The CFL season starts for real on Labour Day.
At least, that’s what many men who’ve played or coached in the league will tell you.
Each game during the regular season is important, but they become increasingly crucial when the leaves begin to turn colour and the temperatures start to cool down.
Welcome to Labour Day, the time of year in the CFL when the contenders separate themselves from the pretenders.
For the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the 1-and-6 outfit is trying to prove to themselves and the league that they belong in the contender category.
Beating the visiting Toronto Argonauts in Monday’s Labour Day Classic, which just so happens to be the inaugural game at Tim Hortons Field, will go a long way in helping Hamilton contend deep into the fall months.
It was announced Sunday night that Tim Hortons has received the green light to host the game.
You can listen to the Ticats-Argos clash, their first meeting of the 2014 season, on AM900 CHML.
Our coverage begins with the Frisco’s Pregame Show at noon and culminates with a special two hour edition of The 5th Quarter.
Ticats football on CHML is powered by Halton Honda of Burlington and Sterling Honda of Hamilton.
The last time these two teams met was in the East Final on November 17 at Rogers Centre, a game in which the Tiger-Cats outscored 19-0 in the second half en route to a 36-24 victory.
Hamilton enters this year’s Classic on a three game losing streak while Toronto, in first place in the East Division at 3-and-6, have been blown out in their last two contests.
The Argos are also 1-and-4 on the road this season and continue to deal with key injuries to receivers Chad Owens, Andre Durie, John Chiles and Spencer Watt.
CLICK HERE for Toronto’s depth chart.
As for the Cats, quarterback Zach Collaros will make just his third start of the season after suffering a concussion and a back injury in Week 2 against Edmonton.
Hamilton has injury woes of their own and will likely not have running back C.J. Gable on the field.
CLICK HERE for Hamilton’s depth chart.
Toronto QB Ricky Ray is on the cusp of joining the CFL’s 50K club, needing just 90 yards to reach 50,000 career passing yards.
Ray would also become the youngest quarterback in league history to achieve the milestone, 10 days ahead of all-time CFL passing yards leader Anthony Calvillo.
Since 1950, the Cats have dominated the Argos on Labour Day, winning 29 of their 43 meetings.
The Boatmen have won 13 Labour Day games against the Ticats and one game ended in a 30-30 tie in 2004.
Hamilton is 44-16-and-3 all-time on Labour Day: Toronto (29-13-1), Montreal (8-0-1), Ottawa (5-2), Winnipeg (1-0), Edmonton (0-0-1), B.C. (1-0), Baltimore (0-1).
The Tiger-Cats will also be wearing their 2014 Reebok signature uniforms for the first time this season vs. Toronto.
Two notable former Ticats have been released by their NFL teams.
The Chicago Bears have cut ties with receiver/returner Chris Williams while the Miami Dolphins have parted with running back/returner Marcus Thigpen.
Both of them can still join other NFL teams but returning to the CFL is also a possibility.
Thigpen would be a true free agent, able to sign with any Canadian team, while the Ticats still have the CFL rights to Williams.
Tiger-Cats head coach and general manager Kent Austin told the media Saturday that they would be interested in having Williams back in the fold despite the way the two sides parted.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Because the Ticats-Argos and McMaster-Guelph football games are being played at the same time, AM900 CHML will broadcast the CFL game on the radio while the OUA game will be broadcast online at www.900chml.com.
Labour Day Classic Records:
Hamilton longest unbeaten streak – 18 (1969 to 1986)
Hamilton longest win streak – 12 (1969 to 1980)
Hamilton Most Point Scored Single Game – 56 (1988, Ham. 56, Tor. 28)
Hamilton Fewest Points Scored Single Game – 3 (1997, Tor. 46, Ham. 3)
Hamilton Most Points Allowed Single Game – 46 (1997, Tor. 46, Ham. 3)
Hamilton Fewest Points Allowed Single Game – 1 (1963, Ham 7, Tor. 1)
Hamilton Largest Margin of Victory – 35 (1986, Ham. 42, Tor. 7)
Hamilton Largest Margin of Defeat – 43 (1997, Tor. 46, Ham. 3)
Most Points Both Teams Single Game – 84 (1988, Ham. 56, Tor. 28)
Fewest Points Scored Both Teams Single Game – 8 (1963, Ham 7, Tor. 1)
Ticats’ All-Time Labour Day Results:
Date Opponent Result
Sep. 3rd, 2012 Toronto 33-30L
Sep. 5th, 2011 Montreal 44-21W
Sep. 6th, 2010 Toronto 28-13W
Sep. 7th, 2009 Toronto 34-15W
Sep. 1st, 2008 Toronto 34-31L
Sep. 3rd, 2007 Toronto 32-14L
Sep. 4th, 2006 Toronto 40-6L
Sep. 5th, 2005 Toronto 33-30W
Sep. 6th, 2004 Toronto 30-30T
Sep. 1st, 2003 Toronto 19-11L
Sep. 2nd, 2002 Toronto 22-14W
Sep. 3rd, 2001 Toronto 26-13W
Sep. 4th, 2000 Toronto 42-12W
Sep. 6th, 1999 Toronto 35-28W
Sep. 7th, 1998 Toronto 26-7W
Sep. 1st, 1997 Toronto 46-3L
Sep. 2nd, 1996 Toronto 38-7L
Sep. 2nd, 1995* Baltimore 41-14L
Sep. 5th, 1994 Toronto 31-19L
Sep. 6th, 1993 Toronto 23-21W
Sep. 7th, 1992 Toronto 27-24W
Sep. 2nd, 1991 Toronto 48-24W
Sep. 3rd, 1990 Ottawa 40-17L
Sep. 4th, 1989 Toronto 23-18W
Sep. 5th, 1988 Toronto 56-28W
Sep. 7th, 1987 Toronto 25-19L
Sep. 1st, 1986 Montreal 42-7W
Sep. 2nd, 1985 Montreal 19-16W
Sep. 3rd, 1984 Montreal 30-11W
Sep. 5th, 1983 Montreal 35-30W
Sep. 6th, 1982 Montreal 28-9W
Sep. 7th, 1981 Edmonton 34-34T
Sep. 1st, 1980 Toronto 23-2W
Sep. 3rd, 1979 Ottawa 16-9W
Sep. 4th, 1978 Toronto 19-16W
Sep. 5th, 1977 Ottawa 33-18L
Sep. 6th, 1976 Winnipeg 17-15W
Sep. 1st, 1975 Toronto 20-11W
Sep. 2nd, 1974 Ottawa 11-10W
Sep. 3rd, 1973 B.C. 44-24W
Sep. 4th, 1972 Ottawa 17-16W
Sep. 6th, 1971 Toronto 30-17W
Sep. 7th, 1970 Montreal 17-12W
Sep. 1st, 1969 Ottawa 27-22W
Sep. 2nd, 1968 Toronto 18-15L
Sep. 4th, 1967 Toronto 12-9W
Sep. 5th, 1966 Ottawa 16-12W
Sep. 6th, 1965 Montreal 17-2W
Sep. 7th, 1964 Toronto 24-8W
Sep. 2nd, 1963 Toronto 7-1W
Sep. 3rd, 1962 Montreal 25-25T
Sep. 4th, 1961 Toronto 21-19W
Sep. 5th, 1960 Toronto 32-21 L
Sep. 7th, 1959 Toronto 37-3W
Sep. 1st, 1958 Toronto 31-24 W
Sep. 2nd, 1957 Toronto 35-8 W
Sep. 3rd, 1956 Toronto 31-21W
Sep. 5th, 1955 Toronto 37-12W
Sep. 6th, 1954 Toronto 21-7L
Sep. 7th, 1953 Toronto 14-12W
Sep. 1st, 1952 Toronto 33-13L
Sep. 3rd, 1951 Toronto 27-6W
Sep. 4th, 1950 Toronto 13-6W
* – Game was played on the Saturday of Labour Day Weekend.