December 7, 2022

Stampeders cancel outdoor practice due to poor air quality

The Calgary Stampeders cancelled outdoor practice Monday because of smoke from forest fires. The city’s…

The Calgary Stampeders cancelled outdoor practice Monday because of smoke from forest fires.

The city’s air quality health index was eight on a scale of one to 10 and thus deemed high risk for outdoor activities.

There were 64 active fires burning in southeastern B.C., as well as another four west and northwest of Calgary on Monday.

Rain was forecasted for late Monday and Tuesday, so the Stampeders may get back on McMahon Stadium turf Tuesday under clearer skies.

Looking to rebound from an opening week loss at home to the Toronto Argonauts, the Stampeders were held to three field goals in a 15-9 loss to the B.C. Lions on Thursday.

Calgary had trouble all game generating any offence against the Lions and had one last chance to win the game on the final play, but quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell couldn’t find an open receiver in the end zone on his desperation toss from midfield.

The Stampeders hadn’t lost two straight games to start a season since 2009.

Calgary (0-2) are at home to the Montreal Alouettes on Friday.

Leg injury could force Stamps’ QB to sidelines 

The Stampeders could be minus their veteran quarterback when they host the Montreal Alouettes on Friday.

Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson said Mitchell’s presence under centre is “definitely up in doubt.” Mitchell reportedly suffered a leg injury in Calgary’s season-opening 23-20 loss to the Toronto Argonauts on Aug. 7 and played through it in the club’s 15-9 loss to the B.C. Lions on Thursday night.

The absence of Mitchell, twice the CFL’s outstanding player, would leave Calgary with Canadian Michael O’Connor and American rookie Jake Maier at quarterback.

“We let multiple guys take reps (Monday),” Dickenson said. “I still think I want to have Mike and Jake doing everything they can to be ready to play, both of them.

“I’ll make that decision as the week goes on but (it’s) certainly in doubt.”

Mitchell, 31, has completed 44-of-73 passes (60.3 per cent) for 542 yards with one touchdown and five interceptions so far this season. Four of the picks came against B.C.

Dickenson wouldn’t divulge the nature of Mitchell’s injury.

“He had it from Week 1,” Dickenson said. “He was able to play and practise, it’s not like it’s something he hasn’t dealt with.

“I’m hoping not [injury isn’t long-term] and I’m really not getting told that. If it’s long-term you’re going to see a six-game. If it’s week by week . . . then we’ll just play it out.”

If Mitchell can’t go, O’Connor would present the more experienced option. The 25-year-old Ottawa native spent his first CFL season with Toronto in 2019, suiting up in nine games and seeing action in two.

The six-foot-five, 223-pound O’Connor has completed 15-of-25 passes for 173 yards and a TD in the CFL.

Should O’Connor get the start against Montreal (1-0), he’d be the second Canadian to open a CFL contest this season. Nathan Rourke, a Victoria native who grew up in Oakville, Ont., started the B.C. Lions’ season opening 33-29 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Aug. 6.