Hotels have been blocked off, Saskatchewan still in the running as CFL hub: report

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

There is a chance Saskatchewan could host CFL football in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Rod Pedersen Show host, Rod Pedersen reports the prairie province is “still in the running” to be a hub for the three-down league should a shortened season be played this year.

“Here’s what I hear: as of Sunday morning, while Winnipeg remains the frontrunner, the CFL has not officially made their decision, I may have been premature on that report, although I’m still thinking they’re going to be in Winnipeg. The CFL is still willing to take bids and applications from other CFL cities to be quaratine cities, and that includes here in Saskatchewan,” Pedersen said on his self-named program.

“I’m not going to get into the dates or any of the details, but let’s put it this way: hotels have been blocked off. Civic and provincial leaders want the CFL here for a six-game season, and why wouldn’t they? Get the economy buzzing a little bit, get the most beautiful stadium in the country occupied and used.”

Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe has a very large appetite to host the CFL. The noted Roughriders fan has seen a downward trend in his province. As of July 13, Saskatchewan had 871 total coronavirus cases, the second least of any province which has CFL teams inside its borders — Manitoba is the lowest at 325.

Moe has joined other Western provinces by ending daily COVID-19 updates because the daily counts have been low for a number of weeks and on many days under double digits, which could make Saskatchewan a safe option for the CFL.

“Saskatchewan still in the running. And I actually heard Vancouver too, but if the province of B.C. chief medial officer says no to the NHL, why would she say yes to the CFL? Winnipeg the frontrunner, but it’s not set in stone. Saskatchewan’s in the running,” Pedersen said.

The CFLPA was sent the conditions the league office would want the players union to agree to for a hub city model. Those conditions for play include an acceptable level of federal or provincial government financial support. The two sides have a deadline of July 23 to reach an agreement.

Commissioner Randy Ambrosie stated the earliest the CFL might return to play is September due to COVID-19. The league had originally planned a for an eight-game season beginning in early September. However, the focus has since shifted to a six-game season with a later start, as time ticks down for a decision to be made.

If the league office and players can come together, selecting hubs for play would be the next logical step.