Riders ‘actively monitoring’ air quality to determine if Green and White scrimmage safe to proceed

Photo courtesy: Hannah Souster

Smoky conditions caused by ongoing wildfires across northern Saskatchewan have placed the Roughriders’ annual Green and White training camp scrimmage in jeopardy.

The event is scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m. local time at SMF Field in Saskatoon, but the team released a statement on Saturday morning advising fans that the situation could change.

“The Saskatchewan Roughriders are actively monitoring the fluctuating air quality conditions in Saskatoon due to wildfire smoke to determine if it will be safe for our players and fans to participate in our Green and White scrimmage Saturday afternoon.

As State of the Nation will be held indoors at the Main Hall at the Gordie Howe Sports Complex, it will go ahead as scheduled with President and CEO Craig Reynolds, VP of Football Operations Jeremy ‘Day and Head Coach Craig Dickenson taking the stage to address Rider Nation at 1 p.m.

We will provide an update as more information becomes available.”

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. As of 9:00 a.m. CST, AQHI in Saskatoon was registering at plus-eight, with conditions expected to stay steady throughout the day.

On Friday, the Calgary Stampeders postponed their annual Fanfest due to poor air quality. The Stampeders, Edmonton Elks, and B.C. Lions have all been forced to move indoors for training camp due to wildfires in those provinces.

The CFL has not made any changes to its preseason schedule despite games beginning in the affected cities as soon as Monday. The Roughriders are scheduled to play their first exhibition contest on Saturday, May 27 at home against the B.C. Lions.