Lack of road game against Stampeders the ‘hardest part’ of signing with Ticats: Bo Levi Mitchell

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym

Bo Levi Mitchell isn’t happy with how long he has to wait to get his revenge on the Calgary Stampeders.

The freshly signed Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback joined 980 CJME‘s The Green Zone this week and was frank when asked if he was disappointed that his new team would not be paying a visit to his old stomping ground in 2023.

“Hell yeah!” Mitchell said emphatically. “That was probably the hardest part about signing.”

The 32-year-old is arguably the greatest quarterback in Stampeders’ history, throwing for a franchise-record 32,541 yards, 188 touchdowns, and 89 interceptions over his 10-year career. However, he was benched by the team in favour of 25-year-old backup Jake Maier mid-way through the 2022 season and eventually had his rights traded to Hamilton in November.

The two-time CFL Most Outstanding Player signed a three-year contract with the club on Tuesday, bypassing the chance to test free agency. While the Ticats’ sales pitch made them an obvious choice for the next stage of his career, Mitchell’s decision was made more difficult by the fact that his new team is not scheduled to visit Calgary’s McMahon Stadium at all in his first season.

In a widely criticized aspect of the 2023 schedule release, the Stampeders and Ticats only face each other once — a Week 17 matchup in Hamilton. That means that Mitchell will not get a chance to play the conquering hero in the stadium he dominated for a decade — dousing the hottest storyline of the year with cold water.

While the future Hall of Famer remains on relatively good terms with his former team, Mitchell’s hyper-competitive streak is unlikely to be satisfied until he can prove that the Stampeders made the wrong choice under centre. He’ll go right to the top to make it happen if he has to.

“I’ve still got to call [CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie] and see if we can make up some story that, ‘Oh, you know what, because of travel we’re going to have to move game one for this team, so now Hamilton plays Calgary in game one,'” Mitchell joked.

Instead, the Katy, Texas native will have to settle for beating the Stamps at Tim Hortons Field and proving the doubters wrong with playoff success. Despite Hamilton boasting the longest active championship drought in the league, he sees parallels between his new team and the perennial powerhouse that cast him out.

“I saw a stat and I don’t know who put the stat out there but it was talking about the previous teams that have been to the Grey Cup over basically my tenure of being in Calgary,” Mitchell explained. “We had been there five times and Hamilton had been there four or five. They are the second most, even with Winnipeg going back-to-back-to-back here.”

“To me, their success has been at the top. They can continue with it and they’ve been consistent with it.”