Members of the Calgary Stampeders will participate in a football skills camp in Kelowna later this month

Stamps host football camp

Normally, the CFL Calgary Stampeders would be busy preparing for the stretch run toward the playoffs this time of year.

But, COVID-19 has taken care of that, forcing the CFL to cancel the season, leaving players and coaches on the sidelines like many of the rest of us.

With time on their hands, the Stampeders have teams up with the BCFC's Okanagan Sun and the Alfa Project to host a weekend skills camp in Kelowna Sept. 25 to 27.

The camp is open to players in grades seven through 12, as well as youth and high school coaches.

Seven current and former players and coaches from the Stampeders will be in Kelowna to run the camp, including:

  • Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell
  • Receiver Kamar Jordan
  • Offensive lineman Jon Gott
  • Running back Matt Walter
  • Defensive co-ordinator Brent Monson
  • Defensive line coach Corey Mace
  • Special teams coach Taylor Altilio

The weekend begins with a free question and answer session for youth coaches on the Friday evening at a hotel to be determined.

Players in grades seven to nine, and 10 to 12 will each take part in two position-specific skills sessions Saturday, followed by skills and combine testing on the Sunday.

The camp will be held on the Parkinson Rec Centre fields.

Click here to register. The cutoff for pre-registration is Sept. 18.

Canadian Junior Football League cancels 2020 season

Jr. football pulls the plug

There will be no junior football in Canada this year.

The Canadian Junior Football League became one of the first leagues outside of high school and college programs to officially cancel its upcoming season.

The CJFL made the decision during virtual meetings involving the B.C., Prairie and Ontario conferences Wednesday night.

“It is very disappointing to make this announcement today, but our priority is the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff, and team administrators”, said CJFL commissioner Jim Pankovich.

The decision to cancel the season across the country was unanimous.

Pankovich says at this time, return to play guidelines do not allow large enough gatherings to make training and competition safe for the athletes.

"Despite our hope that the situation in Canada would improve and allow for the CJFL to proceed with the 2020 season, the health and safety challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing risk to our players, coaches and staffs make it unfeasible for the CJFL teams to compete in 2020. "

Wednesday's national meeting followed similar league meetings.

BCFC president Tyler McLaren says the league, which includes the Okanagan Sun and Kamloops Broncos, also voted unanimously to shut down.

"We have to think about the health and safety of the players, coaches and everyone involved," said McLaren.

The three conferences will now focus on a return in 2021.

BC Football Conference to decide on season Wednesday night

BCFC season on the line

Wednesday is decision day for the BC Football Conference.

League executives and representatives from each of the six member teams will meet Wednesday evening to determine whether to try and salvage a season.

If the league does try and forge ahead, plans, as they currently stand, would include a six-game schedule, with games beginning the weekend of Sept. 19 and 20.

However, standing in the way of any possible return, is the province's return to play protocol.

"At this time, and for the foreseeable future, no contact sports will have the ability to start with respect to game and competition play," viaSport stated in an email to Castanet seeking clarification.

Football activities, as well as other sports, can resume provided they are skills and training based, and can adhere to physical distancing and group size guidelines.

Those restrictions would have to be lifted before the league could return to the field.

There has been no indication from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry as to when the guidelines may be relaxed.

It is also expected any return would have to be done without fans in the stands.

Decision Aug. 5 whether BCFC will have a season

BCFC decision in 4 weeks

A decision as to whether there will be a junior football season this year will be made in four weeks.

According to Okanagan Sun general manager Jay Christensen, the BC Football Conference has set Aug. 5 as its new "drop dead date."

"If by Aug. 5 they can't say yes, we're going to go ahead and have a season, then it will be over," said Christensen.

"They've been adjusting the schedule, and the last one we got starts the Sept. 19-20 weekend. It will be a six-game schedule, and the Canadian Bowl will be Dec. 5."

Whether the Sun could play without fans is something Christensen says the club's board is still discussing.

More importantly, he says is the conversation the team would have with its sponsors if a season is deemed possible.

"If the sponsors say as a business we can't afford to sponsor, or if there is nobody in the stands so why would we sponsor...if they are not there, there definitely won't be a season."

Christensen says the team is also exploring different ways to accommodate at least some fans by possibly roping off some sections of the Apple Bowl that would correspond with different entry points into the stadium.

If a season were to begin as scheduled, training camp would likely start at the end of August.


BCFC won't return to play until at least September

Jr. football return delayed

The BC Junior Football Conference has put everything on hold until mid summer at the earliest.

All football activities, including formal, and informal workouts, have been paused until July 1 while the province deals with how to move forward for organized sports in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

BCFC president Tyler McLaren says a decision on a possible resumption of those activities will be made later this month.

Regardless of when it is deemed safe to return to some activities, a full return to play will be determined through recommendations by provincial health organizations.

McLaren says that is complicated by the fact the BCFC is working alongside the CJFL nationally.

"It would be easier if we only had to deal provincially," he said.

"Because we are still linked to the national games and the CJFL games, we have to take into account what is going on across the prairies and Ontario. They are at different stages than we are."

Taking the national picture into account, McLaren says the Canadian Bowl has been pushed back from Nov. 14 to Dec. 5. The location of the national title game, slated originally for Ontario, will be determined at a later date.

That is if the Canadian Bowl is played at all.

"What we have done is basically say there is a chance we won't play national games because of the travel and the cost.

"We have to plan as if we're playing the whole thing, but depending on funding and what happens, we may not have the national games, and just the conference games."

McLaren says the BCFC is working on six, and eight game schedules.

If they get the go ahead, an eight game schedule could begin Sept. 5, a six game schedule two weeks later.

He stresses the league will not start up before the Labour Day weekend, and says playing games without fans will be tough for a league that relies heavily on ticket sales, concession and sponsorship revenues and 50-50 sales.

The league is also working on return to play strategies. Some of those unique plans could include small team training camp workouts which could include offence working one day and defence the next, or even smaller groups where quarterbacks, receivers and defensive backs work out separately to offensive and defensive linemen.

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