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.
Photo courtesy of Wanda Harron Photography
It’s Running Backs Week in the CJFL.
Over the years the Edmonton Huskies have been a very solid run team with several All-Stars and/or All-Canadians.
Entering his third season as the Huskies’ running backs coach, Chris Friskie talks with Ryan Watters about the traits of a good running back and what the Huskies like to look for in a player.
Photo courtesy of Louis Christ Photography
CJFL Commissioner Jim Pankovich has demonstrated an incredible amount of leadership during the COVID-19 crisis and has been named the 2020 CJFL Stewart MacDonald Executive Of The Year.
Starting from the very early days of the pandemic, Jim had envisioned the difficult path that was before us and began to strategize and approach to deal with the situation.
Jim’s calm, cool, and measured approach kept the Canadian Junior Football League on track to making a difficult decision based on a tremendous amount of information from multiple sources. The outcome ultimately wound up being the best decision one could make for the safety and well being for the athletes, coaches and entire CJFL.
The Commissioner spent hundreds of hours, talking with experts, politicians, doctors, CFL football executives and a multitude of CJFL members throughout the country in the early stages of the pandemic. Jim had developed a primary plan as well as many multi leveled and layered contingency plans and was able to present these to stakeholders in a matter that had led to the consistent buy in and ownership of all the parties involved.
His in-depth analysis and planning put the CJFL in a place where the league moved methodically forward while maintaining an optimistic view for what was to come. Timelines were developed for primary and secondary strategies, input was requested and documented and thoroughly discussed with all the key stakeholders allowing for educated thought through debates and decisions.
Although the cancellation of the 2020 season and the Canadian Bowl was not the desire of anyone, when it came time to make that decision everyone was confident that the league had viewed and analyzed all angles and the best decision for the safety of the whole was made. Despite the gravity of this decision the CJFL holds the belief that we are still in a strong position to succeed going forward and faith or optimism has not been lost for future seasons. This was accomplished only because Jim’s complete dedication and commitment to ensure no stone was left unturned before a decision was made. His desire and professional, positive attitude was the glue that held the CJFL executive together throughout this challenging time.
The CJFL did not react hastily nor erratically when it came time to cancel the 2020 season. Jim epitomized the old-World War II mantra of “stay calm and carry on.”
Jim has won this award previously in 2015, and it is a testament to his extreme ability to lead our league that he is awarded the Executive Of The Year five years later. Many have discussed that with Jim Pankovich at the vanguard of this crisis, we were never in a position of defeat but in a position of growth and evolution of the game of junior football in Canada.