The longest off-season in history is set to finally end on September 25, 2021.
Choose your metric: 22 months, 96 weeks, 672 days. No matter how you look at it, the University of Calgary Dinos’ 2019 Vanier Cup championship — the most recent university football game in Canada played November 23, 2019 — was a long time ago. But there’s hope on the horizon, with Canada West announcing its 2021 football schedule Monday.
It won’t be a full return to normal, with the league opting for a reduced, six-game regular season with a later start date – but after the cancellation of the 2020 season due to the pandemic, it sure will feel that way.
“It’s definitely an exciting time for me and my teammates,” said quarterback Josiah Joseph, who will return for his final season in 2021. “It’s been too long since we have been together as a collective group, chasing a Vanier Cup. We can’t wait to do just that come fall.”
The Dinos bookend their season with a pair of Hardy Cup rematches against the Saskatchewan Huskies, beginning September 25 at McMahon Stadium when they will at long last raise their national championship banner.
Following the opener, Calgary heads on the road for a pair at Regina and Manitoba before returning home for the rare Sunday tilt against the Alberta Golden Bears October 24. UBC pays a visit to McMahon on Saturday, October 30, with the regular season wrapping up November 6 with the return visit to Saskatchewan.
With the Vanier Cup scheduled a week later than usual — December 4 at Université Laval in Quebec City — the conference playoffs are set to kick off the weekend of November 13, with the 84th Hardy Cup a week later. This year’s rotation has the Canada West champion visiting the Quebec champion in the Uteck Bowl national semifinal, with the winner headed to the Vanier Cup.
Due to the long layoff, the Dinos will open an extended training camp in late August to prepare for live action September 25.
Ticket information for the 2021 Dinos Football season will be available later this summer as the University of Calgary continues to work through COVID-19 related health and safety protocols.