Edmonton Eskimos open 2018 CFL season in Winnipeg

A helmet belonging to a Edmonton Eskimos player is seen on the field during a team practice session in Winnipeg on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015. .
A helmet belonging to a Edmonton Eskimos player is seen on the field during a team practice session in Winnipeg on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015. . John Woods, The Canadian Press

The CFL is talking about moving their schedule up in the near future. That won’t happen in 2018 – but the release date of the new schedule for next season was moved up by over a month.

Usually not out until late January or early February, the 2018 schedule was released on Thursday.

The Edmonton Eskimos new schedule will feature a steady diet of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The Eskimos will open and close the regular season with games against the Bombers – in Winnipeg June 14 and at home on Nov. 3. In between those two dates, the Eskimos play at home to Winnipeg on Sept. 29.

A fourth game vs the Bombers is a pre-season game in the Manitoba capital on June 1.

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READ MORE: Should CFL season be moved up to avoid playing in bad weather?

As the CFL works towards possibly moving the schedule ahead, Eskimos fans will get a taste of that in 2018 with two pre-season games and three regular season games taking place before Canada Day, including a home pre-season game vs Saskatchewan on May 27.

Home games are predominantly weekend affairs with three Friday games, five Saturday games and one on a Thursday vs the Roughriders before the August long weekend.

Other highlights of the new schedule will be the traditional Labour Day games with the Calgary Stampeders.

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The Stampeders and Eskimos will be in Calgary on Sept. 3 and then back on the Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium the following Saturday.

That is not the only home and home set for the Eskimos, as they will face the Grey Cup Champion Toronto Argonauts for back to back games in Toronto on July 7 and back home on July 13. After two straight seasons of playing in Montreal on Thanksgiving Day, 2018 will see the Eskimos in Regina to play the Riders.

READ MORE: 5 Edmonton Eskimos named CFL All-Stars

The CFL announced last season that, starting in 2018, teams would receive three bye weeks instead of two. In the new 21-week schedule, the Eskimos will get byes in weeks six, 14 and 20.

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The 2018 CFL season will conclude Nov. 25 with Edmonton hosting the Grey Cup game.

2018 Edmonton Eskimos schedule:

Sunday May 27 vs Saskatchewan 3 p.m.
Friday June 1 at Winnipeg 6:30 p.m.

Regular season
Thursday June 14 at Winnipeg 6:30 p.m.
Friday June 22 vs Hamilton 8 p.m.
Friday June 29 vs B.C. 8 p.m.
Saturday July 7 at Toronto 1:30 p.m.
Friday July 13 vs Toronto 7 p.m.
Bye Week
Thursday July 26 at Montreal 5:30 p.m.
Thursday Aug. 2 vs Saskatchewan 8 p.m.
Thursday Aug. 9 at B.C. 8 p.m.
Saturday Aug. 18 vs Montreal 7 p.m.
Thursday Aug. 23 at Hamilton 5:30 p.m.
Monday Sept. 3 at Calgary 1 p.m.
Saturday Sept. 8 vs Calgary 5 p.m.
Bye Week
Saturday Sept. 22 at Ottawa 2 p.m.
Saturday Sept. 29 vs Winnipeg 5 p.m.
Monday Oct. 8 at Saskatchewan 2 p.m.
Saturday Oct. 13 vs Ottawa 3 p.m.
Friday Oct. 19 at B.C. 8 p.m.
Bye Week
Saturday Nov. 3 vs Winnipeg 2 p.m.

Nov. 11 West/East Semi-finals

Nov. 18 West/East Finals

Nov. 25  Grey Cup 106 in Edmonton  4 p.m.

All Eskimos games on 630 CHED, all times mountain

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In other news the Eskimos have signed offensive tackle Colin Kelly to a one-year contract extension.

Kelly played in 11 games in 2017 and two playoff games.