Photo courtesy of _nixbphotos
The Hamilton Hurricanes are the defending Ontario Conference champs following a perfect regular season in 2018. Their only loss came in the CJFL National Semi-Final game in Langley, BC.
Their offence was extremely potent scoring 42.5 points a game while their defence allowed just seven. In the Ontario Conference post season the Hurricanes outscored their opposition 77-23 in their two wins.
The most noticeable change for the Hurricanes is on top as long-time head coach Jason Hayes stepped down. In 11 seasons with him at the helm the Hurricanes never missed the playoffs, won four Ontario titles and he was named Coach of the Year three times. He amassed a record of 80-30 and is second all-time in wins in Ontario and sixth all-time in CJFL history. Brian Duguay slides into the vacant position and will have big shoes to fill. He’s no stranger to the Hurricanes having been involved for many years.
QB Jake Marquette could be the biggest loss to any team across the CJFL. Last season he was named the CJFL Outstanding Offensive Player after an incredible campaign completing 67% of his passes for 1760 yards and 28 touchdowns.
WR Angus Button was one of Marquette’s favourite targets and one of the most dangerous in 2018. He hauled in 25 receptions for 543 yards and scored eight touchdowns.
OL Kyle Maertens was an absolute force on the line last season. He was named the Conference’s most Outstanding Offensive Lineman and was one of the reasons why Marquette was able to stay in the pocket and survey the field looking for the best option.
What They Need:
Following the graduation of the best offensive player in the CJFL, the Hurricanes are in need of a quarterback. They will hand the starting role over to Ethan Belbeck who was last year’s back-up, learning from Marquette. They are expecting big things from him and are hopeful their offence doesn’t miss much of a beat.
WR Keyshaun Jordan is the reigning CJFL Rookie of the Year and the Hurricanes will look for even more from the sophomore. Last season he made 33 receptions for 753 yards and caught 15 touchdown passes, leading all Ontario receivers.
QB Ethan Belbeck didn’t play much last year backing up Marquette. He is expected to win the starting position coming out of camp and will try and fill up the stats sheet like Marquette before him.
OL James Sides will be counted on to hold the pocket and give Belbeck time to throw the ball down the field.
The Hurricanes will open their title defence on August 17th when they welcome the Ottawa Sooners to Tim Hortons Field.
After 11 successful seasons in Hamilton, Jason Hayes has stepped away from the Hurricanes. He leaves following 11 straight playoff berths, 80 victories and an Ontario Conference title last year.
The new man in the steel city is Brian Duguay who will have big shoes to fill taking over one of the most successful programs in the CJFL.
Coach Duguay speaks to Ryan Watters about following Coach Hayes, the state of the Hurricanes and what he expects in 2019.
For some this coming Saturday is the biggest day of their young lives, as the CJFL presents its National Signing Day.
The day is earmarked every year on June 1st, the day in which players can finally sign with a CJFL club. When a player signs he is essentially signing for his entire junior football career as the player then becomes the property of that team.
Some players have attended multiple Spring Camps to get an idea of their best fit. So many considerations are made before signing with a CJFL club; location, team support, roster depth, coaching staff, scholarship program, etc all weighs in on a player’s decision.
National Signing Day is not only exciting for the players, but the coaches as well. Their ideas, hopes and hard work will finally come to fruition as they start to fill their roster spots.
Following Saturday coaches can continue to recruit and sign a player immediately if he’s a good fit for their team. That said the bulk of the players ready to play in the CJFL will sign on Saturday.
Once players sign on the dotted line, coaches can begin developing their schemes and systems around their potential starters. They can also begin preparing for their Main Camp along with Week 1 of the regular season.
All three Conferences and 18 CJFL teams will participate on Saturday, signing players to their 2019 roster.
Fans can keep up to date with CJFL National Signing Day on social media with #CJFLSigning as teams will be posting once a player signs.