The Canadian Junior Football League is pleased to announce the 2017 schedule that kicks off in the BC Conference (BCFC) on Saturday July 29, 2017.
Following the BCFC kick off, both the Prairie Conference (PFC) and the Ontario Conference (OFC) will open the season on August 12th with a pair of interconferene games. The Winnipeg Rifles visit the Ottawa Sooners and the Windsor AKO Fratmen host the Edmonton Huskies
This season marks the return of the OFC who now comply with the rest of the CJFL and capping the age limit to 22.
This season also highlights six CJFL Interconference games including 10 teams from the PFC and OFC. The first two are set for August 12, then a pair on August 26th, before concluding on the weekend of September 23-24th.
The CJFL playoffs will open the weekend of October 14-15, followed by the conference championships October 21-22. With the return of the OFC, the CJFL will host a National Semi-Final game this season which will see the winner of the PFC host the winner of the BCFC on October 28. Two weeks after that game the winner will travel to Ontario and face the winner of the OFC title in the 2017 Canadian Bowl on November 11th.
Each of the Conference schedules are below:
Over the past four seasons the Kamloops Broncos have enjoyed having a talented crop of receivers, with threat of making a huge play each and every time they touch the ball.
One of those threats was Colin Mather, now a graduate of the Broncos program, after finishing the 2016 season with 36 receptions, 478 yards and five touchdowns. During his four years with the Broncos he made 63 receptions for 777 yards and scored seven touchdowns.
Now that he has graduated he takes time to reflect on this career in the CJFL. “My highlight for 2016 I would say would be the final game against Westshore on October 1st, scoring two touchdowns and making a couple catches near the end of the game to keep us driving. As for my career, I couldn't pick just one highlight, there's a few that stand out. My first year I got a fair amount of playing time being the sixth receiver off the bench that was a big milestone and goal I worked hard for being a rookie from high school. I made a big onside kick recovery that i caught in stride against Langley and returned for a few yards that led to a touchdown and scoring my first touchdown would be a few that come to mind.”
With all the teammates Mather played with during his four year career, who does he say is his favourite? “I could not say one teammate was better than the other. Throughout my career we were a close group and everyone did their part in something. My first few years I got to practice every day with Devin Csincsa and Derek Yachison who gave out tips and really showed the work ethic early it takes if you want to standout. My rookie year I had who is now the OC Jesse Neufeld really help me with the plays if I struggled, which I did, and grew my football IQ with his mental game tips. Other guys like Brody Bernier and Broden Romanovitch, during my final year they helped me in practice and in games without Dev and Yach. It was also a competition to us and we always wanted to beat the other guys in stats or with a big play. There were also the characters like Austin Semeniuk who was only there to have fun and play a game he enjoyed and when practice got hard or mentally frustrating his jokes were always good. I could never say one guy was better than the other but those are just some guys that helped me as a player throughout my career.”
The past four years have gone by in a blink of an eye for the Edmonton native who reflects on what he’ll miss the most about wearing Bronco blue and orange, “Obviously since I'm stepping away I'll miss the game. I'll miss seeing and hanging with the guys every day and doing the things a bunch of guys with free time can get up to. The Broncos players have always had a huge bond with each other. But I'll miss living in Kamloops, it's a gorgeous city and as hard as it was practicing in that heat, I'll miss the intense heat every day. Running out of the locker room on game day to the local fans cheering was a favourite too. I took it all in in my last game and enjoyed it all, I couldn't have asked for a better program to play with.”
What’s the most important lesson the 22 year old takes with him, “junior football really showed me how far hard work can get you. No matter what other people say, it's up to you and your work ethic. It's tried and true, the guys that want it succeed and junior football really opened my eyes to that.”
So what’s next for Mather? “Well by a big surprise I've decided to step away from football. I haven't really told many people the big news yet. I had University offers this year from a number of great programs but what I'm going to do and really focusing on right now is chasing after a career with the police. School was never my thing, if I got the offers last year like I did this year retiring would have never been a question. I became very interested in policing about a year ago and this winter I weighed the positive/negatives about going to school and the money side of things and I could feel my interests flipping towards calling it a career. Leaving football still seems crazy to me, I can't believe it's happening to be honest but there's a lot of great people in my life that supported me while I played football and they are still very supportive about chasing a new goal which makes the transition much easier. But there is coaching, I'm helping receivers on a midget team now, I'll hopefully be helping with a timbit team sometime this spring as well as going back to my high school to work with the Recs. The game did a lot of great things for me and it's time to take all these tips I've learned from great players and coaches and pass it on, it's a different thrill to coach but it's awesome to see kids enthusiasm to learn.”
When Mather does become a police officer one thing is certain, no-one will be able to outrun the former Kamloops Bronco and new member of the CJFL Class of 2016.
The CJFL lost a legend on Thursday with the passing of Gordon Currie.
His name has been attached to the “CJFL Coach of the Year” award for good reason.
From 1965 to 1976, Currie coached the Regina Rams football club of the Prairie Football Conference. He led the Rams to eight Manitoba-Saskatchewan Junior League championships, seven Western Canada Junior championships and six national junior titles. Then in 1975, he was named Canadian Amateur Coach of the Year.
His CJFL accomplishments are incredible to say the least. He coached 12 seasons, won 76 games, had seven first place finishes, nine Conference championships and six junior titles.
When comparing Currie’s numbers to some of the other CJFL greats, he is right in the thick of the discussion for best ever junior coach. His 76 wins are sixth all-time, his nine Conference championships are second all-time and his six junior titles are third all-time.
Following his coaching career he went back to teaching and later served as a high school principal, before entering the political scene in Saskatchewan.
He was named to the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 1978, to the Order of Canada in 1979 and to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2005. In 1977, he established the Gordon Currie Foundation which awards the Gordon Currie Youth Development Fund.
The CJFL sends its condolences to his family, friends and football colleagues who knew him best. He will be missed.