The CFL goes to Camp

By Chris Lawton

I love this time of year. Spring is in full bloom. Summer is a breath of fresh air and a few showers away. While, most importantly of all, the CFL is gearing back up for action. Of course, every year once the Grey Cup has been played, and the dust has settled on another season you hear the plaintive cry of CFL fans in chorus asking. “Is it June yet?”.

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Soon enough it will be as the CFL kicks off on Friday June the 7th (1:30 am BST) with a rematch of last year’s classic Grey Cup game between Montreal and Winnipeg. But it already feels like 3 Down football is back, and that is because the rookie mini camps have opened. Following the Draft, the annual cycle leading into the season now feels like it is in full swing.

Teams are gearing up and signing players. So we have things like the BC Lions getting ready to celebrate their 70th season, or Winnipeg having Hall of Famer Milt Stegall at their rookie camp. (Side note Stegall looks in great shape!); or Ticats fans spiralling as Bo Levi Mitchell is spotted in a walking boot.

It’s an exciting time of year. A chance for fans of all the teams to start believing something good could happen for them. The teams will be busy now camps have started too because after the rookie camps opening on May the 8th, the following dates are key too:

May 11th roster cut down to 85.

May 12th – full training camps open.

May 14th – roster cut down to 75.

May 20th – Preseason. The first game features Winnipeg & Saskatchewan and will be played at 9PM BST.

June 1st – training camp ends.

June the 7th (UK time, 6th in Canada) – the season kicks off.

Just remember too, you never know what talent may be out there. This time last year Qwan’Tez Stiggers was taking his first steps as a pro with the Toronto Argonauts. Stiggers, the Most Outstanding CFL rookie for 2023 continues his amazing story with the New York Jets this year. It will be a lot of fun to see what talent and stories emerge across the league this year too.  

Summer pro football with talented players, fun games, inviting fans, what’s not to love? And for those NFL and college ball fans that bemoan a lack of football at this time of year the CFL offers a great ‘football fix’. We can even help you out with who to support. Check our guide to the teams and pick a team to back to make it even more involving and fun.



Chris originally started following the NFL with the ‘first wave’ of fans when it was shown on Channel 4 in the 1980’s. He has been a keen supporter of the Miami Dolphins since 1983. Chris first encountered the CFL in 2016 and instantly fell in love with the Canadian game. He has been writing about the CFL 2017. Chris has a degree in history, postgraduate degree in librarianship and can be found on twitter as @CFLfanUK