B.C. Lions heading east hoping to make history
There have been a lot of early mornings for the B.C. Lions this week.
Practices and team meetings were bumped up in an attempt to get players working on eastern time while they trained at the club’s facility in suburban Vancouver.
The modifications are simply part of being a crossover team, said Lions head coach Wally Buono.
“I don’t think playing in the east will have any effect on their body clocks because we’ve turned their body clocks so they’re more on eastern time,” he said after practice on Thursday.
The Lions (9-9) will battle the host Hamilton Tiger-Cats (8-10) on Sunday in the CFL’s Eastern semifinal.
The CFL’s crossover rule started in 1996, and comes into effect if the fourth-place team from one division has more points than the third-place team from the other division the Lions are the 11th crossover team, with all coming from the West.
A crossover team never has reached the Grey Cup game, though some have come close.
Last year, the Saskatchewan Roughriders beat the Ottawa Redblacks in the Eastern semi, then lost a tight battle with the Toronto Argonauts in the division final.
The Argos went on to capture the championship, beating the Calgary Stampeders 27-24.
This year marks the fifth time B.C. has clinched the league’s crossover spot, sending the squad across the country to kick off the playoffs.
It’s also the third year in a row that a western team has headed east in the post-season.
Buono said his players have been good about making the necessary adjustments.
The team flew out to Hamilton on Thursday afternoon, looking to get in as much practice time as possible in unfamiliar territory.
Everyone on the team knows the importance of a playoff game, he said.