B.C. Lions' Emmanuel Arceneaux (84) pretends to take a selfie with teammates Bryan Burnham, from left to right, Jeremiah Johnson, Kelvin Palmer, Rolly Lumbala and Kirby Fabien as they celebrate Johnson's touchdown against the Montreal Alouettes during the second half of a CFL football game in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday September 8, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Now that the Christmas decorations are stashed away and the champagne bottles re-corked, BC Lions fans can officially start looking ahead to a year that has already produced some very exciting additions. New club president Rick LeLacheur arrives at the Surrey facility this week while General Manager Ed Hervey will spend most of January on the road, highlights that include scouting staples such as the East/West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl. Here is a list of important dates on the 2018 CFL and BC Lions calendar.
Wednesday, January 10th- Thursday, January 11th- CFL Governors Meetings in Banff, Alberta
Commissioner Randy Ambrosie has been a big believer of keeping league news in the spotlight year round. These meetings of the minds present a big opportunity to get front-page news to kick off a new calendar year. You would think an expansion team to the Maritimes and more talk of moving the schedule up a couple of weeks to be big items on the agenda.
Tuesday, March 20th- Sunday, March 25th- Mark’s CFL Week In Winnipeg
After last year’s successful extravaganza in Regina, which included Geroy Simon announced as a member of the 2017 Hall of Fame Class, the 2018 event will take place in the Manitoba Capital. Once again, players from around the league will interact with fans and take part in the various TSN and league photo shoots. It all ends with the two-day CFL combine, a chance to get an up close look at the top 2018 Canadian draft prospects.
Thursday, May 3rd- 2018 CFL Draft
The Lions currently hold the 3rd, 12th, 21st, 29th, 38th, 46th, 47th and 58th picks. The 47th selection was acquired from Saskatchewan as part of the Mike Edem trade last year. The Lions’ eighth round selection (63rd overall) went to Saskatchewan in the same trade. 2017 draft picks Daniel Vandervoort, Junior Luke, Frederic Chagnon and Jordan Herdman all suited up for 18 games in their rookie season. Nate Hamlin dressed for two games before learning his trade on the practice roster.
Sunday, May 20th- Training Camp Opens At Hillside Stadium, Kamloops
Unlike previous years, there will be no three-day camp for first year Lions preceding the start of main camp. Details on a mini-camp in April for rookies will be announced at a later date.
Friday, June 1st- Pre-Season Opener In Calgary
For a second straight year, the first pre-season tune up involves a trip from Kamloops to Calgary’s McMahon Stadium. The Lions will make two regular season visits to Calgary: August 4th and October 13th.
Friday, June 8th- Blue Bombers Visit To Close Out Pre-Season
A day after players and staff depart Kamloops, Lions fans will get their first live look at the 2018 squad at BC Place. Roster cut-down day follows in June 9th. The Lions and Bombers will also meet in a critical home and home series July 7th and 14th.
Saturday, June 16th- Regular Season Opener-Alouettes Invade BC Place
Led by new head coach Mike Sherman, the Montreal Alouettes will make their first week one visit to BC Place since the 1981 season. The final season on the sidelines for Wally Buono begins against the squad he played for from 1973-82, winning two Grey Cups.
Saturday, November 3rd- Stampeders In Town For Regular Season Finale
Kudos to the schedule makers for arranging to have Buono close out his regular season career against the franchise he ruled from 1990-2002. Imagine if first place in the West was on the line to boot….