There is no better way to celebrate Canada Day than with the CFL, and fans from coast to coast will be tuning in Friday when the Edmonton Elks take on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Tim Hortons Field.
Outside of the Grey Cup, there is nothing more Canadian than football on the nation’s birthday, and it’s an especially special occasion for the Elks, who will be playing on July 1 for just the fourth time in franchise history.
Here’s a look back at the Green and Gold’s previous three Canada Day games.
1995 – Edmonton 45, Toronto 23
In the season-opening game for both teams, Edmonton sunk the Argos before more than 27,000 fans on a wet Canada Day matinee at Commonwealth Stadium.
Making his debut in Green and Gold, quarterback Kerwin Bell ran for two touchdowns and completed a 72-yard TD pass to Lucius Floyd, who also had two rushing TDs. Edmonton fullback Michael Soles also found the endzone on a one-yard carry.
Edmonton had at least one touchdown and outscored the Argos in all four quarters. Running back Reggie Barnes led the way for Toronto with a pair of rushing touchdowns.
2003 – Winnipeg 14, Edmonton 12
Conditions befitting of a prairie summer day greeted the Green and Gold for their first time playing away from home on July 1, against the host Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Canad Inns Stadium.
With temperatures hitting 30 Celsius and winds gusting well over 50 kilometres-an-hour, the teams engaged in a defensive battle, with neither side getting into the endzone until Winnipeg’s Milt Stegall scored the game-winning touchdown on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Khari Jones in the fourth quarter.
Edmonton kicker Sean Fleming booted three field goals and added a single. The Green and Gold also recorded a safety. Quarterback Ricky Ray passed 185 yards and ran for a then career-high 60 yards.
While the loss dropped Edmonton to 1-2, the Green and Gold would win 12 of their next 14 and ultimately go on to capture the 2003 Grey Cup championship.
2006 – Winnipeg 46, Edmonton 10
The rematch of the Canada Day Classic from three years prior didn’t go the way of the Green and Gold, who were outscored 46-3 after taking an early 7-0 lead on the game’s opening drive with a QB sneak by Ray for the touchdown.
Winnipeg erupted for 24 points in the second quarter, when Bombers QB Kevin Glenn threw three touchdown passes, including two to Craig Brazzell, to take a 29-10 lead into halftime. The Bombers put the game away with 17 unanswered points in the fourth.
Despite the scoreboard, Ray had a big day under centre for Edmonton, throwing for 352 yards, including a 69-yard competition to Derrell Mitchell, who led the Green and Gold with six receptions totalling 161 yards. Green and Gold greats Jason Tucker and Ed Hervey also caught six passes apiece.
The Elks will look to win on Canada Day for the first time in 27 years on Friday. Hamilton, meanwhile, is seeking the first July 1 win in franchise history, as the Ti-Cats are 0-4 all-time on this national holiday.