A familiar voice to Canadian football fans from coast-to-coast, Glen Suitor will join us at the 6th Annual Okanagan Sun Scholarship Dinner. Her joined TSN's CFL broadcast booth in 1995 and has since become one of Canada's most respected and knowledgeable football analysts. Suitor currently works alongside 20-plus-year play-by-play veteran Chris Cuthbert as the game analyst for TSN's extensive CFL coverage.
The Sun Scholarship Dinner is scheduled for Wednesday September 24, 2014 at the Coast Capri Hotel.
Suitor's vast knowledge and passion for the game is respected throughout the sports industry. In 2006, Suitor won a Gemini Award with Cuthbert as Best Sports Play-By-Play or Analyst for their work on TSN's CFL broadcasts.
A former CFL standout, Suitor broke into the league in 1984 and played 11 seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders as a safety before announcing his retirement in 1994. Suitor entered the TSN Radio booth that same year as a guest analyst during the 1994 Grey Cup in Vancouver before joining TSN as game analyst the following year.
The Roughriders' all-time interception leader (51), Suitor was a three-time CFL All-Star (1991-93) and a four-time Western All-Star (1989, 1990, 1992, 1993). During Suitor's 11 years with the Roughriders, he never missed a game, playing in 194 straight tilts.
Suitor's main objective as a player was to win a championship title. Suitor accomplished that goal in 1989 and says he is most proud of being part of the 1989 Grey Cup winning Saskatchewan Roughriders team.
Suitor began his broadcasting career while still playing with the Roughriders. From 1991-93, Suitor was sports director and morning co-host with CJME-AM radio and sister station CIZL-FM in Regina.
Follow Glen on Twitter @GlenSuitor.
Delay to expand campus athletics due to league’s pending strategic review
A strategic review by the Canada West Universities Athletics Association (Canada West) has put on hold the possibility of adding varsity football to UBC’s Okanagan campus.
At its annual general meeting in May, Canada West placed a moratorium on new membership applications and on existing members applying to add teams to league sports. The moratorium was put in place to bring stability to the membership and sport structure to allow the members and the staff time to complete a strategic planning process while contemplating future growth. Canada West expects the moratorium to be lifted once this process is complete. While Canada West has not set a strict timeline, it is hoped that the process will be completed in 12 to 15 months.
“Canada West has undergone unprecedented growth over the past several years increasing its member institution numbers from 11 to 17, with relative increases in the participation of many of its league sports,” says UBC Okanagan Director of Athletics and Recreation Rob Johnson. “This growth brings significant challenges as members and the Association itself work to find ways to develop equitable schedules, re-organize resources and determine a sustainable plan for the future.”
Caught in this moratorium is a possible application from UBC Okanagan regarding football. The Okanagan Sun and UBC Okanagan have explored the idea of fielding a team in Canada West. While no formal agreement between the two organizations has been reached, discussions were progressing at the time the moratorium was announced.
“We are not yet in a position to make formal application to Canada West, as there are still a number of issues to be negotiated between UBC and the Sun,” says Johnson. “The moratorium is not a huge set-back at this time. In fact, the time frame Canada West suggests falls roughly in line with our thoughts on the earliest time we would be in position to submit an application. “
Sun President Paul Carson is disappointed by this delay in the process but feels it can provide more time to ensure a successful application process.
“We have spent a lot of time and energy on this project and intend on seeing it through to the end regardless of delays,” says Carson. “The Okanagan Sun are still very excited about the possibility of bringing CIS football to the Okanagan Valley and UBC and the feedback from the community has been very positive.”
Discussions between UBC Okanagan and the Sun continue.
When you enter the third year of your career, you’re expected to contribute, lead and know your job. The same applies to the gridiron and the Sun are expecting to see big things from Dillon Fortune in 2014.
Born in Montreal, raised in Brooklyn New York, Fortune was the featured back for the first part of last season as Alex Bradley recovered from an injury. Fortune was solid, finishing the year with 74 carries for 438 yards and three touchdowns.
“My expectations are really high because right now, we’re looking good, our protection schemes are looking tight,” says Fortune.
“He’s got a different attitude,” says Offensive Coordinator Tony Lindsay. “He seems to be quicker, a little more focused. We already know he’s athletic, so if you apply some focus and some drive, he’ll do well for us.”
New running backs Coach Jason Farnsworth says “He’s picking up the offense really well, he’s improved a lot since last year, he’s definitely been putting some time in training. You can see he’s really wanting to fight a lot harder when he is running the ball. In drills that we do in practice he’s just moving at a much faster pace than he was last year and really trying to push for that starting spot.
The 1-2 punch of Bradley and Fortune will cause fits for opposing defenses this year. The success of the run game will open up the passing game for third year quarterback Cam Bedore.
“I think with backfield that we have, with Bradley and Fortune, they both add different abilities,” says Farnsworth. “They’re both very quick, great search backs, and they also have the speed to get the outside edge. Then you tandem that with some of the fullbacks we’re looking at using, with a lead blocker it makes them even more dangerous.”
In his rookie season Bedore (2012) was smacked around way too often. Improvements to the offensive line helped last year and they will be even better this season. However when there is a breakdown, it’ll be up to the running backs and their blocking ability and assignments. Now in his third year it’s something Fortune is taking pride in.
“You have to, right. Football is all about blocking, you have to block for the next player to run far, that’s just what you have to do. If you don’t block, you don’t play that’s how I was taught.”
“Dillon is a great blocker,” says Farnsworth. “When he gets out into the open field is when you really see where he can shine. He knows how to target really well, and move his body into the right position. So yeah he’s a really good blocker, when he gets out there, even when he’s inside. We use him as a fullback as well just because of that.”
Fortune and the Sun open the 2014 season on Saturday July 26 in Chilliwack. It’s Fortune’s first chance to show that he and Bradley are on track to be the next feared 1-2 punch in Sun history.
Photo courtesy of Greystoke Photography
Story courtesy of Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters)
Order your single game tickets at the Select Your Tickets box office.
For the fifth consecutive year JDS Energy and Mining has donated $25,000 to the Sun Scholarship Fund, raising their donation total to $125,000.
Approximately 20 players each year receive contributions so they can continue their education at UBC Okanagan or Okanagan College.
“There’s a big, big picture here and this is just a piece of the pie,” says JDS Energy and Mining Chief Executive Officer Jeff Stibbard.
Players can/will receive contributions between $500 - $4,000 to assist them with their education efforts.
Ryan Marquardt is getting set for the next chapter of his life and football career in the Interior heat.
Just days after graduating from South Delta Secondary School, Marquardt leaves for Kelowna this week to begin preparations for his rookie season in the B.C. Football Conference with the Okanagan Sun.
The two-year starter with the Sun Devils opted for the junior football powerhouse after attending a recent tryout camp and securing a roster spot. The gridiron commitment fits nicely with his post-secondary school plans which includes attending Okanagan College. Marquardt intends on pursuing a career in law enforcement.
"They work the whole football program around schooling when it comes to things like practice times," explained Marquardt, who will be living with family friend during the summer before moving into student residence come September. "I have been thinking about leaving (Tsawwassen) for a while and think it's good to get out and live on my own."
When Marquardt was exploring his junior football options, he was tipped on the possibility of heading to the Okanagan by SDSS assistant coach Derek Mann who played for the Sun after an impressive career at quarterback for South Delta. Marquardt was formally invited to a tryout camp where he was up against a wide range of mostly older prospects (junior football age limit is 22) that had made their way to Kelowna from across Western Canada.
"I get there and there were guys 6-foot-5 or 6-foot-6 going up against me," smiled the 5-foot-11, 220-pound 18-year-old. "I think they just wanted a guy who wouldn't be afraid to hit back and I think I showed that to them and deserved to be on the team."
Marquardt made the cut as a linebacker after playing nothing but on the interior line his entire career at the community and high school levels. The position switch means his off-season workouts have focused on his quickness and playing with a leaner body frame. "I have been doing a lot of foot speed stuff over at the (Winskill) turf and also working with a trainer at the Tsawwassen Athletic Club too," he explained.
Marquardt didn't start playing organized football until his second year of Pee Wee eligibility with the South Delta Rams community program. He was actually thinking of quitting after one season until his mom convinced him to give it one more chance.
He hasn't looked back, crediting Ram coaches John Mann and Dean Dodd for his early development before moving across the street to SDSS where he helped the Sun Devils win a provincial championship in his Grade 11 career under head coach Ray Moon.
"It was my mom who actually got me into football," laughed Marquardt. "I was always a bigger kid who wasn't excelling at soccer and she thought I should give football a try. I wasn't too keen about it at first but she insisted I give it one more shot. Ever since I have had a passion for it.
"Coach Moon is the man that taught me to love football. Just with his pre-game speeches and the confidence he had in us as a team."
Marquardt is hoping his stint with the Sun could take him eventually to the university level, either locally at UBC or SFU, or even UBC Okanagan.
There have been recent talks of a potential partnership between the Sun and UBC Okanagan now that the Kelowna university is a member of the Canada West University Athletic Association.
The Sun open their B.C. Football Conference schedule July 26.
Quarterback Cam Bedore was mic'd up during spring camp. Listen in...
The Okanagan Sun announce two more player signings following last week’s spring camp;
Hayden Nellis, 6’4, 225 pound defensive lineman out of Dakota Collegiate in Winnipeg
Lliam Wishart, 6’2 185 pound receiver out of Valleyview Secondary in Kamloops.
Okanagan Sun main camp opens July 5th and the Sun open the season on the road against the Chilliwack Huskers July 26
Season tickets on sale at OKANAGANSUN.CA
Wishart, who will graduate this year from Valleyview secondary, is a highly touted prospect with professional-football aspirations. He’s widely regarded as one of the most-promising players to come out of Kamloops in the last five years. Full story
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