CFL unveils Grey Cup Unite, a virtual program to celebrate traditional Grey Cup week
Montreal Alouettes players including quarterback Anthony Calvillo (centre) celebrate their win in the CFL Grey Cup game Sunday November 28, 2010 in Edmonton. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
TORONTO -- There will be no Grey Cup game in November, but that's not stopping the CFL from celebrating its annual championship week.
The league announced Thursday it will be staging Grey Cup Unite from Nov. 16-22. Many of the events that are usually held during Grey Cup week will be presented virtually.
In August, the CFL cancelled the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Grey Cup game was scheduled to be held in Regina on Nov. 22 but the iconic trophy won't be presented for the first time since 1919.
Hamilton is scheduled to host the 2021 Grey Cup, with Regina slated to stage the 2022 contest.
"It's an acknowledgment that our fans are connected to our league and want to feel that connection," CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said. "We have a place on the Canadian sports calendar and our biggest stage for that is Grey Cup week . . . it's important we continue to emphasize we own that week.
"That's the CFL's week, that's Grey Cup week and it's Canada's week. We're excited to have a chance to talk to our fans and get them engaged. I'm hoping we're getting to the back end of this pandemic to start to look forward to the future."
Some of the events planned include:
- A fan state of the league. Ambrosie will kick off the week with a virtual town hall Nov. 16. Ambrosie hopes to be in position to provide fans with an update on the league's future plans.
- A virtual summit will be held Nov. 17 to examine key issues currently facing Canadian businesses. Participants will include Bruce Croxon, Managing Partner, Round 13, and former Dragon's Den investor; Girish Ganesan; Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, TD Bank Group, and Head of Talent, TD Bank; and Trinh Tham, Senior Vice-President, Marketing and E-Commerce, Harry Rosen.
- All nine CFL head coaches will be showcased in groups of three in the head coaches' conference Nov. 18. Also that day, the CFL and CFL Players' Association will participate in a roundtable featuring alumni, coaching personnel and current players and discuss their experiences with prejudice and discrimination.
- Instead of the traditional player awards, the CFL will unveil its all-decade team (2010-2020) on Nov. 19. The league will also make some of its top performers available to media that day.
More events and details will be revealed leading up to Grey Cup Unite. Those wishing updates or to register to attend can do so by visiting GreyCupUnite.ca.
"We went through Labour Day with a lot of people missing that Labour Day feeling," Ambrosie said. "We said we weren't going to let that happen again, we're not going to let Grey Cup pass without a chance to bring people together and share that spirit that's such an important part of Grey Cup week.
"I'm excited about it, quite frankly, and I think CFL fans will be excited about it as well."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 29, 2020