CFL commish says league exploring earlier start to regular season

CFL commish says league exploring earlier start to regular season

The Canadian Football League season could continue to creep back toward the start of June.

But commissioner Randy Ambrosie said there are no plans to have a regular season game in May, at least not yet.

Ambrosie spoke to the media prior to kickoff of the CFL’s 2018 season opener between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Edmonton Eskimos at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg on Thursday.

June 14 is the earliest regular season game in CFL history, besting the previous record set on June 15, 2004, between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Toronto Argonauts.

With the season expected to start even earlier next year, Ambrosie said moving the calendar back is an ongoing conversation that’s important to keep talking about.

“Wouldn’t it be great to play more and more in conditions like this?” Ambrosie said, noting that a preseason game in Edmonton and Friday’s game were both played under splendid conditions.

Ambrosie said moving the regular season into May is not the thinking at the moment.

“We’re thinking June, that would be the timetable to focus on,” Ambrosie said. “We’re going to continue to ask the fans. We’re talking to all of our key stakeholders. We’re having a great conversation with TSN (the CFL’s host TV network), they’re incredibly important in this conversation.

“We’re just going to keep studying it, talking it through and hopefully, at some point, feel very comfortable that we’ve got the right concept and then move forward. This will be the carpenter’s axiom, measuring twice and cutting once.”

Moving the season back to the beginning of June still wouldn’t get the Grey Cup game into October.

“We’ve been looking at it and talking about some data around weather and I think it just gives you a better chance of not having a sub-zero, cold-weather day,” Ambrosie said. “It’s all about looking at all of these factors together and working together to reach the right conclusion.”

sbilleck@postmedia.com

Twitter: @scottbilleck

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