Ticats schedule features West-heavy start (again)

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will open their 2018 season nine days earlier than they did last year and will play four Saturday afternoon games.

They’ll also open the season with five straight games against the powerful CFL Western Division while finishing it with four straight against the Eastern Division, when playoff berths are likely to be on the line.

The regular season was extended by an extra week this year, in order to give teams a third bye week to reduce inequities in scheduling and, for player-safety reasons, to provide a third bye week to each team. Hamilton’s bye weeks are in Weeks 5, 10 and 17.

As usual, the Tiger-Cats will play host to the Toronto Argonauts on Labour Day, with a 6:30 p.m. start. Then, five days later, they’ll be in Toronto for a rematch, which has occurred before, but is more a feature of the two western Labour Day rivalries: Edmonton-Calgary; and Winnipeg-Saskatchewan.
The schedule is out before Christmas, a rare occurrence, and the team is extending its season ticket renewal deadline to next Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Hamilton, which has had weak starts in five of the last eight seasons, opens with two tough games on the road: in Calgary on Saturday June 16, and in Edmonton Friday, June 22. It makes some sense that the Ticats will spend the time between games in Alberta as they did in 2017.

Five of the Tiger-Cats nine home games will be played on Saturday, with four of them starting at 4 p.m. Hamilton had three Saturday games last year, but each of them began in the evening.
“Half of our home games are on a Saturday, including four that kick off at 4 p.m.,” Matt Afinec, the Tiger-Cats Executive Vice President of Business Operations said in a release.
“Mix in the annual Labour Day Classic in prime time, one Friday night game and two Thursday games, and there truly is something for everyone in our 2018 schedule.”

The Grey Cup champion – and newly MLSE-owned – Argonauts welcome Toronto to BMO Place on Friday, Oct. 12, and on a Saturday afternoon after Labour Day, while visiting Hamilton only on the first Monday in September.

Steve Milton

Steve Milton

Steve Milton is a long-time columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2012.
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Steve Milton
About Steve Milton (173 Articles)
Steve Milton is a long-time columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2012.

31 Comments on Ticats schedule features West-heavy start (again)

  1. cvmurrieta // December 14, 2017 at 2:41 pm //

    Another potentially brutal start for the Tabbies? At least the end of the season looks survivable. Hopefully there will be no 0-8 start in 2018.

  2. As a cottage owner I hate Saturday games. At least on a Friday night game I can head out after but Saturday games kill the whole weekend.
    It’s really hard to justify buying season tix when over half the home dates are Saturdays.

    • The 28,000 plus TFC fans that crowd into BMO on Saturdays don’t seem to mind and the Jays get their biggest crowds 46,000 plus on Saturdays.

      Most CFL fans complain about the Thursday night games because they have work the next day and others that Friday to Sunday is out because most people have cottages??

    • Billinburlington // December 14, 2017 at 11:04 pm //

      Here is a great suggestion – you happily go to those Saturday Afternoon games and I’ll be happy to drag my family to your cottage, This way you don’t miss the Ticat gams and your cottage gets used, We promise to lock the door on the way out.

  3. stomp into 2018 // December 14, 2017 at 3:29 pm //

    So what???? A quick glimpse of Calgary’s schedule has the first 5 games against Eastern teams. If these 2 teams start with strong interdivisonal games than all teams likely are. The league whats to create big meaningful games late season so they try to save some divisional game for late. All your Eastern rivals have to play the western teams too. Stop complaining.

  4. More Cowbell // December 14, 2017 at 3:50 pm //

    “The Grey Cup champion – and newly MLSE-owned – Argonauts welcome Toronto to BMO Place on Friday, Oct. 12, and on a Saturday afternoon after Labour Day, while visiting Hamilton only on the first Monday in September.”

    What does this sentence mean exactly?
    Where is BMO Place? (BMO Field maybe?)
    And how do the Argonauts welcome Toronto there and then visit Hamilton in September?

    • I think you need to read the schedule!!
      Who cares if they made an error and called it BMO Place?

      • Details Details // December 15, 2017 at 7:14 am //

        I think Milton needs to read the schedule.
        How do the Argos welcome Toronto to (non-existent) BMO Place?
        There’s another Toronto CFL team?

        Don’t let the facts get in the way of inaccurate reporting.

  5. Cottage owner – boo hoo. Cry a freaking river…. what percent of homeowners in Hamilton own cottages? Probably about 0.05%

    I like Friday’s too, but it isn’t a big deal. Saturday is prime time for the CFL. Get used to it.

    • CFL fans in Southern Ontario are the worst complainers about the schedule. They complain about weeknights and about Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
      Yet them soccer fans will crowd BMO on a cold Wednesday night in the spring or fall. The Jays will sell out the dome on Saturday afternoons and rarely have less than 30k for weeknight games.

  6. 3 bye weeks, I wonder what will happen in a couple of season when MLSE folds the Argos and we go back to 8 teams. With 8 teams they should be able to do away with bye weeks and finish the season a month early.

  7. If the cats get there shit together and start off winning instead of losing then this won’t be an issue!

  8. Thank the Lord!! Saturday afternoon games, I love it. It’s a long drive from Gravenhurst for a 7 or 7:30 start, only to get home at 1 AM. May not be good for others but GREAT for me!

  9. dangnabbit // December 14, 2017 at 6:33 pm //

    The Ticats should have a West-heavy start. All Eastern teams should. This is deliberate on the part of the schedulers, in order that the end of the season features mostly East-vs-East and West-vs-West matchups (note that the last three weeks feature exactly zero East-West pairings).

    Why is this important? Because it leaves teams in control of their own destiny for longer. If, late in the season, Hamilton needs to catch Toronto, Ottawa, or Montreal to get into the playoffs, the head-to-head matchups will give them a chance to do so. But if those games were scheduled for the beginning of the season, and the games against the West were at the end, winning out wouldn’t necessarily be enough as the Ticats would still have to hope for the other East teams to lose.

  10. Personally,I would prefer mixing things up. The schedule makers have made most interdivisional games in the first half of the season with divisional games in the back end. I would prefer the schedule be more balanced with the Ticats playing four games against the east in each half and play the west fives in each half of the season. I think this would be more interesting and it might help a bit in terms of competitiveness.

  11. Once again, a late start for the Labour Day game.

    Is there anything wrong with 1:00 pm or 4:00 pm ?

  12. This schedule sucks as usual. Same old BS.

  13. Dundas dude // December 14, 2017 at 11:51 pm //

    It would be better to play Calgary in October rather than when they usually peak in early summer. Also, too bad they couldn’t play Montreal a few more times. Go Cats!

  14. Makes “some sense” to spend time in Alberta between games? Well, it depends on one’s perspective. Last year the “time” was spent slugging each other on a high school practice field while watching forrest fires burn in the distance. Hopefully this year will be different. Then again, one instigator is gone…the other will soon be gone.

  15. TC’s open the season in Calgary? Great. The last time they beat the Stumps on their turf was when McManus was the QB. Time to break that trend.

  16. Alex Droho // December 15, 2017 at 9:11 am //

    No cottage and no season tickets in 2018. Going to watch the games on TV. Don’t care about the heavy western start. We need to stop making excuses for them. Cats will just have to play to the necessary level.

  17. If you are good you will win no matter who the opponent may be. Stop crying you got your saviour coach and QB, they should be able to handle it. Time to payoff the fan faithful with good entertaining WINNING football!

  18. Greg Rinehart // December 15, 2017 at 9:44 am //

    LOVE – LOVE the schedule, finally some games that aren’t a late start. My wife and I travel to the games from Barrie and my parent’s travel to all the home games in Wiarton. These earlier games mean we won’t be getting home in the early morning hours anymore! Nicely done this year Hamilton!

  19. I don’t think MLSE would fold the Argos. Even if they continue to lose money, it is comparable to the amount of money they lose each year on other sports properties they own (Marlies, FC, Raptors 905) The goodwill they would lose by folding would impact their other properties. Now, they could sell the team …

    But lets’ pretend by attrition or expansion there are even number of teams. There would still be bye weeks for the reasons mentioned in the article: player safety

  20. Here me loud and clear Ticats and CFL. I detest night games! Dropped seasons tickets two years ago because of predominantly night games. So count me out for Labour Day and the other night games. Might do the 4pm games, that’s your only chance to get my money.

    • Marc Antony // December 16, 2017 at 11:44 am //

      I detest afternoon games. Like most normal people, I work, grocery shop, clean, and do all of the relentless chores that need to be done during the day, and I relax in the evening. I never have time to attend or sit around and watch games during the daytime. Never.

  21. Wow boo hoo some of you don’t like the schedule. What is the team and league supposed to contact every fan in the league for input! It takes a lot of effort to coordinate even a 9 team league with travel and stadium availability plus TV scheduling. We should be happy it’s out before Christmas and that the league is extending the schedule to help reduce player injury. It’s sad how many people complain because it’s not right for them! Too bad! If your a fan you’ll watch and come out to the games.

  22. The schedule is never going to please everyone. For example: I work Saturday until 5pm, so the Saturday day games suck for me. My fiancé works nights starting at 9pm so late games don’t work for him (he also works Saturday night). Luckily he has Thursdays off, so the only games we’d be able to go to without taking time off from work are the Thursday night games against Sask and Edmonton. Obviously though, all home games cant be Thursday nights.

    If you can make more than that, consider yourself lucky because the schedule is never going to 100% work for everyone. So boo hoo.

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