TORONTO (CIS) – The road to the 52nd ArcelorMittal Dofasco Vanier Cup begins this weekend as football training camps open up across the country.
Three of the four CIS conferences hit the gridiron Aug. 12-14, with the four AUS schools beginning preparations for the new season Aug. 26-27.
The 2016 preseason slate features 10 games involving 18 of the 27 CIS teams, stretching from Aug. 20-Sept.3, including two neutral site matchups. In a historic moment for Canadian university football, the defending Vanier Cup champion UBC Thunderbirds will host the Manitoba Bisons on Aug. 26 in the Thunder Bowl in Langford, B.C. – the first-ever CIS football contest to be staged on Vancouver Island. The game is set for Westhills Stadium, home of the Canadian Junior Football League's (CJFL) Westshore Rebels. All proceeds will benefit the Rebels, Greater Victoria Minor Football, and the UBC Football Island Scholarship Fund.
The day before, the Calgary Dinos and Regina Rams will play for the second year in row at the Methanex Bowl in Medicine Hat, Alta.
The OUA and RSEQ hook up for four inter-conference exhibition matchups Aug. 20-21, with Sherbrooke hosting York, Carleton visiting Laval, Laurier making a trip to Vanier Cup finalist Montreal, and Queen's battling McGill. Waterloo will also face Southwestern Ontario rival Windsor.
In AUS, StFX welcomes Mount Allison in a rematch of the AUS Championship on Sept. 2, while Acadia and Saint Mary's clash on Sept. 3.
The remaining nine schools – Alberta, Saskatchewan, OUA champion Guelph, McMaster, Ottawa, Toronto, Western, Bishop's and Concordia – are not scheduled to play in the preseason campaign.
The 2016 CIS football season kicks off Aug. 28.
2016 CIS Football training camp start dates
Aug. 12 – Alberta, Saskatchewan, Regina
Aug. 13 – UBC, Calgary
Aug. 14 – Bishop's, Carleton, Concordia, Guelph, Laval, Laurier, Manitoba, McGill, McMaster, Ottawa, Montreal, Queen's, Sherbrooke, Toronto, Waterloo, Western, Windsor, York
Aug. 26 – Acadia
Aug. 27 – StFX, Saint Mary's, Mount Allison
2016 CIS Football preseason schedule (all times ET)
York @ Sherbrooke, 1:00 PM
Laurier @ Montreal, 1:00 PM
Waterloo @ Windsor, 4:00 PM
Carleton @ Laval, 7:00 PM
Queen's @McGill, 4:00 PM
Regina vs. Calgary (Medicine Hat, Alta.), 8:30 PM
Manitoba vs. UBC (Langford, B.C.), 10:00 PM
First CIS football game on Vancouver Island
Mount Allison @ StFX, 5:00 PM
Acadia @ Saint Mary's, 1:00 PM