Photo courtesy of Louis Christ
In collaboration with the BC Lions, the Sun are excited to announce Layne Hull, Michele Vecchio and Matt McConnell will attend the Lions’ Rookie Camp next week.
The Lions have been keeping a watchful eye on these players over the last couple of years and believe they could be an asset.
This will be Michele Vecchio’s second straight Rookie Camp. Last season he performed better than expected and won an invitation to Lions’ Main Camp, however an injury didn’t allow him to participate. This season the veteran is hopeful to get the same opportunity. He speaks with Ryan Watters below.
Layne Hull gets his first invite to Lions’ Rookie Camp following an outstanding 2015 campaign that culminated with winning the Canadian Bowl Defensive Player of the Game award. He made two tackles, had three assists, blocked a kick and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown and picked off a pass. During the regular season he tallied 14 tackles, 3.5 sacks and forced a fumble. He shares his thoughts with Ryan Watters below.
Matt McConnell gets his first invitation to Lions’ Rookie Camp after appearing at four spring Evaluation Camps. He collected 22 tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 2 knockdowns, 1 fumble recovery for a touchdown and an interception last season.
All three players will join Lions’ draft pick Brennan Van NIstelrooy at Camp which begins on Wednesday at Hillside Stadium in Kamloops.
Photo courtesy of Greystoke Photography
Former receiver Kyle Kawamoto has been invited to the Saskatchewan Roughriders main camp after signing with the CFL club.
Last month the Sun co-MVP was invited to their Mini-Camp and impressed the coaching staff so much by making plays. They said “he’s deceptively fast and very elusive after catching the ball.”
With the Riders needing Canadian depth at the receiver position, Kawamoto would be a perfect fit.
Last season he caught 41 passes for 1,005 yards and 10 touchdowns in helping bring back the Cullen Cup to the Okanagan.
Kawamoto will attend the Riders main camp at the end of May in Saskatoon, oddly enough the site of his final junior game last season.
Good luck Kyle!
The Sun by the way will open main camp July 9th.
Photo courtesy of Tamiko Lyle
The Sun completed their 36th Spring Camp this weekend and the new coaching staff was pleased with the level of energy.
Over 100 athletes took part as the BCFC champs began their first step in defending their title.
Head Coach Ben Macauley talked with Ryan Watters following camp.
Photo courtesy of Greystoke Photography
While the Sun open Spring Camp this weekend at the Apple Bowl, former quarterback Theo Deezer will perform for CFL Scouts in the annual CIS East-West Bowl in Montreal on Saturday.
Deezer and the prospects will be hosted by McGill University for the second straight season, highlighting many of the country’s top draft-eligible players for the 2017 CFL Draft.
Deezer will play for the West squad that is comprised of student-athletes from the Canada West conference and a handful of OUA universities. Deezer currently attends the University of Manitoba.
This Bowl game has a proven track record of finding quality athletes. In all, 29 of the 53 CIS players picked in the 2016 CFL Draft participated in last year’s East-West Bowl, including six chosen in the first two rounds, four from the third round and six in the fourth round.
Back in 2013 Deezer led the Sun with 118 completions for 1,713 yards and 23 touchdown passes. He completed 56.5% of his passes and had the Conference’s second highest passer efficiency rating of 104%.
This will be the 14th East-West Bowl, the East has won the last two Bowl games and five of the past six. However, the West still leads the all-time series 7-6.
The Sun will open their 36th Spring Camp on Friday as they begin defence of their first BCFC title in 11 seasons. There will be a new feeling this year with head coach Ben Macauley taking over the reins as he enters his first Spring Camp as a head coach. About 100 players are expected at Spring Camp, under beautiful sunny skies this weekend in Kelowna.
Coach Macauley is excited to get on the field and get a firsthand look at the veteran players along with some new recruits.
He talks with Ryan Watters:
Story and photo courtesy of Warren Henderson - Capital News
Three months after being hired, Ben Macauley will finally have a chance to roll up his sleeves and engage in what he loves most about football—coaching.
The new field boss of the Okanagan Sun will oversee his first spring camp with the B.C. Football Conference team this weekend at the Apple Bowl.
Macauley, who served as an assistant with the Sun for two summers (2012-13), takes over the program from Shane Beatty, who stepped aside in January after three years on the job.
The 30-year-old Macauley returns to the BCFC team after a successful 2015 season at KSS, where he led the Owls to the B.C. high school semifinals.
As the 16th head man in the Sun's history, Macauley said the right "attitude and effort" from his players will form the basis of his coaching philosophy.
For the complete story click HERE
Photo courtesy of Greystoke Photography
For the second straight year a member of the Sun secondary has been taken in the CFL Draft.
Co-MVP and BCFC Defensive Player of the Year Brennan Van Nistelrooy was selected 48th overall by the BC Lions on Tuesday.
The CJFL’s leader in interceptions in 2015 was originally invited to the CFL’s Regional Combine in Edmonton. After impressing scouts he was invited to the main CFL Combine in Toronto in April. He tested very well in Toronto which set him up nicely for Tuesday’s Draft.
Van Nistelrooy is no stranger to the Lions, attending their Evaluation Camp in 2014 and 2015. The BCFC’s Vice President and BC Lions Liaison Tyler McLaren said on Facebook, “Could not be happier that Brennan Van Nistelrooy is a BC Lion!!! One of the best people I have ever been around in football!!! All the best Van and can't wait to see you at training camp!! You have worked so hard, and it is awesome to see!!!”
Last season Sun safety Dexter Janke was selected by the Calgary Stampeders in the CFL Draft. Both Van Nistelrooy and Janke have been training together in this offseason in preparation for this moment.
As Van Nistelrooy built up muscle, strength and speed in the gym, Sun defensive backs coach Andre Knights honed his technique in the secondary. Knights a draft pick himself in 2006 by the Stampeders saying he’s “so proud” of Van Nistelrooy and his commitment to the game. He has had a big hand in the development of Van Nistelrooy and Janke.
The next step for Van Nistelrooy is the Lions rookie camp on May 26th in a familiar venue. The Lions will once again hold their camp at Hillside Stadium in Kamloops, the home of the Broncos, a foe Van Nistelrooy has faced numerous times over his Sun career.
The Sun will open the 2016 Spring Camp this Friday at the historic Apple Bowl.
This year’s camp will have the extra added excitement of the new coaching staff led by head coach Ben Macauley. He and his new staff will put players through the ultimate test of endurance and stamina as the defending BCFC champions take the first few steps to the new season.
With a new coaching staff in place each and every position on the field is “up for grabs” as veterans will be put through the same testing as the rookies.
Registration for Spring Camp will take place at the Apple Bowl during the following times:
Wednesday May 11 - 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Thursday May 12 - 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Friday May 13 - 5:00pm - 8:00pm
A very intriguing opening will be at quarterback after the graduation of starter Cam Bedore. Last season’s back –up Josiah Joseph has moved onto the University of Calgary, so a fresh crop of players will try to win the eye of the coaches. Keith Zyla, who showed some flashes of brilliance as the third string pivot last year is one of the names expected to challenge for the starter position.
The 2016 Spring Camp is going to be one of the most exciting in recent memory. Players can find all the information on Spring Camp by clicking HERE.
It’s been seven seasons since defensive lineman Larry Hillary patrolled the Apple Bowl wearing his #44.
Despite his terrifying game on the field, Hillary was certainly well liked by all his teammates showing outstanding leadership qualities, winning the team’s top defensive lineman award in 2009.
Many fans might not remember but Hillary’s junior football career didn’t actually start on the storied Apple Bowl grass. He broke into the BCFC as a member of the Chilliwack Huskers in 2006 as a fullback.
The following year the Rutland grad was granted his release to return home and suit up for the Sun, this time on the defensive side. He played three seasons in the orange and brown from 2007-2009, collecting 24 tackles, 8.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and a block.
“The highlight of my career was my final game against Nanaimo,” says Hillary. “Even though we lost, everybody pushed harder than ever and the feeling after the game was that everyone truly left it all on the field.”
Playing with the Sun for three season, he made some lifelong friendships, “the entire group that I graduated with and all the players who came after each made an impression. I’m friends with many of them still.”
Following his time with the Sun he moved to Edmonton and played two seasons of CIS football at the University of Alberta, then started working in the oilfields. He’s still living in Alberta and working in the oilfields as well as landscaping. August will be an important month, he’s getting married to his beautiful finance Amy.
It’s been seven seasons since he last played in the Okanagan but Hillary says he “would 100% trade places with a current player to experience everything the same and the organization has to offer.” He also has this piece of advice for the current roster; “play every game like it’s your last, cliche right? Put everything you possibly can into becoming a better player because you truly get it back tenfold in the end and it will not only make you a better player, but a better man.”
Larry Hillary is a proud Okanagan Sun alumnus.
Photo courtesy of Lorne White - KelownaNow.com
Last season the Okanagan Sun had one of the most dangerous offences in the CJFL. During their undefeated regular season they scored a CJFL high 488 points and had a balanced attack with two quarterbacks in the top three in BCFC passer efficiency. Combined they gathered 2,828 yards and threw for 31 touchdowns.
For all the success the Sun had on the offence, it started with the five guys up front led by veteran Michele Vecchio. In 2015 he was named a BCFC All-Star for the second straight year and was invited to the BC Lions Evaluation Camp and Rookie Camp.
Vecchio will enter his fourth year with the Sun in 2016 and will again be relied upon to lead the offensive line. Prior to Sun Spring Camp, the Kelowna native has been again invited to Lions Evaluation Camp on May 6th.
He has a bright future ahead of him with the Lions showing interest as well has a few CIS programs, but for now the 290 pound Vecchio is focused on trying to get his team back to the Canadian Bowl.
Michele Vecchio is a CJFL Weekend Warrior.
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