If the Canadian Football League manages to safely play games amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there might not be any exhibition contests.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach Orlondo Steinauer said his team is planning to be ready for whatever scenario happens during the coronavirus crisis.
“There’s uncertainty, just not knowing a start date, not knowing exactly how long training camp is going to be. That was the same case once they announced the season was going to be delayed. There’s actually no frustration, every team is going to be faced with the same challenge,” Steinauer told TSN reporter Matthew Scianitti.
“Whether there is reduced training camp numbers or there’s reduced training camp days, a big difference is going to be the length — if we end up playing. In all likelihood there’s not going to be any pre-season games and we’re going to go right into playing.”
In a usual CFL calendar, each team would play two warm-up and evaluation-focused games prior to kicking off the ones which count in the standings. However, COVID-19 has altered the entire world and the CFL is no different. Commissioner Randy Ambrosie has stated the earliest the league might return to play is September.
“That’ll be a big adjustment, it actually gets me excited, it’s a new challenge. If it’s safe and all the protocols are met, everybody will be ready to roll,” Steinauer said.
The 47-year-old Steinauer was named the CFL’s Coach of the Year following his rookie season as the Tabbies head coach. He led Hamilton to a single-season franchise record 15 wins in 2019 during an impressive campaign. However, the Ticats suffered an upset 33-12 loss to Winnipeg in the 107th Grey Cup.
Steinauer and his front office staff improved their roster during free agency in the quest for a CFL title, but it’s unknown when the team from Steeltown and the rest of the league will be competing for the next championship.