Saskatchewan has long been considered the heartbeat of the CFL and now Regina will host an event celebrating Canada’s league.
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, the league announced the first-ever CFL Week: seven days of festivities packed full of player interactions, a gala to celebrate the hall of fame inductees and the CFL combine.
“With everything happening here with the new Mosaic Stadium about to open next year and the passion of the fans, we thought this was the perfect location,” CFL commissioner Jeffery Orridge said.
Fifty players from around the league will be in town for the festival as the TSN promotional shoot will happen in Regina as well. The players involved will participate in fan panels, photo ops and autograph sessions. Coaches and former CFL stars will also be in attendance throughout the event which is happening March 20-26, 2017.
“The whole idea is to connect the fans with the players,” Orridge said, adding fans will also get a chance to meet future CFL stars as well.
Another aspect of CFL Week is the CFL combine, where Canadian students playing in the CIS or NCAA strut their stuff for teams and scouts ahead of the 2017 CFL draft. The players will go through a series of drills that include bench press, a 40 Yard Dash, positional drills and one-on-ones.
CIS athletes will also participate in the Canada West Passing Showcase. Teams from the western conference will compete against each other in a skeleton football tournament.
A special gala will also take place during the week to honour the league’s best players of the past and present. The CFL will announce the 2017 Class of Canadian Hall of Fame inductees before they are formally inducted later in the year.
Roughriders President and CEO Craig Reynolds said the team was approached about hosting the event in the summer and they were excited about the opportunity.
“It’s a tribute to our fans,” Reynolds said about getting the event in Regina. “When you look at hosting these types of events in the CFL and the potential fan interaction our fans come top of mind and the league knows that.”
The event is slated to take place at Evraz Place – including the Credit Union Eventplex – but that doesn’t mean new Mosaic Stadium won’t be on display as well.
“Part of (the event) is just sort showcasing the stadium and just getting the CFL community to see it,” Reynolds said.