As we grow ever close to the beginning of a new CFL season, let’s take some time to look back at all the events that have transpired in the past 12 months of Canadian Football.
First off, it was the year of the injured starting QBs in the CFL, especially during opening week where both Saskatchewan and Montreal both lost their starting quarterbacks (Montreal lost two in one game!) Hamilton, Toronto and even BC also saw major, season ending injuries to their starting quarterbacks. All were forced to adjust accordingly, some better than others. Hamilton, Toronto and BC made the playoffs despite the injuries, while Saskatchewan and Montreal went on to miss the playoffs.
Surprise in the Nation’s Capital
Nobody outside, and maybe even some of those inside the Ottawa Redblacks dressing room saw the team having the amazing season it did in only the franchise’s second season in the league. Improving on a 2-16 record in 2014 by an astounding ten wins, and went on the way to winning the Eastern Finals and get the new franchise’s first Grey Cup appearance.
Eskimos are Champions
On November 29th 2015, the Edmonton Eskimos made sure the Ottawa Redblacks storybook year finished with a sad ending. Even after shockingly going down 13-0 to the upstart Redblacks, the Edmonton Eskimos showed why they were the class of the CFL. It was wire-to-wire last season, with Edmonton slowly chipping away at the Ottawa lead until they finally took the lead for good in the fourth quarter to win the 103rd Grey Cup 26-20.
Championship Coach Leaves Town
Fresh off of a Grey Cup win with the Edmonton Eskimos, you’d think the last thing Chris Jones wanted to do was leave. He did just that in this off-season, signing on to coach the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Many attribute his leaving Edmonton for Saskatchewan as wanting to go build something new in Saskatchewan, as they are reeling after a 3-15 season, but Chris Jones seems confident he can turn things around.
New Stadium for the Argonauts
The Toronto Argonauts are finally out of the terrible lease that they had at the Rogers Centre. This past season was a trying one as the Pan-Am Games and the Toronto Blue Jays forced the Argos to play games all across Canada. They opened their season in Fort McMurray, and even moved a home game to Hamilton after scheduling conflicts came up with the Rogers Centre’s main tenants, those aforementioned Blue Jays during their playoff run.
With all that behind them they move to a much more football friendly stadium in BMO Field, and have a much better agreement in place to share the stadium with the other main tenant, Toronto FC of the MLS. The Argos are totally revamping their game day experience at their new stadium, and should be able to draw in new fans this coming season.
2016 CFL Draft
The 2016 CFL draft took place on May 20th, 2016 in Toronto with the Saskatchewan Roughriders selecting offensive lineman Josiah St. John from the University of Oklahoma first overall. The remaining first round selections were as follows:
(NOTE: The Winnipeg Blue Bombers forfeited their pick by making a selection in the 2015 supplemental draft, Originally slotted 2nd overall)
1st Overall – Saskatchewan Roughriders
Josiah St. John, Offensive Lineman, University of Oklahoma (6’6 330 lbs.)
2nd Overall – Montreal Alouettes
Phillip Gagnon, Offensive Lineman, University of Laval (6’4 311 lbs.)
3rd Overall – Hamilton Tiger-Cats via BC
*Hamilton and BC swapped the 3rd and 5th picks in the draft*
Brandon Revenberg, Offensive Lineman, Grand Valley State (6’4 285 lbs.)
4th Overall – Toronto Argonauts
Brian Jones, Wide Receiver, Acadia (6’4 285 lbs.)
5th Overall – British Columbia Lions via HAM
Charles Vaillancourt, Offensive Lineman, University of Laval (6’4 315 lbs.)
6th overall – Calgary Stampeders
Alex Singleton, Linebacker, Montana State (6’2 233 lbs.)
7th Overall – Ottawa REDBLACKS
Jason Lauzon-Seguin, Offensive Lineman, University of Laval (6’4 294 lbs.)
8th Overall – Edmonton Eskimos
Tevaun Smith, Wide Receiver, Iowa (6’0 205 lbs.)
All other picks in the draft can be accessed here.
We remember all the great times of the previous year whilst we move into that exciting time as the new season approaches, and the fan bases become ripe with anticipation, anxious to see how their team is looking to start the season. Week 1 begins June 23rd at 7:30pm EST as the Toronto Argonauts host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to kick off the 2016 CFL season.