The Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Elks will not be proceeding with a controlled scrimmage the teams were hoping to play in late July.
“We won’t be able to conduct those inter-squad scrimmages, which is a shame,” said Calgary president and general manager John Hufnagel in a videoconference. “I probably jumped the gun on it. I should have checked things out before we got into the plans.”
The Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers were hoping to hold a similar exhibition, but were shut down by the CFL’s medical authorities. All nine CFL teams will have to wait for the regular season starts on August 5 to compete against another squad.
“It’s unfortunate, but we’ll get by. We’ll do the necessary things in practice with our red-white scrimmages to make sure we get a good evaluation on all the players,” said Hufnagel.
The 69-year-old also revealed that the team is still waiting to learn how many fans can be in attendance when the team hosts the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday, August 7 at McMahon Stadium.
“We’re still waiting for the number from what Alberta Health will allow for the stadium capacity,” said Hufnagel. “We’re hoping that it’s a big number — the bigger the better. We have a few more weeks before we need to actually state what type of capacity we’ll be having.”
Head coach Dave Dickenson is confident that a significant number of fans will be permitted to attend games. Alberta premier Jason Kenney has stated multiple times that he anticipates CFL stadiums will be full this summer.
“We feel very confident,” said Dickenson. “We all feel really good about things. Our organization is pumped and excited to get the fans back in. Do we know the number? No. But we feel real good we’ll get our guys back in the stands.”
Star quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell is anxious to see fans back in the stands following a year away from the game.
“I’m definitely looking forward to the fans being back,” said Mitchell. “I can’t even imagine doing a pre-game speech or somebody doing a pre-game speech and getting us hyped up and then running onto the field in an empty stadium. I can’t even imagine it. Hopefully that’s not the case.”