It came as no surprise Monday morning when the Canadian Football League joined the rest of the world of professional sports by announcing that training camps for the 2020 CFL season have been postponed indefinitely.
Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a release that camps scheduled to begin May 17 will not go as planned, and there is no date right now that will see the league moving forward.
“As for our future plans, we are in the hands of our public health officials, the advice they are providing governments, and the directives those governments are issuing to us all, and we acknowledge their timetable will be dictated by the virus itself.
“We will make further decisions when we can and share them with our fans and the public as soon as possible.”
The Eskimos fall in line with the decision.
President and CEO Chris Presson knows that it’s the best move to make.
“It’s the right thing to do,” said Presson from his home Phoenix where he will ride this pandemic out with his family.
“With the public health stipulations around congregations of people, it’s hard to host training camp when you have large conglomerate of human beings in the same space.
“The border stipulations and closures around that from a Canadian and American perspective, it just really made it impossible for us to do business.”
For now it’s training camp – but the games are next. So far the schedule remains intact, but if camps are postponed from May 17, there is no way the Eskimos will be in Winnipeg on May 24 to open the pre-season.
“This will not last forever. The goal at the end of the day is to play as many football games as we can.
“If we have to forego a bye week or two and we can get the buy in from the players’ association to do that and we are not inhibiting the safety of our fans and our players, there will not be opposition to that.
“We all want to play as many games as we can for ourselves and our fans.”
LISTEN: Morley Scott talks with Chris Presson
As per orders from the CFL, Presson says no one is in the Eskimos office as all staff work from home until they are given the go ahead from health officials and the CFL.
“The next step is hoping that this can be eliminated and we can get back to some sense of normalcy and we can open businesses again and the Eskimos can contribute to the community in a way that’s far beyond football and we can bring a sense of pride and joy and relief once the season opens.”
WATCH (Jan. 22): CFL is currently in the midst of off-season, but the players are working behind the scenes in full gear. Quinn Phillips visited with a few Eskimos players at Elite Athlete Training Systems in Spruce Grove to see how the trainers there push the athletes.