Group of Alouettes vaccinated at Olympic Stadium, including Canadian QB Hugo Richard

Screengrab courtesy: Montreal Gazette

Olympic Stadium welcomed a group of Montreal Alouettes for COVID-19 vaccines.

The Big O has been a vaccination site since March and according to Montreal Gazette reporter Herb Zurkowsky, officials approached the Als with the idea of creating a separate line for any players who were in the city to come through.

“I’m just glad to have it done, so everyone else can have it done and we can move forward,” Canadian quarterback Hugo Richard said.

“This is sending a message to young people,” president Mario Cecchini added. “It’s safe. It’s the right thing to do. For us, [vaccinations] are the passport to playing.”

The CFL has delayed the start date of its 2021 season with a 14-game schedule targeted to kick-off on August 5, culminating in a planned December 12 Grey Cup. For the timeline to be met, the league requires ‘a significant number of fans’ to be allowed in stadiums by municipal, provincial, and federal governments.

“Whatever they’d put in my body I’d take at this point,” Canadian cover man Ty Cranston said. “If it encourages one person to come out and do it, it’s worth it.”

“It’s your duty as a citizen to get vaccinated. You have to trust the process,” fellow Canadian defensive back Marc-Antione Dequoy said. “To get vaccinated as a player means we’re closer to a season.”

The league and union began meetings during the second week of February with a focus on playing football this year. The two sides have submitted return to play health and safety plans to various levels of government in Canada and are working to finalize the protocols with six provinces before getting the final stamp of approval from the nation’s capital.