Photo courtesy of Louis Christ Photography
The CJFL and Prairie Conference (PFC) have released their 2021 schedule that will see the six member Conference open the CJFL season on August 8th, 2021.
All games and dates are subject to change with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but announcing the schedule gives some hope of getting back to a “normal” football season.
The six-time defending Canadian Bowl champion Saskatoon Hilltops will open the season at home on Sunday August 8th when they host the Edmonton Wildcats at SMF Field. Meanwhile the PFC runners up in 2019 the Edmonton Huskies will host the Regina Thunder that day, playing out of the JP Bowl, a new facility for the Huskies in Edmonton. Also on opening day the Calgary Colts will welcome the Winnipeg Rifles to Shouldice Athletic Park in the northend of Calgary, which will be a new home for the Colts in 2021.
The teams are scheduled to play an eight week regular season concluding on October 3rd. Following a bye week the Conference playoffs will be played the weekend of October 16-17, before the Conference final scheduled for Sunday October 24, 2021.
The winner of the Prairie finale will then travel to BC to complete in the national semi-final game on Saturday October 30th. The winner of this game will head to Ontario to face the Conference champs in the 2021 Canadian Bowl on Saturday November 13th.
The BC and Ontario Conferences continue to work on their schedules and do anticipate releasing them in the coming weeks.
Photo courtesy of Wanda Harron Photography
The Regina Thunder officially became a member of the Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL) in 2000 as part of the Prairie Conference. Originally the Regina franchise of the CJFL was known as the Rams until they left for the University ranks following the 1998 season. In 2000 the team was known as the Prairie Thunder before dropping the “Prairie” name in 2005.
The Thunder have been fortunate to play on a CFL field since they began. They started at Taylor Field until 2018 when they moved with the Saskatchewan Roughriders to the new Mosaic Stadium. They have also played a handful of games at Leibel Field in the last couple of years.
Since 2000 the Thunder have had success in the Prairie Conference with an overall record of 76-63 to date. Despite the winning record the Thunder have just one Conference title; which was in 2013.
As a matter of fact that 2013 season was magical for the Thunder. After hiring current head coach Scott MacAulay, the Thunder finished 5-2-1 in the regular season. In the playoffs they defeated the Edmonton Huskies 26-17, before upsetting the top ranked Saskatoon Hilltops 21-16 on the road in the Conference final and won the right to host the Canadian Bowl. In the national championship game they dismantled the VI Raiders 55-26 to win their first and only Canadian title.
Since becoming the Thunder in 2000, the club has had a couple of national award winners including the 2002 Gordon Currie Coach of the Year Randy Shaw and in 2003 Steve Wilson was named the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year. This past year in 2020 defensive lineman Jordan Tholl was named the Past Commissioner’s Award winner after tremendous volunteer work in the Regina area.
The Thunder currently have three players on a CFL roster, all members of the Roughriders; Logan Ferland, Zack Evans and Dan Clark.
Quick Thunder Facts:
Conference – Prairie Conference
Location – 1700 Elphinstone St, Regina, SK
Team President – Murad Al-Katib
Head Coach – Scott MacAulay
Stadium – Mosaic Stadium
Social Handle -@reginathunder, @reginathunderfootballclub
Motto – “Together We Roll”
Primary Colours – Maroon and Navy
Andre Lalonde knows all about good running backs. In his final CJFL season with the Saskatoon Hilltops in 2013 he was named an All-Canadian and the CJFL Offensive Player of the Year.
During that regular season he rushed for 1367 yards on 182 carries and tallied seven touchdowns. At that time his total was the fifth highest in Prairie Conference history.
After his playing career came to a close Lalonde came back to the Hilltops and joined their coaching staff as the running backs coach. The upcoming 2021 season will be his sixth on the sidelines.
He’s had some outstanding running backs under his tutelage including Ben Abrook in 2019 who led the CJFL with 1215 yards on 199 carries. He helped the Hilltops win the Canadian Bowl and was named the Offensive Player of the Game.
As CJFL Running Backs Week continues, Lalonde discusses with Ryan Watters on what makes a good running back.