CFL’s Return: 2023 Season Guide & Key Storylines

Canadian Football League. Source: Shutterstock

The 2023 CFL season is officially scheduled to be the 69th one in modern Canadian Football. It will start on June 8th and finishes on October 28th this year.

So, for you to be better prepared when the season starts, there are some tweaks and changes to need to know of.

There were some changes approved by the CFL’s board of governors, as the league announced just recently. Originally, these changes were proposed by the CFL’s rules committee, so let’s take a look at what they are exactly.


We begin with the league’s announcement that there will be some rule changes for the upcoming season. These minor changes are as follows:

  • If players handle the ball, it won’t necessarily be a point for kick-off;
  • The number of players within 2 yards of the line of scrimmage is restricted to 6 tops (keep in mind that this won’t apply if the offence is in an unbalanced line or a player moves from their first position, and it only applies on the field goals or kicked convert tries);
  • If one of the teams is penalized for holding when in possession in its goal area, safety is among the opposition’s options;
  • It will be illegal for a player or member of the team’s staff to make contact with an official. They can get ejected for this;
  • Only one player can wear 0 or 00 on their jersey, no more;
  • When a ball hits the goalpost in flight, instead of the scrimmage point being in the 25-yard line, it will be in the 30-yard line.


Moving on, with the start of this season, all teams in the CFL will have to start eight National players, instead of the 7 required in the years before.

Keep in mind that one of those players can be Nationalized American that has spent either three years with one team or has been in the CFL for five years.

These changes will surely come in handy for any punter looking to place a wager on the CFL. If you are one of those, you are always best advised to check out the odds on the CFL matches before the season starts and see where you can benefit.


Up next, we have the salary cap that brought so much attention in the Canadian football world. This is a collective agreement that sees the 2023 salary cap not exceeding $5,450,000.

This is a fixed sum and will not vary with revenue until 2024. In that line, the minimum any player in the CFL can make is now set at $71,000.

The league has shown in the past that it is very strict when it comes to imposing these rules. There were big fines for teams who didn’t adhere to salary cap rules in 2022, so anyone breaking the rules this year can expect the same treatment.

Player’s Health and Safety

Besides the above-mentioned changes, the league announced that there are new health and safety measures. These measures are introduced to increase players’ well-being, and they go as follows:

  • All defensive linemen, running backs and linebackers will have to wear a guardian cap in training camps and contact practices;
  • Teams will now need to have medical tents on the sidelines to assess players during the game;
  • All the personnel in the stadium will need to have a meeting before games to align on medical processes if an issue arises in the game;
  • Additional medical training was done in the off-season;
  • The league continues to collaborate with universities to understand and use technologies in the prevention and rehabilitation of player injuries.

Make Sure to Watch Preseason Games

You can get very valuable information about the 2023 CFL season if you watch the first preseason game of any team.

The logic here is very simple – this game can be a launching pad for plenty of players in the teams. Some teams will decide to play the starters in the second game ahead of the season, so you will get a general idea of what to pay close attention to.

If fringe players do get the chance to impress in the first preseason game, they have to take full advantage of it to have a shout for a key role during the season.