Sunday, February 20, 2011

The CFL Road Trip

The Canadian Football League released their 2011 schedule a couple of days ago and naturally I looked into possible road trips. The CFL is a tricky league for travel - although there are only 8 teams, they are spread across a large area and you don't have much choice about the order in which you visit the cities; you either start in Montreal and finish in BC or vice versa. Of course, you can backtrack, but for me, I'd probably do the return leg through the northern US and try to catch some other sports. Teams play once a week, although there are two bye weeks (when 4 teams have the week off), which reduce your options a bit.

A few teams are close enough that you could see games on back-to-back days, which is important when you are trying to save a couple of weeks on the road. Edmonton and Calgary are the most obvious pair, but they are home on the same weekend exactly once, on the last weekend of the season. Not good! Fortunately, Winnipeg and Saskatchewan are not that far apart, and Montreal, Hamilton, and Toronto are also relatively close, and they do have games on the same weekend, so a six-week journey is possible.

The season gets underway on Canada Day weekend and lasts until the first week of November. I prefer the warm weather, so I'd get started early and try to catch some late-season minor league ball on the way back. With that said, here's one potential CFL road trip for 2011:
Fri, Jul 15 Toronto at Montreal 7:30
Sat, Jul 16 Saskatchewan at Hamilton 4:00
Sat, Jul 23 Winnipeg at Toronto 4:00
Thu, Jul 28 BC at Winnipeg 7:00
Sat, Jul 30 Calgary at Saskatchewan 7:30
Sat, Aug 6 Hamilton at Calgary 7:30
Sat, Aug 13 Winnipeg at BC 7:00
Fri, Aug 19 BC at Edmonton 9:00
Not bad, just 5 weeks, and leaves two weeks to get back to the east via Washington, Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, where there'd be plenty of chances to see minor league ball. It would also be a great chance to see Canada, something I haven't done since 1990. Doubtful I'll be able to take this trip, but you never know, it might be the only pro football played in North America this year and I'll need to get my fix somehow.



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