The good and bad of the Calgary Stampeders’ 2023 schedule

Photo courtesy: Calgary Dinos

The CFL released its schedule as an early Christmas gift for fans, allowing them to plan trips, get togethers and reserve hotels for the upcoming season.

Before any team can book their accommodations for the 110th Grey Cup in Hamilton, they will need to earn their way there through the regular season and one or two victories in the postseason.

There’s lots to like and not like with Calgary’s schedule in 2023, so here’s a look forward at what’s to come for the Stampeders.

Bye Weeks? Good!

The Stampeders have their bye weeks spread out relatively evenly throughout the season, coming in weeks four, fifteen, and eighteen.

Calgary will be able to see what they have in the first three weeks with home games against B.C. and Saskatchewan with a trip to Ottawa squeezed in between. The club’s subsequent nine-game stretch will culminate in the back-to-back Labour Day Classic and rematch with Edmonton.

After their second bye, Calgary has two games against East Division opponents and another bye before finishing the year with three West Division games as a warmup for the playoffs. This could be a great formula to get healthy ahead of the postseason with just five games to play in 47 days down the stretch.

Opponents? Bad!

Last season, the Stampeders feasted on teams outside of B.C. and Winnipeg, losing just one game to the league’s other six teams combined. Their record also benefitted from sweeping the Edmonton Elks in four meetings.

In 2023, the Stampeders will only play their provincial rivals twice as the Labour Day home-and-home series will serve as the only meetings between the clubs this season. On the flip side, they play the other three West Division teams each three times.

Calgary is also not scheduled to host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who traded for the rights to quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell earlier this off-season. If the pending free agent signs a long-term contract in Steeltown, Stamps fans won’t get a chance to welcome him back to McMahon Stadium until 2024 at the earliest.

Timing? Good!

It’s important for teams to remain rested throughout the regular season and the Stampeders should be a relatively well-rested bunch in 2023.

The team only has one dreaded “short week” when they play on Sunday before returning home for a game the following Friday. Other than that, there are two six-day gaps, five seven-day gaps, and the remaining games are separated by more than a week.

This should also help the Stampeders stay healthy as they will have much time to recover throughout the season. Even their preseason games are 10 days apart with a seven-day gap ahead of the season opener on Thursday, June 8.

Time of day? Good!

With the exception of a pair of games in B.C. and a September matinee at home against Montreal, all of Calgary’s games start between 5:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. local time, which is good for young families looking to go to a game or kids wanting to watch the games on TV.

A minor quirk in the schedule has seen the Labour Day Classic shifted to the late afternoon with a 5:00 p.m. kickoff, which could deter Elks fans from making the trip down the No. 2 highway for the game. However, this change could help buoy attendance as local fans looking to get out and enjoy the last long weekend of the summer can get back to town in time for the game.

Day of week? Good!

The Stampeders have just two Thursday night games, one of which is at home. There are seven Friday night games with four at home, six Saturday games with two at home, two Sunday games with one at home, and one Monday home game against the Elks.

Offering a variety of game-day options while still having near half the games on the same night offers a nice balance of between those looking for a sense of routine and those looking to buy tickets around an evening work schedule.

Overall Impression? Good!

There is a lot to like and not much to complain about for the Stampeders from a scheduling perspective, with just a lack of guaranteed wins over Edmonton missing. The club won’t be hampered by the schedule when it comes to recovery time or travel and should be able to use the well-timed byes to rest and improve.

Ryan Ballantine is a lifelong Stamps fan and host of the Horsemen Radio Podcast. He has been covering the team since 2008.