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Hamilton Tiger-Cats eager to start training camp

After the 2020 Canadian Football League season was scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are preparing to kick off their training camp this Saturday at Tim Hortons Field.

Ticats players from across North America are in a Hamilton hotel for their one-week quarantine in advance of the start of camp, after the CFL got the green light from the federal government to allow players and staff to travel to Canada without undergoing a 14-day quarantine.

Team members are also scheduled to take multiple PCR tests while in quarantine in advance of returning to the practice field.

Read more: Federal government approves modified quarantine for CFL players

“I know all them did a great job of getting through the process of getting up here,” said Shawn Burke, Hamilton’s Co-Manager of Football Operations. “There’s some unique challenges this year with travelling to camp and we got most of everyone here.”

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The CFL is not holding any preseason games this year and every game during the first two weeks of the regular season will be played in Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary and Edmonton.

Hamilton’s training camp will also be closed to the public as Ontario remains in Stage two of its COVID-19 reopening plan.

Read more: Doug Ford says next steps in Ontario’s COVID-19 reopening plan to be announced within 3 weeks

The Ticats play their regular season opener on Aug. 5 in Winnipeg, a rematch of the 2019 Grey Cup final that was won by the Blue Bombers.

“That’s gone,” said Tiger-Cats head coach Orlondo Steinauer, referring to the painful loss in the championship game.

“It would be gone had the result been something different to be honest,” added Steinauer. “This is a new year. I’m looking forward to Saturday and I think everybody just wants to see football, and that’s what we’re looking forward to. Everything is about looking through the windshield and not the rear view mirror.”

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Hamilton linebacker Simoni Lawrence is eager to wipe the slate clean and bring a championship back to Steeltown for the first time since 1999.

“We understand what happened in 2019, but I feel like we’re coming in here as a fresh 2021 season and we are just trying to bring a Grey Cup to Hamilton,” said Lawrence.

The CFL’s title game will be held in Hamilton for the first time since 1996 when the contest was played at old Ivor Wynne Stadium.

Read more: Veteran Saskatchewan Roughrider Brendon LaBatte sitting out 2021 CFL season: GM

This year’s final on Dec. 12 will also be played at Tim Hortons Field for the first time in the seven year old stadium’s history.

After Hamilton travels to Saskatchewan and Montreal in Weeks two and three, the Cats will play their home opener against the Toronto Argonauts in the Labour Day Classic on Sept. 6.

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CFL return to play – Jun 16, 2021

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