Photo courtesy of Matthew Hamilton
The Winnipeg Rifles have high expectations coming into this season after a successful campaign in 2022 which included a couple of very important wins for the franchise.
They will open their Spring Camp on May 8 and do expect to have another massive turnout attending. In the past they have averaged over 100 players and this year should be no different.
Last season the Rifles finished 4-4 and pushed the eventual champion Regina Thunder to the brink in a 23-14 semi-final loss to end their year. Their defence was solid all season and finished with a Conference high +10 in the turnover category and led the way with 10 fumble recoveries.
The coaching staff will assess their new crop of players all week during Spring Camp and will finish with the always exciting scrimmage on Saturday. There have been times in the past where a job has been won or lost during scrimmage, so players know there is plenty on the line.
They will open the season on the road on Sunday August 13 when they face the Edmonton Huskies before their home opener a week later when they welcome the Saskatoon Hilltops.
The CJFL and Prairie Conference (PFC) have released their 2023 schedule that will see the six-member Conference open the CJFL season on Sunday August 13, 2023 with a full slate of games.
The Conference champion Regina Thunder begin their title defence that afternoon at 1:00pm when they visit the Calgary Colts. The Saskatoon Hilltops who finished as the second seed last year will host the Edmonton Wildcats on the same day and the Edmonton Huskies welcome the Winnipeg Rifles.
The teams are scheduled to play an eight-week regular season concluding on October 8th. The Conference playoffs will open the following weekend with a pair of semi-finals before the Conference title game scheduled for Sunday October 22nd.
The winner of the Prairie Conference will host the winner of the Ontario Conference in the CJFL national semi-final game the following week, Sunday October 29th. The winner of this game will then travel to BC and play for the 2023 Canadian Bowl and a national crown. It will be the first national final host by the BC Conference since 2019.
The BC and Ontario Conferences continue to work on their schedules and do anticipate releasing them in the coming weeks.
The CJFL was very well represented at the CFL Invitational Combine with seven players completing among some of the best from US colleges and U-Sport programs.
Below are the final results from the seven players that took part:
|Players||Bench Press||40-Yard||Vertical||Broad Jump||3-Cone||Shuttle Run|
|Burgmaier, Donovan||21||5.37||30||8'10 1/8||7.53||4.7|
|Charles, Shawn||4||4.92||28||8'11 7/8||7.94||DNP|
|Hayes-Williams, Jared||DNP||5.01||27||8'9 5/8||7.44||4.45|
|O'Shea, Mike||DNP||4.86||34||9'8 5/8||7.26||4.4|
|Oling, Ronnie||11||4.78||32||9'2 3/4||7.32||4.37|