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June 18, 2018

GAME PREVIEW: HAM @ CGY

Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Calgary Stampeders
McMahon Stadium
Saturday, June 16
Kickoff: 5:00 p.m. MT
Radio: 770 CHQR, Sirius XM 167
TV: TSN, ESPN 2

This one counts.

The Stampeders open the regular-season Saturday, when they host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

“We definitely feel the urgency of this is for real,” said head coach Dave Dickenson. “This goes on the record books, whereas pre-season is more of an evaluation.”

The Red & White are heading into the regular-season with momentum after dumping the Saskatchewan Roughriders 39-12 at New Mosaic Stadium in their final pre-season action on June 1. It was a dominating performance, with the Stampeders leading 23-3 at halftime, a gap the Roughriders couldn’t close.

However, the home team looks a lot different now than they did last week after 23 cuts were made to finalize the roster. And now, the 2018 Stampeders are ready to show fans what they can bring this season.

“We’ve got some good talent out here,” said Dickenson. “I believe we’re going to be a team that’s fast, physical, and I want us to be a fundamentally sound team that takes care of the football.

“Ultimately we’re very young, we’ve got a lot of new players, and there will be some new faces. But hopefully the standard of Stampeder football is the same.”

Heading into Saturday, Dickenson explains he hasn’t changed much at practice this week. Prepping for the first game of the season always presents challenges.

“The hard thing is you’ve played you’re own defence day-after-day, and now you’re going up against a completely different group of guys that you don’t have a lot of film on,” said Dickenson.

“A lot of times in week one it can be a little bit choppy, you want to make sure you really lock into your game plans.”

One guy who is familiar with the opposition is defensive back Emanuel Davis. The new recruit previously spent five seasons with the Ti-Cats before the Stamps signed him as a free agent on Feb. 13.

“I’m expecting their best shot, it’s been a long time since they’ve won at McMahon Stadium,” Davis said of his former club. “I know they’re going to come in here hungry, and wanting to win. We’re going to give it our best shot to keep them from getting it.

“I feel good, glad to be with the guys, glad to be in the locker-room, glad to put the pads on, just hope we can make plays and go out here and put on a show.”

Saturday brings two fresh teams, a new campaign, and a lot of determination.

There’s a lot that’s changed, but Dickenson anticipates Stamps fans will stick to their regular M.O. – and show the Ti-Cats what home-field advantage is all about.

“I love having the first game at home,” he said. “I’m hoping the fans pour into the stadium, and support our guys and what type of team we are.”