'We're back': Saskatchewan Roughriders react to CFL return to play
Rider Nation could be returning to Mosaic Stadium in August after the CFL announced the 2021 season is slated to start on Aug. 5.
The CFL’s board of governors approved the start date and 14-game schedule Monday.
In a letter to fans posted on the team’s website, Saskatchewan Roughriders’ president and CEO Craig Reynolds declared that the “football drought is finally over.”
Reynolds said he anticipates the return to the field will be emotional for everyone.
“It’s just going to mean so much to our fans and I’ve just thought about them constantly,” said Reynolds during a press conference.
“I’m just looking forward to being back in the stadium with them and celebrating with them.”
Reynolds said the Riders have some unfinished business to attend to this season after failing to book their ticket to the Grey Cup in November 2019.
Players will arrive in the province in a few weeks and training camp will start in Regina on July 10 after a quarantine and testing period, said Reynolds.
Wide receiver Shaq Evans shared his excitement on Twitter. Evans said it’s been a tough year, but the league’s return is a blessing.
To everyone involved in bringing this great news today thank you! This has been a tough year and a half but hearing today that we will have a @CFL season is just a blessing!! Can’t wait to take the field in front of rider nation I missed you guys so much! LFG!!!— Shaq Evans (@shaq_evans1) June 14, 2021
In an interview with CTV News, Evans said the unknown has been one of the hardest parts of the year-and-a-half-long off-season, so having a date to get back on the field is an exciting development.
“The main feeling would just be thankfulness. I’d just be thankful that I’m back out there and able to do what I love in front of some of the best fans in the world,” said Evans.
In the off-season, Evans used his Twitter to encourage fans to go get their COVID-19 vaccine, tweeting he had talks with teammates, staff and medical professionals about the safety and effectiveness of the shot.
Me and other teammates and staff of @sskroughriders had a great talk about vaccines and their safeness and effectiveness with a top medical professional. It gave me less anxiety about getting my second dose! And I’m sure it alleviated some concerns of other players!— Shaq Evans (@shaq_evans1) May 8, 2021
Reynolds also encouraged fans to get their vaccine in his letter Monday. He said the club is in regular communication with the province about what a return to play at Mosaic Stadium will look like.
“We want you back in the stadium. It’s you, Rider Nation, that makes when we do so very special,” wrote Reynolds.
Capacity restrictions will be lifted once the province enters phase three of its reopening plan, which will be triggered when 70 per cent of people age 18 and older receive their first dose of the vaccine.
The 14-game schedule is expected to be released Tuesday.