To sports fans across this nation, certain times of the year hold a particular significance to their internal sports calendars.
Spring heralds the return of baseball and the end to the NHL season, June represents the arrival of the Stanley Cup, and when our great country celebrates the day of its birth, fans happily welcome the return of football.
And to make things more exciting, this year has the potential to be historically significant. When it comes to the gridiron, our beloved CFL may be the only game in town this year. Locked in a bitter labour dispute between its owners and players, there are no guarantees that there will be a single NFL kickoff this season. The question is, what impact will this have on Canadian football?
At this point, nothing is certain.
Nothing, except the fact that eight teams will once again compete for the chance to hoist Lord Grey’s Cup.
Last season ended with more familiarity than intrigue, as the Montreal Alouettes once again kept the Saskatchewan Roughriders at bay, winning their second consecutive Grey Cup. However, what was surprising was the significant head-to-head football games between The Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats late in the season, eventually meeting on the first weekend of playoff action. Last season saw the emergence of young stars like Toronto’s Cory Boyd and Winnipeg’s Phillip Hunt and the continued dominance of veterans like Montreal’s Anthony Calvillo and Hamilton’s Kevin Glenn. But enough about last year, it’s time to look forward to the 2011 season.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
(4-14): Bombers fans begin 2011 with the hope that a new season brings. Although sack artist extraordinaire Phillip Hunt is gone, his vacant shoes leave ample opportunity for an unknown training camp attendee to fill. Players, such as defensive back Alex Suber and linebacker Joe Lobendahn, are representative of the youth movement that began in Winnipeg last season. Greg Carr, who after signing in early September still caught 31 balls for 568 yards and four touchdowns, could bring some excitement back to Bomber nation.
They can win it all if: Buck Pierce can stay healthy. That’s a big if, but if Pierce can stay out of the infirmary, this team could do some damage.