The Calgary Stampeders have postponed their annual Fanfest due to poor air quality resulting from ongoing wildfires in northern and central Alberta.
The three-hour event was originally scheduled to take place at the Gridiron Gardens on the practice field located immediately south of McMahon Stadium immediately prior to the team’s preseason opener against the Edmonton Elks on Monday, May 22. While the game is currently expected to proceed as planned, the team announced changes to their fan event in a statement on Friday.
“We are closely monitoring the fluctuating air quality caused by wildfire smoke in and around Calgary.
At this time, our game against the Edmonton Elks will proceed as scheduled on Monday afternoon and we will continue to work closely with the Canadian Football League and the league’s meteorologists to monitor the situation.
As a proactive measure, we have made the difficult decision to reschedule our pre-game Fanfest to Saturday, June 24 and will provide additional details on this change as they become available.
The health and safety of our players, staff and fans are of paramount importance to us and we thank you for your patience and understanding in this matter.
In the event further updates are required, they will be provided via Calgary Stampeders social channels.”
In 2019, the CFL and CFL Players’ Association (CFLPA) agreed that players should not practice or play outdoors if the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is plus-seven or higher. On Friday, the AQHI was listed at plus-five with an increase to plus-seven in direct smoke.
The Stampeders were forced to cancel practice on Wednesday due to the smoky conditions, while the Edmonton Elks and B.C. Lions have both moved training camp indoors.