CFL and fans miss out on treasured Labour Day Classic

By Cole Fortner, and 660 News Staff

CALGARY (660 News) – It’s a day that usually brings football fans together across Canada, but this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CFL’s Labour Day Classics will not be happening.

The Labour Day Classic has been a part of Canadian football since 1949, pre-dating the CFL by nine years, and it’s the first time that the treasured game has ever been cancelled. It along with all matches being cancelled in early August.

The Labour Classic, is a staple point of the CFL as it marks the start of the final push to the playoffs, and it features some of the league’s biggest rivalries.

Since 1982 the majority of the rivalries have stayed consistent, igniting the joy for fans for the weekend.

The BC Lions, Montreal Alouettes, Ottawa RedBlacks and the former Ottawa Rough Riders have taken turns over the past few years on playing in the Labour Day Classic against one another.

The rivalry weekend usually therefore gets started with the Saskatchewan Roughriders hosting the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on the Sunday.

The Riders have won 37 out of 55 of the meetings including the last three against the Bombers.

However for Bomber and Rider fans, the true disappointment for the season will be missing out on their game that follows the Labour Day Classic – The Banjo Bowl.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders hosted a concert for their fans on “Roughrider Day” in place of the labour classic.

In Ontario the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have dominated the Toronto Argonauts during the Labour day meetings, despite the teams missing five games over the last 30 years.

The Ti-Cats lead the series with a record of 35-13-1, with the tie coming in 2004.

The final match-up of the week, has been the most intense of the Labour day Classic meetings.

“There’s nothing more fun then being in a rivalry, like Calgary against Edmonton, with the Stampeders and the Edmonton Football team, where A, both teams have been very good for a long time and also I just gets the competitive juices flowing,” said Peter Klein of Sportnet 960 the Fan.

WATCH: A year without the Labour Day Classic

Out of the three big rivalry games the Battle of Alberta is the only one that has been played in both cities. While Calgary has been the primary host, Edmonton hosted three of the first five meetings.

Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi took to twitter to mention the absence of the annual matchup, and instead Calgarians are sacrificing to keep each other safe.

The Battle of Alberta meeting has also served has the Stampeders military appreciation game. The celebration of members of the Canadian Armed Forces is a special addition to the tense game on the field.

In 2019 the Stampeders won their eighth straight meeting, breaking Edmonton’s record of seven, and even up the all time series at 29-29-1. The tie coming back in 1978.

With the series being even, in 2021, Calgary will be looking to take their first lead in the series since they won the first Battle of Alberta Labour day Classic in 1949.

Teams across the league have posted to their social medias’ with memories of the treasured weekend.

The CFL and the Labour Day Classic are looking to return in 2021.

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