal Alouettes games and select CFL games will be also shown on RDS. CFL games are broadcast in the United States by ESPN.

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New York Rangers get OK to interview Gerard Gallant for coaching job

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The New York Rangers plan to interview Gerard Gallant for their head coaching job, TSN reported.

The Vegas Golden Knights, who fired Gallant during the 2019-20 season, reportedly have granted permission.

A first conversation between the Rangers and Gallant was expected to take place quickly, before Gallant heads to Latvia to coach Team Canada at the IIHF World Championship, which runs from May 21-June 6.

Gallant, 57, was the first coach of the expansion Golden Knights and led them to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season in 2017-18. The Washington Capitals won in five games.

He was fired 49 games into his third season when the team was 24-19-6, and he had an overall record of 118-75-20 with Vegas.

He also coached the Columbus Blue Jackets (2003-07) and Florida Panthers (2014-17) and has a career record of 270-216-4-51 in 541 career games as a head coach.

The Rangers are in the midst of an overhaul. They fired head coach David Quinn and three assistant coaches on Wednesday, following the dismissal last week of team president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton.

The Rangers failed to qualify for the playoffs for the fourth straight season after posting a 27-23-6 record in 2020-21. They finished in fifth place in the East Division.

Quinn, 54, compiled a 96-87-25 record during his three seasons as coach of the Rangers after taking over for Alain Vigneault on May 23, 2018.

–Field Level Media

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NHL wants answer on Canada border crossing soon

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The NHL has asked the Canadian government for a decision by June 1 about U.S. teams crossing the border during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, ESPN reported Friday.

 

The Canadian teams played only each other during the 2020-21 season in a revamped North Division because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that will continue during the first two rounds of the playoffs. It’s what happens after that — in the semifinals and finals — that is up in the air.

 

“The conversations are ongoing. We’ve told them we really do need to know by the end of the first round, and that’s around June 1,” Steve Mayer, the league’s chief content officer, told ESPN. “That’s pretty much the date that we’ve talked to them about, saying we have to know one way or another.”

 

Last season, the playoffs were held in bubbles in Edmonton and Toronto.

 

Under current rules, American-based teams couldn’t play in Canada without mandatory quarantines, which would make travel for home-and-away games impossible under the playoff calendar.

 

The NHL and government representatives last talked a week ago, and the Canadian officials submitted a variety of questions for the league’s response.

 

In the interim, Mayer said, the league has discussed the possibility of the Canadian team that advances from the North Division being based in the U.S. for the duration of the postseason. Talks have occurred with officials at NHL arenas where teams didn’t qualify for the playoffs.

 

An NHL source told ESPN this week that the league expects “a positive resolution” to the issue, however.

 

–Field Level Media

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Canada to play 2 more home World Cup qualifiers in U.S.

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As Canada continues to wrestle with the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s national soccer team will play two more of its home World Cup qualifying matches south of the border in June.

Canada will face Aruba in Bradenton, Fla., on June 5, and will take on Suriname in suburban Chicago on June 8, Canada Soccer confirmed Monday.

The games are Canada‘s last two of four matches in CONCACAF Group B. A March 26 Canadian home match against Bermuda was held in Orlando, Fla., which Canada won 5-1. Also, the Caymen Islands were the host team on March 29, when Canada rolled, 11-0.

Only one national team advances to the next round, and Canada and Suriname top the group and the game against Suriname in Bridgeview, Ill., figures to be the deciding match in both teams’ efforts to advance.

Thirty nations from Central and North America are competing in this first round with six group winners advancing to a second round of head-to-head knockout matches for the right to compete in the CONCACAF final round of eight teams competing for four places in the 2022 World Cup. A fifth team from CONCACAF advances to an intercontinental play-in round.

As was executed in Orlando, the match in Chicago will be staged in accordance with the FIFA International Match Protocols supported by the relevant public health requirements.

“We had hoped to play these matches at home with Canadian fans providing the support and momentum to play a tough nation like Suriname in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers,” said John Herdman, coach of the Canadian men’s national team. “The reality of the global pandemic and the priority to keep our communities in Canada safe means the match will be played at a neutral site in Chicago with no home advantage, but we will embrace that challenge.

“Whatever comes at us, we will take it on and do whatever we need to do to advance to the next round.”

-Field Level Media

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