Despite additional lockdown orders in Ontario, Hamilton Tiger-Cats chief operating office Scott Mitchell remains confident Canadian football will be played in 2021.
After premier Doug Ford announced further restrictions to strengthen enforcement of the province’s stay at home orders on Friday, April 16, Mitchell took to Twitter with a message for CFL followers.
Tough day here in Ontario but Ticats fans, stay safe and get vaccinated. A little bit of hope goes a long way, and we will be seeing you at Tim Hortons Field this season to cheer on your favourite CFL team. Count on it.
On Thursday, April 15, Ontario set a new single-day high reporting 4,736 new cases of COVID-19 — that number pushed the total over 400,000 in the province since the pandemic began. Due to the spiking case counts, premier Ford declared a one-month lockdown on April 7, which has been extended by two weeks.
These urgent actions by Ford and his government are targeted at stopping the rapid growth in coronavirus case rates and relieving mounting pressures on the province’s health care system.
The league office and players’ union began meetings during the second week of February with a focus on playing football in 2021. The two sides have submitted return to play health and safety plans to various levels of government in Canada. Each province would have to give approval with the feds needing to provide the final stamp.
The CFL unveiled its 2021 schedule in November with the pre-season slated to begin on Sunday, May 23. The regular season is scheduled to get underway on Thursday, June 10 and the Grey Cup is currently set for Sunday, November 21 in Hamilton.
The league’s board of governors are expected to vote for the postponement of the season during a meeting on Tuesday, April 20, but a new potential start date has not been publicized.