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Recent Prairie Conference News

CJFL Gone Campin'

By Ryan Watters 06/27/2024, 8:15am PDT

Find out when each CJFL team opens main camp

The CJFL is under 30 days until the kick-off of the 2024 season with the BC Conference opening on Saturday July 20th. 

There are three teams that have already kicked off their main training camp in preparation for the season.  The Langley Rams, Valley Huskers and Ottawa Sooners started this past week as each team is trying to get a jump on the season as their players battle for starting positions. 

The five other teams will open their training camps after Canada Day, including the defending Cullen Cup champion Westshore Rebels on July 2, 2024.

In Ontario the defending champion St. Clair Saints are the final team in the Conference to open camp on July 26th.  Following the Sooners, the Hamilton Hurricanes are next on July 2, then the London Beefeaters on July 9th. 

As for the Prairie Conference, their teams don’t open training camp until after the middle of July.  The Regina Thunder is the first to open on the 18th while the defending Canadian Bowl champion Saskatoon Hilltops are the final team in the CJFL to start their camp. They will kick off officially on July 28th. 

Here is a list of the CJFL teams and their first day of main camp:

Langley Rams – June 24
Valley Huskers – June 24
Ottawa Sooners – June 25
Okanagan Sun – July 1
Westshore Rebels – July 2
Hamilton Hurricanes – July 2
Kamloops Broncos – July 3
VI Raiders – July 3
Prince George Kodiaks – July 5
London Beefeaters – July 9
Regina Thunder – July 18
Calgary Colts – July 20
Quinte Skyhawks – July 22
Edmonton Huskies – July 22
Winnipeg Rifle – July 22
St. Clair Saints – July 26
Edmonton Wildcats – July 26
Saskatoon Hilltops – July 28
GTA Grizzlies – TBD

 

HEADCHECK Partnership Renewed

By Supplied 06/20/2024, 7:15am PDT

CJFL and HEADCHECK Extend Partnership Ensuring Highest Standard of Concussion Management

The Canadian Junior Football League ('CJFL') and HEADCHECK Health Inc. ('HEADCHECK') are thrilled to announce the extension of their partnership. This collaboration, in place since 2021, has empowered all teams across the CJFL to uphold the highest standards of concussion management, thanks to the robust digital platform provided by HEADCHECK and invaluable insights from aggregate data trends. 

Concussions pose a serious risk, potentially leading to life-altering brain injuries. According to Boston University, over 500,000 concussions affect 3 million youth football players annually. The CJFL and HEADCHECK are working together to eliminate the mismanagement of concussions. Evidence-based protocols are the foundation of concussion safety, when followed.

"The information and data we now have from HEADCHECK is very valuable," said Jim Pankovich, CJFL Commissioner. "With it, we can take proactive steps to improve player safety and measure the results. The results speak for themselves; it's hard to argue that the CJFL isn't a safer league today than before we started working with HEADCHECK." 

"Overall, using HEADCHECK has made it easier for medical staff to provide the best athlete-centered care for concussion management," said Allison Frenette, PFC Executive Player Health Consultant

"The CJFL is dedicated to ensuring the highest standard of concussion management across their league," said Harrison Brown, CEO of HEADCHECK. "Collaborating with league administrators, team medical personnel, and Dr. Czarnota has been instrumental in making the league as safe as possible for the players."

To learn more about how the CJFL has been able to track yearly safety improvements with HEADCHECK, read this recent case study HERE.
 

Thunderous Boom

By Ryan Watters 06/19/2024, 7:00am PDT

Veteran linebacker Stephen Smith is back

Photo courtesy of Wanda Harron Photography

The CJFL Defensive Player of the Year has been a dominate force and will be looking to do even more damage in 2024.

Linebacker Stephen Smith of the Regina Thunder led the Prairie Conference with 42 tackles last year and compiled 30 assisted stops, one sack, and one blocked kick.  However personal stats don’t mean much to him as he is the ultimate “team guy” and enters his last year wanting to lead his team back to the Canadian Bowl.  Since his arrival four years ago the Thunder defence has been one of the most consistent and solid across the CJFL.

He says his biggest strength since becoming a member of the Thunder has been the coaching staff.  He enjoys the process of learning new plays and techniques with his teammates and then being able to implement them into games. He says there's nothing like putting into action what you’ve learned and seeing it pay off on the field.

Other than of course winning a Canadian Bowl title in his final season, Smith says his goal is to keep the Thunder legacy strong and show that rural kids like himself have a shot at being part of something special. If he can inspire the next generation of looked-over rural athletes along the way, that's a massive win in his eyes.
He has played in several memorable games over the course of his CJFL career but the one that stands out the most is the 2022 Prairie Conference championship. The feeling of a complete team win is something he’ll never forget as the Thunder beat their rivals the Saskatoon Hilltops 39-21 to win the right to host the Canadian Bowl.

Being in the CJFL for the past four years and being one of the focal points of the Thunder defence, he has been a part of some important individual plays, but his favourite happened when he was just a spectator.  It came three years ago playing Saskatoon at Mosaic Stadium and receiver Rylan Sokul caught a deep ball down the sidelines right in front of the Thunder bench which turned into the game winning drive. He remembers the feeling on the sidelines, the eruption from the whole team and the fans. 

Smith begins his final CJFL season when he and his teammates open the new campaign on the road in Winnipeg on August 11th against the Rifles.

Stephen Smith is a CJFL Player to Watch in 2024.

 

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