1st CFL game since 2019 a Blue Bombers-Tiger-Cats Grey Cup rematch

The Canadian Football League unveiled its 14-game regular season Tuesday, a day after the board of governors voted to resume play Aug. 5. The league didn’t play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Blue Bombers and Tiger-Cats will open the 2021 CFL season on Aug. 5 in Winnipeg, which won the 2019 Grey Cup over Hamilton. It was the most recent game played on Nov. 24, 2019 before the league cancelled the 2020 campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Todd Korol/The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Football League has scheduled a Grey Cup rematch for its return.

The CFL unveiled its 14-game regular season Tuesday, a day after the board of governors voted to resume play Aug. 5. The league didn’t play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CFL’s first game on opening night will feature the Hamilton Tiger-Cats visiting the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The last league game played was between the two teams, with the Bombers downing the Ticats 33-12 in the ’19 Grey Cup contest.

There will be no exhibition games this year.

WATCH | CFL to return in summer for abbreviated 2021 season:

After being forced to cancel its last season, the CFL is returning this summer, but the league will be challenged by bringing in fans safely and attracting a younger audience. 2:03

The newly renamed Edmonton Elks will play their first game Aug. 7 hosting the Ottawa Redblacks. All four East Division teams will play the first two weeks of the season in Western Canada as some West Division clubs are expected to be able to host fans sooner and in greater numbers as the season gets underway.

Then on Sept. 6, Toronto will visit Hamilton while the Calgary Stampeders will host Edmonton. The six teams will meet again in rematches the following week. The Ticats will visit the Argos on Sept. 10 before the Riders visit Winnipeg and Calgary visits Edmonton the following day.

The Labour Day game versus Toronto will be Hamilton’s first this season at Tim Hortons Field. The Argos will be the first East Division team to play at home when they host Winnipeg on Aug. 21.

Montreal’s first home contest will be Aug. 27 versus Hamilton while Ottawa returns to TD Stadium on Aug. 28 against the B.C. Lions.

Six of the final eight games on the schedule will be between division rivals. The Grey Cup game will cap the season Dec. 12 in Hamilton.


Lack of scoring remains a concern for Canada’s soccer women heading into Olympics

The Canadian women’s soccer team has a respectable record with the Tokyo Olympics just over a month away. But the team has scored just six goals over the last seven games. Even more troubling is that Christine Sinclair hasn’t scored in her previous eight appearances for Canada dating back to February 2020. 

Canada will need more than the superb two-way play of fullback Ashley Lawrence, middle, if it hopes to win a medal in Tokyo. (Warren Little/Getty Images)

Bev Priestman didn’t temper expectations during her introductory press conference as coach of the Canadian women’s soccer team last October.

Priestman inherited a side that won back-to-back bronze medals at the Olympics under former coach John Herdman, and another third-place finish this summer in Tokyo would mark an unprecedented achievement for Canada. But Priestman, who served as an assistant under Herdman at the 2016 Games in Rio, began her reign as head coach by setting the bar much higher.

“A team like Canada should be on that podium. I do think we need to change the colour of the medal. Two bronzes [are] unbelievable and it’s a fantastic achievement, and credit to John and the staff and the players that achieved that. [But] to keep moving forward, we have to aim higher than that,” Priestman said at the time.

So, it’s a silver or gold medal or bust in Japan. However, that could be a tall order for a Canadian team that has struggled to score and lacked attacking creativity.

Thus far in 2021, Canada has a respectable record of three wins, two losses and two draws, but, worryingly, it has been shut out four times and has scored just six goals over those seven games. Even more troubling is that Christine Sinclair hasn’t scored in her previous eight appearances for Canada dating back to February 2020. 

“I think [the goals are] going to come. I know I sound like a broken record… But absolutely, I think we have to be more clinical,” Priestman said after Monday’s 0-0 draw with Brazil in an Olympic tune-up.

WATCH | A look at the state of women’s soccer in Canada:

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Criticism of Canada

For years, the main criticism of Canada has been that it relies far too heavily on Sinclair, who turned 38 last week, to provide inspiration in sparking the attack. But nobody has stepped up in any significant way to lessen the weight of the goal-scoring burden resting on Sinclair’s broad shoulders. 

Jordyn Huitema debuted for Canada as a 15-year-old in 2017 and was immediately [and quite unfairly] dubbed “the new Sinclair.” It hasn’t quite worked out that way. Huitema, now 20, has a modest 13 goals in 37 appearances (only 13 as a starter) for Canada, with the majority of her goals coming against weaker teams.

Considered a lock to make the Olympic team a year ago, Huitema might not even be named to Priestman’s roster for Japan following a lacklustre season with her pro club, Paris Saint-Germain.

It’s also worth noting Canada’s poor record against top-tier opponents. Canada is eighth in the current FIFA world rankings, but has just one victory in its last 11 games (with eight losses) against nations ranked in the top 10.

In Tokyo, there will be four teams ranked higher than Canada – five, if you count Great Britain, who isn’t ranked by FIFA, but will consist mostly of players from No. 5 England. At some point, Canada would likely have to beat a higher-ranked country in order to win a medal.

It’s not all doom and gloom, as there are genuine reasons for Canada to be optimistic that it can collect a third consecutive medal in Tokyo. 

Christine Sinclair, left, pictured battling American Abby Dahlkemper, hasn’t scored in her previous eight international appearances dating back to February 2020. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Defensively sound

As much as the Canadians struggle to score goals, they are defensively sound, with four shutouts in their last seven games. In Kadeisha Buchanan and Shelina Zadorsky, Canada boasts a robust duo in the heart of defence. The emergence of Vanessa Gilles and Quinn over the last year has bolstered the team’s defensive depth. Ashley Lawrence and Allysha Chapman are experienced fullbacks who are superb two-way players. Stephanie Labbé and Kailden Sheridan comprise a formidable 1-2 goalkeeping punch.

Olympic rosters are limited to 18 players (World Cup teams carry 23 players), which means coaches will have to rotate through their squad a bit more than usual in Japan. With fewer options, a player’s ability to slot into multiple positions is a huge commodity. Canada’s versatility should give it a decided edge in Tokyo. 

Lawrence will be a key figure for the Reds, whether if she’s playing as a fullback or in midfield. A midfielder by trade, Quinn can also slot into the centre of defence. Veteran forward Janine Beckie is capable of playing anywhere across the front line. And Canada has had success in multiple formations, whether it’s in a 3-4-3 setup with a trio of centre backs, or in a 4-3-3.

What also bodes well for Canada is that so many of its key players are coming off solid seasons for their pro clubs. Lawrence won a French league title with PSG in a close title race that saw Buchanan’s Olympique Lyon side finish in second place.

Zadorsky had a breakout year with Tottenham in the English FA WSL. Midfielder Jessie Fleming earned valuable playing time in England’s top division and the UEFA Women’s Champions League in her rookie season with Chelsea. Beckie scored some big goals for Manchester City, while Sinclair continues to prominently feature for the Portland Thorns in the NWSL.

If this contingent of Canadian players can replicate their club form for the national side, Priesteman’s team can contend for another medal in Tokyo this summer.


Hockey Night in Canada: NY Islanders vs. Tampa Bay

Hockey Night in Canada·Live

Watch live on television and online as the New York Islanders take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs on Hockey Night in Canada.

Live coverage of Game 3 begins Thursday at 8 p.m. ET

CBC Sports


Watch live on television and online on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET as the Tampa Bay Lightning host the New York Islanders in Game 2 of their Stanley Cup playoff series on Hockey Night in Canada.

Please note that this stream is optimized for desktop or mobile web. If you prefer viewing this on the CBC Sports app, please open or download to watch this program.