Stamps set to begin defence of Grey Cup against Ticats

The Calgary Stampeders hope to start their Canadian Football League season the way they finished the 2015 campaign — with a victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Seven months after their 20-16 Grey Cup win over Hamilton at Vancouver’s BC Place, the Stamps will host the Ticats in their home opener at McMahon Stadium on Friday night.

CALGARY — The Calgary Stampeders hope to start their Canadian Football League season the way they finished the 2015 campaign — with a victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Seven months after their 20-16 Grey Cup win over Hamilton at Vancouver’s BC Place, the Stamps will host the Ticats in their home opener at McMahon Stadium on Friday night.

“I’m excited,” said veteran Stamps defensive back Keon Raymond. “I know they’ve been waiting a long time for this game and so have we. All the celebration is over. It’s time to get back to the meat and potatoes of this thing.”

Fellow linebacker Juwan Simpson agreed, the Stamps are ready to put last year behind them and concentrate on this season.

“Last year was over when I went home,” Simpson said. “I was able to focus and start on this year and I know a lot of other guys were. We can talk about last year when we’re done playing football and old and grey, but now we’ve got to talk about the present.”

Fresh off his Grey Cup MVP performance, Stamps quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell said he can’t wait to play in front of fans in Calgary once again.

“I can’t really describe the feeling right now as far as just anxiousness of wanting to get on the field with my guys,” Mitchell said.

The Stamps and Ticats won both their pre-season games and Mitchell knows he and the Calgary offence will face a tough task against Hamilton’s defence to kick off the regular season.

“They’re a very physical defence all around,” Mitchell said. “Watching their pre-season games, every single play they made, they’d get hyped. They want to bring that aura, that confidence that they’re bigger than you. . .

“You’ve got to do things that slow them down. You’ve got to do things that take the punch to them, make sure you show them that you can hit me in the mouth as many times as you want, but we’re going to get back up and bite right back.”

While Mitchell came into his own as Calgary’s starter last season, Zach Collaros also made a name for himself as Hamilton’s new No. 1.

“He’s a good player,” Simpson said of Collaros. “He’s the starting quarterback there. He can scramble and makes a lot of plays with his feet. He’s surrounded by good talent. That’s pretty much it. I’m not going to pump those guys up or toot anybody’s horn. We know what they have and they know what we have.”

Hamilton coach Kent Austin is looking forward to seeing just how much more Collaros can progress this season.

“He’s going to get a lot better, I believe,” Austin said. “We’ll see, but he’s a very diligent guy. He cares a lot. He’s a football player and I think his best football’s still in front of him.”

Collaros would love nothing more than to help the Ticats erase the sting of losing in the Grey Cup final by guiding Hamilton to victory on Friday.

“Of course it would be a statement,” Collaros said. “It would be great to win the game. We’ll just go out there and execute our game plan and let the chips fall as they may. Guys are just anxious to get out there. The adrenalin’s going to be flowing.”

When asked about the task of facing the Stamps on the opening weekend of the CFL season, Austin said that was just the way the schedule worked out.

“Great football team, they’re the best football team in the league,” Austin said. “They’re the Grey Cup champions for a reason. Our guys know it’s a great challenge in front of us.”

Calgary coach and general manager John Hufnagel likes the fact his Stamps will face the defending East Division champions right off the bat.

“It’s nice that the CFL season is having a Grey Cup rematch and it’s going to be a heck of a football game,” Hufnagel said.

“I believe it’s going to be a 60-minute football game like the most recent games we’ve had with Hamilton. They’ve all been decided late in the game and I don’t see this game being any different.”

Just Posted

Mayor Rick Bonnett. (Screenshot)
WATCH: Ponoka council calls on gov’t to support rural small businesses

Ponoka council is calling on the provincial government to increase funding to… Continue reading

Pumpjacks draw oil out of the ground near Olds, Alta., Thursday, July 16, 2020. A new report suggests the economic impact of the pandemic led to a massive increase in federal aid to Canada's oil patch. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta economy ‘still reeling,’ says ATB Financial

Alberta’s economy is still feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and… Continue reading

Ella Stoner, five, is ready to cut off her hair and donate it to A Child’s Voice Foundation. (Photo by Lauren Stoner Photography)
Central Alberta girl to donate her ‘princess hair’ to A Child’s Voice Foundation

A five-year-old girl from Rimbey has never had a haircut before. Now,… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr
Central Alberta MLAs comment on UCP members kicked out of caucus

A pair of central Alberta MLAs have commented on the two United… Continue reading

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, participates in a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Feds face growing calls for answers after general overseeing vaccine effort sidelined

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government is facing growing calls for answers… Continue reading

Conservative MP Ron Liepert rises during Question Period on Parliament Hill, Friday, March 10, 2017 in Ottawa. Ron Liepert says these days, the phone calls and emails from people wanting to talk about his party's climate plan have slowed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Alberta MP pitches Conservative carbon price with a 24-pack of Pilsner

OTTAWA — Ron Liepert says these days, the phone calls and emails… Continue reading

A sign marks Stairs Place in the Hydrostone district in the North end of Halifax on Thursday, May 13, 2021. The street was named for William Grant Stairs, a Canadian explorer from Halifax who helped lead some of the most controversial expeditions through the African continent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Where the streets have explorers’ names, some Halifax residents call for change

HALIFAX — When builders created Halifax’s distinctive Hydrostone neighbourhood more than a… Continue reading

Riley Oldford, 16, suffers from cerebral palsy. He was the first youth in the Northwest Territories to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Here he receives the needle from nurse practitioner Janie Neudorf in Yellowknife on Thursday May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Braden
People with disabilities even more alone during pandemic: cerebral palsy spokeswoman

YELLOWKNIFE — Riley Oldford is usually out playing sledge hockey or hanging… Continue reading

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

VICTORIA — Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have… Continue reading

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) comes in to celebrate with right wing Tom Wilson (43), right wing T.J. Oshie (77) and defenseman Justin Schultz (2), after Oshie's overtime goal in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins, Saturday, May 15, 2021, in Washington. The Capitals won 3-2. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Nic Dowd scores in OT, Capitals beat Bruins 3-2 in Game 1

Capitals 3 Bruins 2 (OT) (Washington leads series 1-0) WASHINGTON (AP) —… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Zack MacEwen (71), Travis Boyd (72) and Jimmy Vesey (24) celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during third period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 15, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Big third period lifts Vancouver Canucks to 4-1 victory over Edmonton Oilers

Canucks 4 Oilers 1 EDMONTON — Matthew Highmore scored twice in the… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy
Canada’s vaccine rollout operation won’t miss a beat with new military leader: expert

DARTMOUTH — The sudden departure of the senior military officer in charge… Continue reading

Most Read