Photo courtesy of Greystoke Photography
His junior career lasted just one season, but it was an impressive one, as Dexter Janke has been selected 44th overall by the Calgary Stampeders in the 2015 CFL Draft.
Janke will report to Stampeders Rookie Camp on Friday May 29th as he begins his quest for a roster spot.
This is the second straight year the Stamps have selected a former Sun players, taking Max Caron last year.
He’s regarded as one of the best running backs in Okanagan Sun history.
Terrance Huston dominated the BC Junior Football Conference from 1995-1998. In just three seasons he collected 44 career touchdowns, 35 of which were on the ground. His 44 majors is still a Sun record.
In the three seasons, the Sun appeared in two Canadian Bowls, losing both times to the Regina Rams in 1997 and 1998. In his first season in 1996, the Sun fell to the Saskatoon Hilltops in the National semi-final game. Huston made three interceptions, a National semi-final record that still stands and collected the highest return average, averaging 30 yards a return, also a National semi-final record that still holds true.
Huston states playing with his brother Jermaine Haley was one of his highlights during his tenure with the Sun. He also says, still remembered as one of the best players ever to wear a Sun uniform, 17 years later, is another highlight.
Following his three dominating years in the Okanagan, Huston enrolled in Butte College in Northern California, where it didn’t take long to be noticed. After just one season at Butte, Huston signed with the Miami Dolphins in 2000.
However, Huston never dressed for the Dolphins, getting released at the beginning of the season. He was picked up by the Oakland Raiders and placed on the practice roster for that season. Following the year, Huston was given permission to play in the XFL in 2001 to gain more experience with the Orlando Rage. As a tight-end he caught five balls for 51 yards.
After the XFL folded he returned to the Raiders in 2002, before suffering a career ending neck injury.
Today Huston lives in New Westminster and is a correctional officer at North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Port Coquitlam and has been there for the past four years.
The love of football hasn’t left his heart as back in 2012 he helped coach Frank Hurt high school to a provincial championship.
That said, when asked if he would trade places with any members of the Sun today, he says NO, claiming he came in at a good time. He does believe head coach Shane Beatty is doing a good job of getting “that old Sun attitude back that has been missing for years.”
The advice he gives the current Sun running back core is this: First off, try and score every time you touch the ball. Second, see the whole field and third remember, great players make great plays when they are tired.
Huston is a family man now, living with his girlfriend and expecting his third child in July. He kids Jannae and Jaydee are growing like crazy and he has a message for Sun fans; ”Kelowna should here some noise from my son on the football field in a few years.” Music to the ears of fans who remember watching #8 tear up and down the Apple Bowl for three wonderful seasons.
If his son is half as good as his Dad, Sun fans will be in for a real treat!!
Photo courtesy of Greystoke Photography
Defensive lineman Lucas Machado has been invited by the BC Lions to attend their Evaluation Camp this weekend in Surrey at the Lions facility.
Machado will join Cliff Crews, Dexter Janke, Robbie Yochim, Brennan Van Nistelrooy, Michele Vecchio, Jonas Gering and Matt McConnell and 13 other BCFC players at the Lions E-Camp.
The Winnipeg native is coming off a fantastic season collecting 11 tackles, 3 assists, had a team leading 6.5 sacks, 2 knockdowns a fumble recovery.
The Lions will record each player’s height and weight along with bench press, broad jump and vertical. They will follow the same testing procedures that occur at the CFL and NFL combines.
The Sun will open Spring Camp on May 29 at the Apple Bowl and Parkinson Rec Centre.
When it comes to perseverance former Sun kicker Steven Shott could win an award … or better yet a contract with the BC Lions.
This has finally happened for Shott who played his last game in a Sun uniform back in 2010. Since then "Shooter" has been to four Lions’ spring camps and played a season in the Ontario Football Conference, winning a title with the Windsor AKO Fratmen in 2014.
Shott signed a contract with the Lions following his 2010 season with the Sun, however was one of the last cuts. He continued to be invited to camp, despite the Lions having multiple kickers on their roster.
Last season Shott, a free agent, kept his dream of kicking in the CFL alive by joining the Fratmen after the OFC decided to raise their age limit.
As he did during his days with the Sun, Shott was solid punting and kicking field goals. He finished his lone OFC season with the second highest punting average, was 7 of 13 in field goals and collected a Conference high in kick-off average.
Shott has signed a multi-year deal with Lions and has been invited back to camp with an opportunity to finally win a spot on the roster behind veteran Paul McCallum. He’ll be in Kamloops when the Lions open up camp on May 31st.
Photo courtesy of Greystoke Photograhy
The Okanagan Sun hosted the BCFC Cullen Cup championship for the first time in four seasons in 2014, falling in a heartbreaker 23-19 to Langley. The Sun have be ousted by the Rams in back to back season on home field.
The Sun will return a core group of players from last season in 2015 hungry to get back to the championship game and beyond.
Following another playoff defeat the Sun have made some changes on the coaching staff, trying to shake things up with a fresh look. Head Coach and reigning CJFL Coach of the Year returns for this third season and will take over the offensive coordinator duties. Also on the offensive side of the ball Greg Patchell becomes the new quarterbacks coach with his son in his final season at receiver. Alum Tommy Howes returns to the club after a success year in Windsor and an OFC title to coach the receivers along with Mike Pullin.
Defensively the Sun, who had the stingiest ”D” in 2014 sees former CFLer Mike Botterill take over as the defensive coordinator. 2014 graduate Jeff Mock will start his coaching career as the linebackers coach.
* DB/R Robbie Yochim: Perhaps the biggest loss for the Sun is team MVP Robbe Yochim after five incredible years. Last year Robbie set new BCFC records for kickoff return average (43.1 yards), a career record of most combined punt and missed field goal returns (163), and most punt returns in a career (156). Yochim also set a new team record with 603 kickoff return yards in one season.
* DB Dexter Janke: He only played one season of junior football but made an immediate impact in the Sun secondary. Janke, who appears to be CFL bound following an unbelievable combine, had 14 tackles, 5 assists, a knockdown and three interceptions. He was named a BCFC All-Star for commanding the Sun secondary.
* LB Ron Mwamba: Like Janke, Mwamba joined the Sun for just one season from the University of Saskatchewan. The Edmonton native was the defensive quarterback compiling 28 tackles, 12 assisted stops, had a sack, a knockdown, a fumble recovery and two interceptions.
* DL Zac Ironstand: His final season was his best in junior football. The North Battleford native recorded 12 tackles, 5 assisted tackles, 6 sacks, a knockdown and a fumble recovery.
What They Need:
The Sun return a number of players of the offensive side of the ball in 2015, however defence and the return game are two areas that Head Coach Shane Beatty is looking at in the offseason. Specifically the club is looking for linebackers after the graduation of Mwamba and fifth year player Jeff Mock, as well as the defensive line. As a big believer is special teams Beatty is also trying to fill the hole left by the graduation of Yochim.
The Sun are fortunate to have a number of key leaders back for the 2015 season. One of the team’s biggest leaders is safety and punter Brennan Van Nistelrooy. In 2014 the All-Canadian made 23 tackles and 10 assists, along with 2 sacks, blocked a kick, had four knockdowns, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries and had a pair of interceptions.
A season ago the Sun had the most dangerous running attack in the BCFC thanks in large part to the offensive line. This season they will rely on returners and All-Canadians Cliff Crews and Michele Vecchio. Both players not only helped blow open holes for the run game, but gave Sun quarterbacks enough time to look down field and find open receivers.
The Sun will open Spring Camp on May 29 – 31 and kickoff the season on July 25th.
Photo courtesy of Greystoke Photography
Dexter Janke becomes the first Okanagan Sun player to be invited to the CFL Combine which goes this weekend in Toronto.
After a terrific Regional Combine in Edmonton, Janke was one of four players to hear their name and be invited to the Ontario capital.
Janke’s results are below:
Bench – 20
40-Yard – 4.56
Vertical – 35.50”
Broad – 9’11”
3-Cone – 7.13
Shuttle – 4.2
Following his day, TSN’s Duane Ford spoke with Janke, who was proudly wearing his Okanagan Sun colours! WATCH HERE
Good luck in Toronto Dexter!
Photo courtesy of Greystoke Photography
The Okanagan Sun will open the 2015 season on Saturday July 25 at the Apple Bowl against the visiting Westshore Rebels, as the British Columbia Football Conference has released the official schedule.
The Sun will play a 10 game balanced schedule for the first time since 2011. The last three seasons the schedule has been unbalanced.
Head Coach Shane Beatty says, “I love the balanced schedule! I truly believe the league will be much better this year. Victoria will be much better with JC as the head coach and Doug Hocking as the defensive coordinator. Kamloops will be much better with Brad Yamaoka and the addition of Todd Graham. I'm stoked to get going and I look forward to opening with Victoria! Going against two gurus in JC and Doug ... Great guys!”
The Sun will get their first crack at the defending BCFC champion Langley Rams on Saturday August 15 at the Apple Bowl.
As in years past the first three Sun home games will be played on a Saturday night, under the lights with kick off at 7:00pm against the Rebels, Rams and Huskers.
Following the Labour Day bye, the remaining two Sun home games will be Sunday afternoons at 1:00pm (Sept 13 and 20) against the Raiders and Broncos.
The final two regular season games, the Sun find themselves on the road in Westshore and Kamloops on September 26th and October 3rd.
The last time the BCFC played a balanced schedule (2011) the Sun finished the regular season 8-2.
Season tickets are on sale now for the 2015 season, click HERE for more details.
The Sun will open Spring Camp May 29-31, 2015
Photo courtesy of Greystoke Photography
The Okanagan Sun will be well represented at the 40th City of Kelowna Civic Awards this year with two members being named finalists.
After a recording setting season Robbie Yochim’s (pictured) accomplishments continue to garner the RSS grad accolades as he’s been named a finalist for the Top Male Athlete of the Year award.
Yochim’s accomplishments have been well documented as he prepares to attend McMaster University in the fall and play for the Marauders.
Former Sun board member Todd Sanderson has been named a finalist for Man of the Year.
The awards recognize volunteers, artists, athletes and business leaders through 12 categories and 17 awards. The recipients will be revealed April 30 at a gala ceremony at Kelowna Community Theatre.
“We are pleased with the exceptional nominations received in each of the award categories for this milestone year,” said Louise Roberts, the city's community and neighbourhood services manager.
“The awards highlight our residents, businesses and organizations that have made a significant contribution to making our city a better place to live.”
Good luck to Robbie and Todd!
Jeremy Bell played for the Sun from 2005-2009 returning kicks and playing a solid defensive back position.
Following his time with the Sun, Bell played for the University of Alberta Golden Bears where again he excelled.
While attending the University of Alberta Bell began taking steps to become a strength and conditioning coach and now he’s back in junior football as a member of the Edmonton Wildcats coaching staff. Bell is not only the Wildcats’ strength and conditioning coach but also the defensive backs coach for the 2015 season.
Wildcats head coach Darcy Park says “one of the biggest off-season additions is the hiring of Jeremy Bell as the team’s strength and conditioning coach.”
Does Bell think playing with the Sun helped him land the position with the Wildcats?
“Playing with the Sun and just football in general taught me many things such as work ethic, team work how to work with different personalities. But I would have to say the single greatest thing playing for the Sun taught me excellence, excellence in life, in school, in relationships in every aspect of life. Do not settle for mediocre or just good enough, prepare like a champion, work like a champion and good things will come out of it.”
Bell says he will not only help the Wildcats with their strength, but help them prevent injury as well;
“Our strength and conditioning program it is very comprehensive, no stone has been left unturned in regards to preparing our players to maximize their athletic potential. Strength and conditioning is my absolute passion and I have spent countless hours building a program that I feel will give my athletes a competitive edge over any program in the country. My philosophy as a strength coach is centered around building strong athletes of course but our number one focus is injury prevention, a player is no good to his coaches and teammates if he isn’t on the field to express his athletic ability so while being able to deadlift 500 pounds may look good on paper, if you are hurt all the time and not on the field you are no good to your team, so again my philosophy is to build athletes that are resistant to injury as well as strong and explosive.”
Over the course of four seasons with the Sun, Bell became very familiar with the franchise and now is looking for similarities with the Wildcats;
“I would say the Cats organization has some similarities in regards to their championship pedigree but I don’t think the mystique is quite the same as you have with the Okanagan Sun. The Sun is a focal point in the community and it’s a special privilege to play for the organization. Now I’m not saying it isn’t a privilege to play for the Cats but its prestige is a little different due to the sport climate in a large market such as Edmonton. In Edmonton you have a number of professional sports franchises to compete with as well as another junior team the Edmonton Huskies and of course the University of Alberta Golden Bears whom I played defensive back for and was also the assistant defensive backs coach in 2012.”
What about teammates, does Bell see and similarities between his teammates with the Sun and the players he’s met on the Wildcats roster?
“As for right now I haven’t really spent enough time around the guys to really make that judgment. There is one player by the name of Cockburn who is an offensive lineman and he kind of reminds me of Travis Miller, super out spoken kind of gets a hard time from the guys but they all love him.”
One of the most difficult aspects for a player becoming a coach for the first time, is letting go of his playing days. Wanting to jump into the play or lead by example on the field can be hard to get over. Bell has been able to transition nicely, but if age wasn’t a factor could he suit up for the Wildcats if they needed him in the secondary?
“I could most definitely suit up right now, I’m actually a much more prepared athlete now than I was during my days with the sun. My pursuit of strength and conditioning has allowed me to really maximize my own abilities physically, something I wish I could have done more of while playing with the Sun. I recently got a hat trick of interceptions in my last touch league game! So I think it’s safe to say Coach Bell still has it!”
So with the Canadian Bowl held in the PFC champion in 2015, is Bell hoping for a Sun vs. Wildcat national championship?
“As far as a Wildcats vs Sun Canadian Bowl it’s an intriguing thought but not something that is even on my radar at this point. We have a tremendous amount of work to do to prepare ourselves for the season so at this point I won’t be making any kind of predictions, we will let our work and preparation speak for itself and let the chips fall where they may.”
The Sun and Wildcats have only met each other once. In 1983 the Wildcats snuck past the Sun 29-28 to win the Inter-Conference championship, before beating Ottawa in the Armadale Cup (now the Canadian Bowl) 30-11.
The Sun will open their 34th Spring Camp on May 29th.
For the fourth consecutive year the BC Lions have opened their doors to the British Columbia Football Conference. 15 BCFC players have received invitations to the Lions Spring Evaluation Camp, taking place May 3-4 and there are more invitations expected to be sent out.
According to the Lions there are a number of reasons why these players were selected to show off their talents. Seven of the 15 players were members of the Okanagan Sun in 2014.
The story book ending for Robbie Yochim’s junior football career continues to be written, as he has been invited for the second straight year. Joining Yochim for the second time will be Jonas Gering, Michele Vecchio, Brennan Van Nistelrooy and Matt McConnell.
The two Sun players making their first appearance at Lions Evaluation Camp will be Dexter Janke and Cliff Crews (pictured).
The Camp will take place over the course of two days at the Lions training facility in Surrey.
Good luck guys!
Here is the complete list of players from the BCFC that have been invited:
Michele Vecchio – Okanagan Sun
Brennan Van Nistelrooy – Okanagan Sun
Cliff Crews – Okanagan Sun
Dexter Janke – Okanagan Sun
Robbie Yochim – Okanagan Sun
Jonas Gering – Okanagan Sun
Matt McConnell – Okanagan Sun
John Beckerleg – Langley Rams
Anthony Daley – Langley Rams
Nathan Lund – Langley Rams
Malcolm Williams – Langley Rams
Tyron Ledingham – Valley Huskers
Devin Csincsa – Kamloops Broncos
Derek Yachison – Kamloops Broncos
Marshall Cook – VI Raiders
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