Craig Reynolds on vote to play in 2021: ‘It was as unanimous as unanimous goes’

Screengrab courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Saskatchewan Roughriders’ president and CEO Craig Reynolds shed some light on Monday’s board of governors meeting that saw the approval of a fourteen-game CFL season.

“From the very get-go, it certainly felt different — everybody realized that it was a very important meeting and a very important decision in front of the CFL and it felt like that,” Reynolds told Derek Taylor on The Sportscage. “At the end of the day, everybody understood how important it was for us to get back on the field … and it culminated in a unanimous vote and it was quite exciting actually, to be honest with you.”

Greg Yuel, the lead governor from the team’s board of directors, was the one who officially cast Saskatchewan’s vote in favour of a fourteen-game season. Though Reynolds didn’t have the opportunity to do so on Monday, he unofficially voted in favour of playing at a different meeting the previous week.

“On Friday, we kinda went across the country as we had our presidents group. Obviously we were meeting on this topic and I believe my response was, ‘Hell yeah’ when asked,” said Reynolds.

When pressed, Reynolds insists that all nine teams voted enthusiastically in favour of playing in 2021.

“It was as unanimous as unanimous goes. Everybody knows how it important it is to play football. I wasn’t the only person who said, ‘Hell yeah.'”

Reynolds declined to give any firm details on the 2021 schedule, but said that the Riders open the season at home and will play a number of games at home in August. He also confirmed that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will travel to Regina for the Labour Day Classic, as per CFL tradition.

“That was one thing that was really, really important to us and the league and the Bombers — that Labour Day Classic is really, really important,” said Reynolds. “You certainly want those rivalry games. There’s nothing like Labour Day Sunday at Mosaic.”

The Riders have said they are ready to accommodate at least their 21,000 season ticket holders to start the season. They are hoping to have a capacity crowd three weeks after 70 percent of residents age 12 and over have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is projected to happen as early as July 11.

“I’m just so happy for our fans first and foremost,” said Reynolds. “I know how much this means to them. They remind me of that every time I have an opportunity to get out and see folks. They tell me how much they missed it — they missed Rider football, they missed being at the stadium, they missed their Rider family.”