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British Columbia Conference

Regular Season 2019

Recent British Columbia Football Conference News

Member Monday: Kamloops Broncos

04/12/2021, 4:00pm PDT
By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters)

Former Cowboys, now Broncos

Photo courtesy of Jim Motokado

When the Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL) expanded to Kamloops in 2001 the franchise was known as the Cowboys playing in the BC Conference.

The Cowboys struggled in their first three seasons posting a record of 5-25 and missed the post season each year.

Prior to the 2004 season the franchise applied for a non-playing status citing several reasons.  The CJFL granted the application and continued to work with the ownership group in hopes of them returning to the league in the near future.

Finally in 2007 the Kamloops franchise returned to the CJFL , but this time under the name Broncos.   They didn’t make as big of a splash in that first season back as the team had hoped finishing 1-9.   Despite the challenging record the Broncos were fortunate to immediately play at one of the nicest venues across the League in Hillside Stadium on the campus of Thompson Rivers University.   The Stadium has a field turf surface and has locker rooms for both teams.  It has also been used by the BC Lions during training camps in previous years.  

Over the course of their 13 CJFL seasons, the Broncos have an overall record of 29-99-1 with their best finish in the 2014 season.  That year they compiled a 6-4 record, finishing third in the Conference sending them to their second straight post season berth.  In all, the Broncos have seen the playoffs three times; 2013, 2014 and 2015 but are still looking for their first post season win.

The Broncos have developed some incredible talent throughout their CJFL membership including receiver Derek Yachison.  The Winnipeg native had 194 receptions from 2011-2015, second most in CJFL history with 2,763 yards.  He hauled in 73 receptions in a single season in 2015 and was named the CJFL Peter Dalla Riva Outstanding Offensive Player of the Year.

Quarterback Colby Henkel was named the CJFL Rookie of the Year in 2016 completing 171 passes for 2,186 yards and 17 touchdowns.

The Broncos have stumbled in the last couple of years but have high hopes this season with a new, energetic head coach in Braden Vankoughnett.   The franchise believes this new energy to the team is just what they need to get back to the CJFL post season.

Quick Broncos Facts:
Conference – BC Conference
Location – 944 Dalhousie Dr. Kamloops
Victoria President – Darren Watt
 Head Coach – Braden Vankoughnett
Stadium – Hillside Stadium
Social Handle - @KamloopsBroncos / @KamBroncos
Motto – #RunWithUs
Primary Colours – Blue / Orange / White

CFL Combine Spotlight

03/25/2021, 10:00am PDT
By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters)

Former Okanagan Sun linebacker Keagan Hughes

This week the CFL invited several players to join in a different looking Combine for 2021.  A total of 11 players with CJFL experience received an invitation including linebacker Keagan Hughes.

For two seasons (2014-2015) Hughes was a force for the Okanagan Sun helping them to a BC Conference Cullen Cup championship and a berth in the Canadian Bowl in 2015.  That season Hughes had a breakout year leading the Sun with 26 solo tackles, blocked two kicks, had a pair of knockdowns, forced a fumble and collected half a sack.

The following season Hughes packed his bags for Quebec and became a student athlete at Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke making an impact immediately.   In the classroom he enrolled in the Sports Studies program and is getting ready to graduate this year.

Before that however, Hughes will take part in the 2021 CFL Combine which will look a bit different this year due to the ongoing pandemic.   He talks with Ryan Watters about the upcoming testing.

Member Monday: VI Raiders

03/22/2021, 9:00am PDT
By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters)

Three-Time Canadian Bowl Champs

The Vancouver Island Raiders are based in Nanaimo, BC and joined the BC Conference of the Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL) in 2005.  It essentially was awarded the franchise that had belonged to the Abbotsford Air Force, which had disbanded following the 2004 season.  In their very first campaign the Raiders finished with an incredible 8-2 record, but lost in the semi-finals.

In the 15 years the franchise has existed, the Raiders have remarkably not only won eight BC Conference titles but three Canadian Bowls as well, having beaten the Edmonton Wildcats (2006 & 2009) twice and the Burlington Braves (2008).  Both wins over the Wildcats were claimed at home at Caledonia Park, while their other championship was captured in Burlington, Ontario.  Winning three titles in four seasons displays just how dominate the team was during that run and represents the greatest moments in the team’s history.

The Raiders path to the 2008 championship took them to Saskatoon where they beat the Hilltops and to this day still represent the only time a team from BC has beaten the Hilltops in Saskatchewan in a playoff game since the late 1940s.  

In addition to their three Canadian titles, the Raiders have also appeared in another two championship games (2010 & 2013) and three national semi-final games.

In 2017 the Raiders received an honour no other BC Conference team has had; inducted into the BC Football Hall of Fame for their outstanding success on the field.

For a team/organization that has only been in existence for 15 years, these are remarkable accolades.  Overall the Raiders record following the 2019 season reads 155-32-3.  In the playoffs, the team’s record is 18-7; with eight Conference championships and on the national stage they are a combined 6-4 with those three Canadian Bowl rings.

Along with their winning tradition, the Raiders have been a leader in bringing forward ideas such as a scholarship program for players continuing education and pioneering the streaming of its games over the internet.  Most teams across the CJFL have adopted one or both of these ideas after seeing the success in Nanaimo.

When discussing the Raiders alumni, the first name that always comes to mind is Andrew Harris, who has gone on to enjoy a great career in the CFL with both the BC Lions and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.   Harris still holds the CJFL record for highest rushing average in a career at 9.9 yards a carry, highest average in a season when he averaged 14.5 yards a carry in 2009 and most rushing touchdowns in a career with 54.  He’s second in career rushing yards with 4,133 from 2005-2009.

In addition to Harris, a large number of Raiders alum have gone onto to play at the University level as well as the CFL.  These include: Jordan Yantz, Lorne Plante, Curtis Vizza, Andrew Smith, Whitman Tomusiak, Joe Lipinski, Ryan Wellman, Brian Ridgeway and Robin Medeiros.         

The Raiders are hoping for a new home in 2021 and are slated to play on the field turf of NDSS Field in Nanaimo, with a new 7,000 seat facility scheduled to be built around the field. Most teams in the BC Conference will be pleased not to play at Caledonia Park, a near impossible place to win for opposing teams.

Quick Raiders Facts:
Conference – BC Conference
Location – 110 Wall St, Nanaimo, BC
Raiders President – Kabel Atwall
Head Coach – Curtis Vizza
Stadium – Caledonia Park
Social Handle - @VIRaiders / @vi.raiders
Primary Colours – Black, Red, White