Regina head coach Mark McConkey feels positive buzz after Canada West schedules six-game 2021 football season

Photo courtesy: Piper Sports Photography

University of Regina head football coach Mark McConkey can sense a switch in mentality at the Rams facility.

That’s because the Canada West conference has committed to competition in football for the 2021 season, planning to play a six-game schedule and crown a Hardy Cup champion. Conference members signalled their intentions to return to regular season play with the formal approval of alternative sport formats.

“It’s definitely going to look a little different, but all we want is a football season. It could be a two-game season, if needed, our guys would be excited to play. We would like an eight-game schedule, the normal full meal deal, but we’ll settle for a six-game schedule,” McConkey said on The Rod Pedersen Show.

“It’s going to be a later start, tentatively our first game is going to be the September 24, 25 weekend. Training camp would start around September 3. We’re just happy to have a season, I’m glad Canada West was really proactive in setting the schedule and getting all these things passed in early May.”

The alternate formats may require further adjustments which will be addressed as the permissions and approvals for return to competition are known. In order to begin a Canada West season, members will still need to receive permission to return to sport competition from their institutions and receive clearance from the health authorities in their respective provinces.

“To be honest, more of it has to do with finances than it does with COVID. Everyone is taking a hit, there is no recreation and athletic fee for the one year off, so it’s a one-off year of a six-game schedule and then next year in 2022 we’ll be back to a normal eight-game season,” McConkey said.

The Rams are slated to play each team in the conference once and the University of Manitoba twice for their six games. Regina was looking at a four-game schedule where the Rams would have played only the University of Saskatchewan and Manitoba as a backup option, but the six-game campaign is the focus.

“It was a long winter for our players, coaches, and organization and now we’re gearing up for hopefully a successful season,” McConkey said. “Our players are excited. The buzz around here is positive.”