Hamilton Tiger-Cats hope to find elusive season opening ‘W’ in Winnipeg

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will attempt to do something Friday night that they have done only twice since 2005: win their first game of the Canadian Football League’s regular season.

The Tiger-Cats will get the chance to do so against perennial Grey Cup favourite Winnipeg when they visit the Blue Bombers at IG Field.

You can listen to the game on CHML radio, starting with the pregame show at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. Kickoff is at 8:30 p.m. Fans can catch The 5th Quarter postgame show 30 minutes after the final whistle.

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Hamilton beat Saskatchewan 23-17 in week one in 2019 and they topped Toronto 42-20 in the opening game of the 2016 campaign.

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In their last 17 season-opening games, the Ticats have won just two games and have lost 15 times.

You’d have to travel all the way back to the first game of the 2004 season, caretaker Bob Young’s first year as owner of the club, when Hamilton won its first contest on the schedule.

The Blue Bombers have won five of their last seven season-opening games against the Cats, including their last in 2021, 2011 and 2010. Hamilton has beaten Winnipeg only twice in week one, in 1999 and 1981.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The Bo Levi Mitchell era will officially begin Friday night after the quarterback played in just two offensive series in the preseason. The former Calgary Stampeders QB will be joined by several other newcomers to the Ticats’ lair.

They include running back James Butler, receivers Chris Osei-Kusi and Omar Bayless, defensive lineman Casey Sayles and Jonathan Kongbo, linebackers Jameer Thurman and Chris Edwards, as well as defensive backs Javien Elliott and Kenneth George Jr.

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One player who will not suit up Friday night despite scoring a touchdown in each of Hamilton’s two preseason games is receiver Richie Sindani. The 27-year-old will begin serving a two-game suspension after testing positive for performance enhancing substances (methandienone and stanozolol) last year while he was with the Calgary Stampeders.

Under the CFL/CFL Players’ Association joint drug policy, players who test positive or fail to provide a sample face a two-game suspension for a first violation, a nine-game suspension for a second, a one-year suspension for a third, and a lifetime ban for a fourth.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

While the Ticats have the league’s third most experienced roster in terms of games played (an average of 40.2 games) the Blue Bombers are No. 1 on that category, and by far.

Winnipeg’s lineup has played an average of 51.7 games in the CFL, led by Mike Miller’s 190. Friday’s game will be Winnipeg receiver Nic Demski’s 100th in the league.


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