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A Look At Some Key Dates Ahead In The 2020 Offseason

With the lower mainland getting its always adventurous dusting of winter snow over the weekend, we can’t help but get excited about the upcoming BC Lions season. I mean hey, it can very well be similar outdoors in Regina for the 108th Grey Cup in late November. That being said there is still plenty of work to be done in order for the Lions to be representing the West Division in the big game for the first time in nearly a decade. The offseason always brings its share of exciting dates on the calendar. Here are a few key events to mark on your calendar:

Tuesday, February 11th- Free Agency Begins

The frenzy officially gets underway at NOON Pacific time. With upwards of 30 players on expiring contracts and surely a list of those on other teams they would love to target should they become available, GM Ed Hervey and his brass will once again be busy in their quest to improve this Lions roster. Last year resulted in prized addition Mike Reilly plus a few other key players at different positions. The end result was a 5-13 record but Hervey spoke with Chris O’Leary from at last week’s league meetings in Blue Mountain, Ontario and was adamant this Lions team should be an attractive option for those looking for a change in address.

Thursday, March 26th- Saturday, March 28th- CFL National Combine

The University of Toronto will once again be centre stage when the country’s top eligible draft prospects show their skills in front of general managers, coaches and scouts for all nine CFL teams. The national Combine will be preceded by regional combines in Toronto (March 12th), Montreal (March 13th) and Edmonton (March 20th). For a second straight year, there will also be a strong global representation of players participating in hopes of landing on a CFL roster in 2020. The top players from each European Combine will be selected to take part in Toronto in late March. The global participation is all part of Commissioner Randy Ambrosie’s CFL 2.0 initiative which is designed to expand the CFL’s presence in international markets.

Related: 2020 CFL Global Combine Schedule

Thursday, April 16th- CFL Global Draft

Coming on the heels of the league’s second annual Mexico City Combine on March 12th and 13th, the CFL’s nine clubs will take part in a draft for Global players with a slight tweak compared to 2019 when there was a separate draft for players from Mexico and Europe.

The Lions selected receivers Fernando Richarte (pictured below) and Gerardo Alvarez plus defensive lineman Octavio Gonzales in last year’s Mexico Draft and later took receiver Benjamin Plu in the European Draft.

The CFL will soon announce an exact format and number of rounds for the 2020 Global Draft.

Thursday, April 30th- CFL Canadian Draft

Always a very important day on the offseason calendar, the quest to beef up on young Canadian content goes down on the final day in April.

As it stands now, the Lions hold nine selections

Round 1, 3rd overall
Round 2, 12th overall
Round 3, 21st overall
Round 4, 29th overall
Round 5, 38th overall
Round 5, 41st overall** pick acquired along with Justin Renfrow in trade with Calgary 
Round 6, 47th overall
Round 7, 56th overall
Round 8, 65th overall

Hervey, Canadian Scouting director Geroy Simon and Director of Football Operations Neil McEvoy will look to repeat the success of 2019 when four of their draft picks who broke camp with the team- Noah Robinson, Hakeem Johnson, Mario Villamizar and Jamel Lyles- all suited up in multiple games.

Wednesday, May 13th- Friday, May 15th- Mini-Camp, Kamloops

First-year Lions will take part in three days of on-field work at Hillside Stadium, site of BC Lions training camp for the eleventh straight season. It will be a great opportunity for the coaching staff to not only evaluate all of the young talent brought in over this offseason but work together as a brand new unit for the first time on this Grey Cup mission.

Saturday, May 16th- Veteran Players Report To Kamloops

All hands will be on deck once the weekend hits with practices beginning the following day on the Thompson Rivers University campus. The first live game action goes on Saturday, May 30th with a trip to Edmonton.

Full 2020 Game Schedule can be seen HERE.

Matt Baker: