- The 2017 Canada West season kicks off Friday night with three conference games
- Calgary tops the annual pre-season coaches poll, as the defending Hardy Cup champs earned four first-place votes
- UBC slots in behind the Dinos, as the Thunderbirds earned two first-place nods from the conference's six coaches
EDMONTON – The march to the 81st Hardy Cup begins Friday night, as the 2017 Canada West football season opens with a trio of games.
Entering the season as the pre-season favourites are the Calgary Dinos, who open 2017 against their provincial rivals the Alberta Golden Bears in Edmonton (7 p.m. MDT – Foote Field).
Calgary earned four of a possible five first-place votes in the annual CW coaches poll to finish with 24 points. Slotting in just behind the Dinos are the UBC Thunderbirds, who finished two points back in the race for early bragging rights and open on the road against the Regina Rams (7 p.m. CST – Mosaic Stadium).
The Dinos and T-Birds have collided in the last two Hardy Cups and are looking to become the first teams in conference history to meet three consecutive years in the CW title game.
Also expected to have a strong season are the Regina Rams, who finished third in the poll (17 points) following their 6-2 season record in 2016 that included quarterback Noah Picton claiming the Hec Crighton Award as the nation's top player.
Rounding out the poll are the Manitoba Bisons (12 points), Saskatchewan Huskies (10 points), and Alberta Golden Bears (5 points). The Bisons, who finished out of the playoff picture last season, welcome the Huskies to Winnipeg to kick off the campaign (7 p.m. CDT – Investors Group Field).
For a complete look at all six CW football teams, click here for the full CW football preview.
Watch every game this season on Canada West TV
Once again, every Canada West football game will be available on Canada West TV this season.
2017-18 passes are now available, with early bird pricing in effect until September 6. Fans who purchase an all-access or school pass will also be able to access CW football games in condensed versions, providing another viewing option for fans looking to see tomorrow's Canadian Football League stars.
2017 CW football pre-season coaches poll
Place / Team / Points (First-place votes)
- Calgary / 24 (4)
- UBC / 22 (2)
- Regina / 17
- Manitoba / 12
- Saskatchewan / 10
- Alberta / 5
NOTES: First-place vote worth 5 pts., second-place worth 4 pts. etc