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.
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