CFL releases 2018 schedule

The Canadian Football League’s schedule for 2018 is out much earlier than normal: last year it was announced in February.

“For years, our fans have asked to have the schedule released as early as possible, preferably in time to consider buying season tickets as gifts for family and friends,” said Randy Ambrosie, Commissioner of the Canadian Football League.

“We are pleased today to deliver on that request. Not only is this schedule out two months earlier than last year’s, it promises a season that starts a little sooner and will deliver all the excitement Canadians have come to expect from the CFL.”

The regular season will kick off one week earlier, on Thursday, June 14, when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers host the Edmonton Eskimos. It will conclude with the 106th Grey Cup presented by Shaw in Edmonton on Sunday November 25.

The defending Grey Cup Champion Toronto Argonauts kick off their title defence on June 15 when they travel to Saskatchewan to face the Roughriders.

Rounding out opening weekend is a double header on Saturday, June 16, with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats visiting the Calgary Stampeders and the Montreal Alouettes facing the BC Lions in Vancouver.

The Argos’ home opener on June 23 will feature the team raising its Grey Cup banner before facing the Stampeders in a rematch of the 105th Grey Cup.

Labour Day Weekend features all the traditional rivalries: Montreal visits the Ottawa Redblacks on Friday, August 31; the Bombers visit the Riders on Sunday, September 2; and the holiday Monday on September 3 features a classic doubleheader, with Edmonton at Calgary in the afternoon followed by Toronto at Hamilton in the evening.

The following weekend features back-to-back-to-back rematches on Saturday September 8: Hamilton at Toronto, Saskatchewan at Winnipeg and Calgary at Edmonton.

The lineup for Thanksgiving Weekend includes Calgary at Montreal and Edmonton at Saskatchewan on the holiday Monday, October 8. The final three weeks of the season feature 12 straight divisional match-ups which will likely determine the seeding for the playoffs.

The 2018 schedule spreads the same number of regular season games over 21 weeks instead of 20, promoting player safety by ensuring fewer short turnarounds for the league’s nine teams.

It eliminates the requirement that any team play three games in eleven days, something that had been part of every schedule dating back to 2005. The number of games to be played on less than a full week’s rest has been cut to 44, down from 51 last year and 54 the year before.

The number of games played on five days rest has been cut from 21 last year to 15 this year, a 29 per cent decrease. And this year, every team will get three bye weeks instead of two, reducing the number of consecutive weeks a team must play.

“Building on the momentum of one of the most thrilling Grey Cups ever, our league is looking forward to an exciting 2018,” Ambrosie said. “Now, with the schedule out and season tickets on sale, our fans can give the gift of that excitement to friends and family, and we can all anticipate a happy new year of great Canadian football.”

Find the complete schedule: here.

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25 Comments on CFL releases 2018 schedule

  1. eddy rayner // December 14, 2017 at 2:12 pm //

    Nice to get a few afternoon games, even if it is late afternoon, for the Ticats this year. Oddly, second year (at least) in a row with no Thanksgiving game for them. My one point of contention … why 6:30 on Labour Day? It always used to be Cats v Argos in the 1pm EST slot and we could pretty much get home to watch the Stamps v Esks game that started at 4 EST. With this schedule, we pretty much miss the west game (if you are going to the cats game) and it is a little bit of a late night for kids who start school the next day! Just don’t get it.

  2. stomp into 2018 // December 14, 2017 at 2:59 pm //

    With this schedule the riders are the envy of the league. They get to see Bo Levi and the Calgary Stampeders 3 times! IT’S MERRY CHRISTMAS TO RIDERNATION
    However with our provinces going to war today maybe it won’t happen!

    • justforkicks // December 14, 2017 at 3:33 pm //

      Just make sure Bo and company are wearing Sask plates!

    • True green // December 14, 2017 at 9:53 pm //

      Hey stumpy, do you think 3 down used photos of Riders for 3 CFL articles in a row just to aggravate you? 1 article on player safety and 2 on the schedule. All 3 have pictures of Rider fans.
      I’m wondering if you noticed that not even one of these pictures features the stampeders. Geez that’s unfair isn’t it. Like, not even 1. I wonder why that is?

      • stomp into 2018 // December 14, 2017 at 10:30 pm //

        I did notice this True green
        I was thinking how interesting nice photos that glorify ridernation don’t draw a single complaint but a single sentence of negative reporting draws the ire of ridernaton with claims of anti rider sediment on 3downnation

        The signature characteristic of a narcissistic, spoiled child.

  3. Mantis Toboggan // December 14, 2017 at 3:11 pm //

    I hate the back to backs the cats have 4 if you ignore the bye week between Rider games. I think they suck for TV. Also first five games 7 of first 9 against the west. I guess it is what it is I just wish they could balance it out a bit

    • Agree with you on the back-to-backs! I don’t mind the Labour Day rematch, but back-to-back with Ottawa was done 2 years in a row and it was nice to see it disappear last season finally! Back-to-back with a western team like BC is not good for either team given the fatigue of travelling back and forth across the country – tougher for the Ticats who play in BC first and will be recovering from 2 long flights. While it’s nice to get some of the western games and travel done early in the season, it’d be nice to see a bit more balance early in the season between games against eastern and western opponents.

  4. justforkicks // December 14, 2017 at 3:20 pm //

    My understanding is that all teams have input when the schedule is put together and are partially to blame for any fan discomfort.

  5. Lancaster/Reed // December 14, 2017 at 3:42 pm //

    Riders play winnipeg and calgary 3 times each, just like in 2017. I thought they tried to rotate the schedule year to year so we would face edmonton and/or bc 3 times this season? Oh well.

    • stomp into 2018 // December 14, 2017 at 6:11 pm //

      You sound afraid. Are you worried of the challenge? Were you wanting a “free ride” schedule?

      • Lancaster/Reed // December 14, 2017 at 8:11 pm //

        Well winnipeg is a pretty good team, but they should be a good challenge. Calgary’s me first attitude will see them implode early in 2018. Nothing to worry about.

        • stomp into 2018 // December 14, 2017 at 10:07 pm //

          lol Here’s the problem with this Calgary “Me first” theory you have been on the last couple weeks. (Kinda like an 8 year old with a new toy)

          If BLM was so selfish why didn’t he try the NFL after 2014 instead of signing a new deal? (like Bridge is now)

          Why did Bo sign for less money when he did sign that contract (it will be interesting to see how much more Bridge signs for)

          Why do so many players choose to stay here rather than test FA? You think guys like Hughes, McDaniel couldn’t have bigger pay checks if they went to FA? Last year we signed every significant player prior to FA starting except Derek Dennis- we know how that turned out don’t we?

          Why do so many players live her year round? Like BLM? Is it the nice winter weather you think?

          How did Bo manage to but Calgary on the 2 yard line to win the cup last year if he was an ‘I’ guy?

          Why did Calgary go back to Jorden on the last drive after he dropped a pass the play before?

          MYTH BUSTED!!!!

          • Lancaster/Reed // December 14, 2017 at 11:32 pm //

            They stay because of all the under the table, “hide from the cap” money they get.
            Choke.

          • Ridersnhabs // December 14, 2017 at 11:39 pm //

            I was wondering myself why Mitchell didn’t look to the NFL before signing with Calgary and then it hit me , HE DIDNT GET ANY OFFERS . Myth not busted but u are

        • stomp into 2018 // December 15, 2017 at 12:59 am //

          Lancaster Reed/ Ridernhabs
          What makes you say Calgary pays under the table? There is simply no proof, evidence or even speculation of this. Except from you!
          If you bothered to learn before you speak you’d know Bo signed mid way through the season meaning no offers could have been make to him. Go to Mosiac tomorrow (if anyone is there) and ask some offense people if they think Bo would draw NFL interest, either now or then. The answer would be yes. You know it too. You just make contrary statements because you have no valid counter arguments to anything I say.

    • I fully agree. The CFL schedule should be switched as you mentioned Lancaster/Reed. As being a fan of the early-’70’s, I miss the intense rivalry that Ronnie/George and the Jolly Green Giants had with the Eskimos. Shame on the CFL for messing this part of the schedule and also starting the league earlier but ending with the Grey Cup played on the last weekend of November. 93-percent of polled fans on the Green Zone clearly stated for an earlier Grey Cup. I see Mr. Ambrosie totally ignored that request. Shame on Mr. Ambrosie and the CFL for going halfway (just life the roofless Mosaic). Oh, well, another discussion with CFL head office to be administered shortly.

  6. solara2000 // December 14, 2017 at 5:02 pm //

    While it is impossible to meet everyone’s preferences, I like the structure of the schedule, in particular the additional bye week (my imagination or are injuries just going nowhere but up?) and the elimination of 3 games in 11 days – a brutal, archaic throwback to the origins of cross-divisional games which featured a visiting team from the west (and vice-versa) playing an Eastern Division team on Saturday, followed up 2 days later with that same visiting team flying (or bus/train) on to another Eastern city to take on that city’s Eastern Division team, 2 days later on Monday evening.

    • Ridersnhabs // December 14, 2017 at 11:42 pm //

      I totally agree and as far as injuries the schedule should help but the players these days are so big and fast they just hit harder .

  7. BLM in the NFL? Bah hahaha now that’s some Good Friday humour.

    • stomp into 2018 // December 15, 2017 at 11:57 am //

      Ben….weren’t you a “Stamps fan” last night?
      Being a fraud aside… I hope you’re right. I hope he stays in the CFL so he can kick ass for the next decade!

  8. The 13th Rider // December 16, 2017 at 12:53 pm //

    Toronto at Saskatchewan in WEEK ONE…umh this must really irk donkey land, I am wondering what will happen on 3 Down Nation if the Riders beat Toronto, isn’t this traditionally the CFL returning Grey Cup game in week 1? Or is it Canada Day?
    Bo Peep doesn’t have a chance in the NFL, he’ll always choke in the big one, not good that we blame Jordan for being the goat, when in fact it was Bo Beep…Dickenson has some major decisions to make!?

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