The GIST’s Guide to the CFL & the Ottawa REDBLACKS


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Guess who’s back, back again? The CFL season and the Ottawa REDBLACKS of course! This season, Ottawa is looking to bounce back after losing in the Grey Cup Final last year. However, this year’s team is very different than last year’s (which isn’t a bad thing!). Here’s what you need to know for the 2019 season.

redblacks standing on field

Before getting into all of the details about Ottawa, let’s cover off some logistics:

What division are the REDBLACKS in?: The East Division. While they’ll play against every team in the CFL (there are eight other teams), they’re competing against the other teams in their conference — the Toronto Argonauts, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Montreal Alouettes — to make it into the playoffs.   

The top three teams in each conference make the postseason… unless the crossover rule applies.

How long is the CFL season?: The season starts mid-June and the Grey Cup is played in November. Yes, they play football outside in November. So frigid we get shivers just thinking about it.

What nights are games played on?: Mostly Thursdays and Saturdays. Here’s the REDBLACKS’ schedule.

Where do the REDBLACKS play?: Downtown Ottawa at TD Place.

If I can’t make it to the game, how do I watch?: The majority of CFL games will be aired on TSN. But, it’s also super fun to watch games with a crew out at a bar. Here are some of our fave places to catch a game:

  • Local: this bar is located literally beside TD place in Lansdowne. It gets busy v. fast so be sure to head down there early for a pre-game drink (and post-game party). Bonus: when it’s warm enough, Local has an awesome patio.

  • Hometown: this sports bar is the place to be to watch the game. It has an awesome vibe for all ages and all types of sports fan. Bonus: Hometown has shuttles going to and from the game too.

  • The Senate: Just because the name of this bar is more related to your Ottawa Senators doesn’t mean it’s not a great place to watch a REDBLACKS game. This sports bar is located in the Glebe and is just a short walk away from the stadium.

Anything else to know?: Of course there is. To get up to speed on football more generally, check out our Guide to Football.

Now, let’s get into the deets on Ottawa.

Redblacks doing a fun celebration

The Deets

Ottawa did well last year, right?: They did very well. Your Ottawa REDBLACKS made it all the way to the Grey Cup but lost to the Calgary Stampeders. Welp.

I’ve heard there’s been a lot of changes: Ottawa’s offence saw a lot of change in the offseason losing five key players and their offensive coordinator. Fans will have to adjust to fresh faces such as running back (RB) Mossis Madu leading the charge.

Who are the other new faces?: On the field, it’s Jonathon Jennings (QB), Chris Randle (DB), Caleb Holley (WR), Guillermo Villalobos (WR) and Jose Maltos (kicker). Villalobos and Maltos are both global players from Mexico.

  • On the sideline, one of the REDBLACKS’ new coaches is RB coach Joe Paopao — a former Ottawa Roughriders player QB and coach of the Ottawa Renegades.

  • Yes… Ottawa has had many a name over the years as they’ve had three different teams: first the Rough Riders, then the Renegades and now the REDBLACKS.

Okay, but who’s still on the team?: Superstar wide receiver (WR) Brad Sinopoli, Dominique Davis (QB), Antoine Pruneau (DB), Lewis Ward (kicker) and Jonathan Rose (DB).


Fun facts about the REDBLACKS

  • New WR Nate Behar was a star for the Carleton Ravens.

  • Speaking of Carleton, there are four former Ravens on the team (Behar, Justin Howell, Dan Omara, Kene Onyeka) and four players from the University of Ottawa (Sinopoli, Lattanzio, Gillanders, Ward)

  • Offensive lineman Stephane Nembot is friends with Toronto Raptor Pascal Siakam. Both of these guys are from Cameroon. Rumour has it Nembot is just as “spicy” as Spicy P.

What else should I know about the REDBLACKS season?:

That there’s A LOT of fun to be had both inside and outside the stadium in terms of fan experiences.

female fan cheering for ottawa redblacks

The RNation Block Party

For every home game this season, the REDBLACKS are hosting a pre-game party, and rumour has it, the RNation Block Parties will be the biggest and best pre-game parties the REDBLACKS have ever hosted!

  • Why? Because there’s going to be a live DJ, drinks for sale and plenty of games to play. And admission? It’s completely free.

  • The party will take place in Aberdeen Square two hours before kickoff for weekday games, and two and a half hours before for weekend games.

RNation Puppies

The REDBLACKS are sponsoring a litter with Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind for the 2019 season (omg!).

  • The litter of guide pups will be fostered within the RNation community and one RNation pup will be in attendance at each home game. So cute we literally can’t even.

Our prediction for the season?

The REDBLACKS will make it into the postseason. What happens from there is anybody’s guess.

Redblacks coming out

That's #thegistofit


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