CFL unveils new schedule with key twist

The CFL unveiled a 2011 schedule Friday that features a twist on one of the regular season’s highlight games.

TORONTO — The CFL unveiled a 2011 schedule Friday that features a twist on one of the regular season’s highlight games.

The Toronto Argonauts will not play in the annual Labour Day Classic against their division-rival Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Instead, the defending Grey Cup champion Montreal Alouettes will visit Hamilton for the highlight match on Sept. 5.

This year, because of scheduling issues at Rogers Centre, the Argos will play at home against the B.C. Lions the Friday before Labour Day.

According to the league this is a one-time change, and Toronto and Hamilton will renew their showdown the following season. The Argos and Ticats have played each other on the date since U.S. expansion died in the 90s.

Other games on Labour Day weekend include Winnipeg at Saskatchewan and Edmonton visiting Calgary.

“While these are all compelling match-ups, there’s no doubt we would have loved to see the Argos face their traditional Labour Day foes in Hamilton,” said CFL commissioner Mark Cohon in a release.

“The fact is a shortage of available dates for the Argos at Rogers Centre, which also has to accommodate Major League Baseball’s Blue Jays and some major concerts, made that virtually impossible.

“To have the Argos on the road on Labour Day Weekend would have meant they would play away from home six of the first nine weeks of the season, and that simply wouldn’t do justice to the competitive balance and fairness we strive to achieve. This change achieves the best possible home schedule for the Argos under the circumstances.”

The change comes after the Ticats signed all-star tailback Avon Cobourne at the start of CFL free agency.

Cobourne had spent the last five seasons with Montreal. He won two Grey Cups with the Als and was named MVP of last year’s victory over Saskatchewan.

Hamilton and Montreal are both expected to battle for the top spot in the East Division next season.

The Ticats will also travel to Moncton, N.B., to play Calgary on Sept. 25 in the second year of the league’s Eastern Canada regular-season game.

The Edmonton Eskimos defeated Toronto 24-6 in last year’s East Coast game.

The season will open June 30th in Montreal when the Als begin their campaign for a third straight Grey Cup when they host B.C.

The Lions will host the first game at the refurbished B.C. Place Stadium on Sept. 30 against Edmonton.