The BC Football Conference hopes it can begin a 2021 season right after Labour Day

BCFC hopes for Sept. start

After more than a year of uncertainty, the BC Football Conference and other amateur and junior sports leagues are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

For the BCFC, that light could include a 2021 season.

League president Tyler McLaren is optimistic after the province introduced its four phase reopening plan late last month.

"We are working toward a start around Labour Day. That's the target after they [provincial health office] released the guidelines and the stages and the phases," McLaren told Castanet News.

"After the Sept. 7 date everything can kind of return somewhat to normal, assuming we stay on the right course."

McLaren says an abbreviated eight-game schedule with games beginning in early September has been drawn up, but he indicates that won't be released officially until likely the middle of next month.

An early- to mid-September start would also mean a regular season rolling through to the end of October. With playoffs going well into November, McLaren says that could require the national championship game being pushed into December instead of early November.

Those discussions at a national level, he says, still have to take place.

As for the six teams in the BCFC, McLaren says everyone has made it through the pandemic in reasonably good financial shape. Everyone knows about grant programs available and how to access them.

"They just want to play football," he said.

Teams are allowed to practice in some form now. McLaren expects, if all goes well, that teams will ramp up practices in the coming weeks in anticipation of some form of training camp later in August.

Two players with Okanagan connections taken in CFL draft

Ex-Sun player off to CFL

The Okanagan was fairly well represented during Tuesday's annual Canadian Football League draft.

But whether they will get a chance to show off their abilities to their respective teams this year is still up in the air.

Former Okanagan Sun linebacker Nick Cross was taken ninth overall, the last selection of the first round, by the Hamilton Tiger Cats.

Cross suited up for five games with the Sun in the 2018 season, registering eight tackles, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery which he turned into a touchdown.

He moved on to UBC where he was named an All-Canadian in 2019.

Linebacker Ben Hladik, another UBC alum and Vernon native was taken by the BC Lions with the fourth pick of the third round.

Hladik was also named an All-Canadian in 2019.

The CFL, which cancelled its 2020 season due to COVID-19, is hoping to run a 14-game season this year beginning Aug. 5, culminating with the Grey Cup game Dec. 12 in Hamilton.

However, that is contingent on all six provincial jurisdictions signing off on the league's return to play plan.

In the meantime, the BC Football Conference, which includes the Sun and Kamloops Broncos, are also hoping to compete this season after being forced to shut down last season.

The league has prepared a six, eight and 10 game schedules but have not yet made those public.

Decisions on what a season may look like will ultimately be decided by the provincial health office.

Bob Lindsay is being inducted into the Okanagan Sun Hall of Fame

Lindsay joining Sun hall

The Okanagan Sun are welcoming long-time board member and and team advocate Bob Lindsay into the clubs Hall of Fame.

The team made the announcement Tuesday afternoon.

Lindsay, who was made a life member of the Canadian Junior Football league in 2007, first joined the Sun board as director of finance in 1990.

He helped build a strong, winning tradition both on and off the field, culminating in a national championship in 2000, and numerous BCFC titles.

He retired from the board in 2008.

Known around the team as the "Bobfather," Lindsay established many traditions within the team, not the least of which was the graduates dinner he hosted each year for players moving on from the organization.

Lindsay, who was named CJFL and BCFC executive of the year following the 2000 season, is being inducted into the builders category for his years of commitment, passion and dedication to the Okanagan Sun.

The team will announce other inductees in the coming months. They will be recognized at the Apple Bowl in the coming season.

They will join team founder Dr. Barry Urness, long-time trainer Terry Britton and five players named to the hall of fame when it was unveiled a year ago.

Former Sun lineman returns to guide offence in 2021

Sun alum returns to coach

The Okanagan Sun will have a new, but familiar voice calling plays from the sidelines in 2021.

Former offensive lineman Travis Miller, who spent five years with the Sun from 2005 through 2009, will return as the teams new offensive co-ordinator next season.

He will also serve as offensive line coach.

Miller went on to play two seasons of university football at Acadia, before returning to his hometown of Grande Prairie, AB.

He spent the last nine seasons coaching at Grande Prairie Composite High School, the last six as head coach.

“We are excited to bring another quality person onto our coaching staff that has a high level of playing and coaching experience," said Sun head coach Jamie Boreham.

"Travis brings a level of playing experience and coaching knowledge to the staff that will ultimately make us a better program. The fact he is a Okanagan Sun alumnus makes this a bit of a homecoming for him and exciting for us."

Along with his coaching and co-ordinating duties, Miller will also serve as the teams offensive and Northern Alberta recruiting co-ordinator.

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.

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