Photo courtesy of Greystoke Photography
Dictionary.com describes theft as “the act of stealing; the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another.”
In 2016 a number of CJFL defensive players would be accused of ‘theft’ on the football field carrying away the property of the quarterback all the back to the house!
Relive the 2016 “pick 6s”…something quarterbacks are trying to forget!
It’s a busy weekend across the CJFL with eight teams hosting their 2017 Spring Camps including last season’s Canadian Bowl combatants, the Saskatoon Hilltops and Westshore Rebels.
Spring Camp is an opportunity for the coaching staff of each team to see the players they have recruited as well as keeping a close eye on the returning players and their development.
Joining the Hilltops and Rebels this weekend are Prairie teams the Calgary Colts, Edmonton Huskies and Edmonton Wildcats. Over in the BC Conference the Langley Rams, VI Raiders and Valley Huskers will also hold their camps.
When it comes to the Raiders and Huskers, both enter their first Spring Camp under a new head coach. The Raiders brought in Doug Hocking, a long time defensive coordinator when the Raiders dominated the BC Conference under head coach Matt Snoop Blokker.
Hocking says 90 players will be in camp this weekend and says the “main goal of spring camp is to evaluate the players we have recruited and our retuning players. Also to showcase our program to the players we recruited and would like to play here. We need to understand that our program is also being recruited and evaluated.”
They will showcase their program with the greatest Raider ever to play in Nanaimo as Andrew Harris is scheduled to be a guest coach along with Matt Pfeifer.
Following camp Hocking would “like to know that we have addressed some recruiting needs and pin point what holes we still need to know. I'd like to see what kinda of off season conditioning our players have done and their putting the work in that they need.”
Meanwhile the Huskers will have Bob Reist leading camp, his first as a head coach. They are expecting 70-80 players, which includes their veterans.
Like the Raiders the Huskers have a number of big names attending as guest coaches. University of Manitoba offensive coordinator Blair Atkinson will assist, along with Eddie Steele from the Saskatchewan Rough Riders, retired CFLer Cory Huclack and CJFL sack master Evan Foster , who has high hopes entering his first CFL Draft on Sunday.
Coach Reist says, “Our main goal is to evaluate the athletes we've brought in. We have a ton of new guys coming in and our goal is to provide a camp that puts our athletes in competitive situations where we can evaluate their skill set.”
He adds, “By the completion of spring camp we will have a better idea of how our roster looks. We want to see the competitive balance of our team and assess our strengths and weaknesses moving forward.”
In Edmonton, the Wildcats actually opened their Spring Camp on Thursday. Head Coach Darcy Park believes they have had a very strong offseason recruiting players and has limited the number of attendees to 100 including veterans to “maximize reps for all returning players as well as first year Wildcats giving the coaches a real sense of where we are heading into main camp.”
The Wildcats have struggled the past couple of seasons, something Coach Park is well aware of, “After two disappointing seasons in the win/loss column the most important thing we are trying to establish is returning to our roots as an organization. For the longest time we were known as a physical team that had an emphasis on a balanced attack on offense and aggressive defense and special teams.”
With such a rich tradition of developing players for the next level, the Wildcats will be fortunate to have a number of alumni return as guest coaches including Taylor Inglis, Ryan King, Neil King, Jeff Hecht, Andrew Johnson, Rory Connop, along with former CJFL/CIS All-Canadians Ryan Migadel, Logan Trachuk, Scott Ledieu, Brent Krawchuk, Cale Inglis and Justin McEvoy.
At the conclusion of camp Coach Park wants to know, “That we have a room full of competitors. Coaches will coach but we want players who are willing to get in the mix and compete all over the field.”
The defending BC Conference champion Westshore Rebels are also under the leadership of a new head coach as Charly Cardilicchia takes over for the departed JC Boice. The Rebels open camp this weekend and Cardilicchia says, “We are coming off of a winning season and are expected to do well. I am really excited about some of our new prospects. We have had players move up to play in the CIS and there are big shoes to fill. I have spent a lot of time reviewing player footage, and visiting cities across Canada, to find the right fit for our team. I am excited to see who brings their A game. You never know who is going to surprise you.”
Rebels’ alumni Aaron Crawford, Quinn Van Gylswyk and Greg Morris will all return to act as guest coaches. As will Dexter Janke who played one season with the Okanagan Sun. All four guest coaches are currently playing in the CFL.
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: