Joint practice, controlled scrimmage between Riders and Bombers disallowed by medical committee: report

Photo courtesy: Matt Smith

The proposed joint practice and preseason scrimmage between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers has been cancelled, according to a report from Bonfire Sports’ Darrin Bauming.

“The planned joint practice and controlled scrimmage is now a no-go for the Bombers and Riders, I am told,” Bauming tweeted late Friday.

“It is not part of the CFL’s health and safety plan for 2021 and the medical committee was not able to grant the go-ahead.”

Jamie Nye of the Green Zone reported on Thursday that the event was set to go ahead on July 24, with a plan for fan attendance. That did not pass the league’s approval process and the event will not be able to proceed.

Regina is just over a six-hour drive from the Manitoba capital and current public health conditions might have allowed the sessions to operate in Saskatchewan, with late July an ideal timeline. However that didn’t mesh with the health and safety protocol the league hammered out with various levels of government.

The announcement could also affect potential joint practices between Edmonton and Calgary, Ottawa and Montreal, and Toronto and Hamilton.

Both teams had some fun despite their disappointment, trading jabs on Twitter.

“Would be nice for some revenge, but the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are too scared of a little pre-season competition,” the Riders tweeted. “We’ll save it for Labour Day.”

In classic fashion, the Bombers responded with a photo of Andrew Harris following their 2019 West Final victory and some snark of their own.

“We figured the Saskatchewan Roughrider would want to scrimmage against us, you know, since it’s not a home playoff game and all,” they sparred.

Training camps are scheduled to begin on July 10 across the league and each team will be allowed to have 100 players at camp. Winnipeg will hold their training camp at IG Field and the Riders plan to do the same at Mosaic Stadium. CFL teams won’t play pre-season games prior to kicking off the regular season August 5.

Saskatchewan’s prairie rival visits Mosaic Stadium for the Labour Day classic on Sunday, September 5 with the Banjo Bowl slated for Saturday, September 11 in Winnipeg. The Bombers open the entire schedule hosting the Hamilton Tiger-Cats while the Riders play one day later, Friday, August 6 at home versus the B.C. Lions.