Wave of change hits CFL in 2014

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Sports -

A new team, new sta­di­ums and new ri­val­ries are just some of the things that await foot­ball fans, with the 2014 CFL sea­son promis­ing more changes than any in re­cent years.

The sea­son just fin­ished may have had a sto­ry­book end­ing for the Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers, who won their fourth Grey Cup on home turf, but it was a chal­lenge for many other teams in the CFL.

The Win­nipeg Blue Bombers lived up to their name, bomb­ing big time in their spiffy new sta­dium as they went 3-15. Even In­vestors Group Field showed cracks, very lit­er­ally, and less than a year af­ter it opened, ren­o­va­tions are tak­ing place to the open-air press box so the city can at some point soon host a Grey Cup.

De­spite some record­set­ting per­for­mances from quar­ter­back Ricky Ray, the Toronto Arg­onauts stum­bled on their path to earn a re­turn trip to the Grey Cup.

And the Montreal Alou­ettes got a peek at life with­out vet­eran quar­ter­back An­thony Calvillo and it wasn’t pretty.

But to­mor­row is another day and here are a few things ex­pected when the 2014 sea­son gets un­der­way:

Wel­come black: The Ot­tawa RedBlacks will re­turn the CFL to the na­tion’s cap­i­tal. The CFL has been an eight-team league since the Ot­tawa Rene­gades sus­pended op­er­a­tions be­fore the 2006 sea­son.

Do I hear 10? The CFL is stay­ing Cana­dian this time, but it doesn’t want to stop at nine teams. The league is look­ing for a 10th host city, per­haps Monc­ton or Halifax.

Go west young Blue: The re­turn of Ot­tawa to the CFL al­lows the Win­nipeg Blue Bombers to move back to their his­toric base in the CFL West Divi­sion.

New sta­di­ums: Be­sides the RedBlacks’ re­mod­elled sta­dium at Lans­downe, the Hamil­ton Tiger-Cats plan to chris­ten Tim Hor­tons Field in 2014, af­ter spend­ing a vagabond con­struc­tion sea­son as ten­ants of the Univer­sity of Guelph. The Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers are ex­pect­ing their new $278-mil­lion digs to be foot­ball-ready by 2017.

New coaches: The league will see some first­time new head coaches in 2014. Ed­mon­ton and Win­nipeg both have new coaches in 2014 af­ter fin­ish­ing sev­enth and eighth in league stand­ings in 2013. For­mer Arg­onauts de­fen­sive co-or­di­na­tor Chris Jones landed his first CFL head coach­ing job in Ed­mon­ton in late Novem­ber and the Bombers then tabbed Ar­gos spe­cial-teams co-or­di­na­tor Mike O’Shea for his first top spot. The Ot­tawa RedBlacks picked Cal­gary de­fen­sive co-or­di­na­tor Rick Campbell to lead their de­but in the league.

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