Close to 90 athletes and coaches on team rosters competing for national championships
106th Grey Cup to be decided Sunday in Edmonton, 54th Vanier Cup goes Saturday in Laval
In the biggest football weekend in Canada, there will be a major alumni presence on USports and CFL rosters vying for national supremacy.
On Saturday, the 54th Vanier Cup will be hosted in Laval, Quebec. Close to 70 national and provincial alumni are scattered over both the Western Mustangs and Laval Rouge et Or rosters. An additional four coaches who will be on the sidelines have also played roles in international, national and provincial teams.
Meanwhile, 16 athletes and one coach who have represented their country on an international stage or adorned their provincial jerseys to compete at previous Football Canada Cup tournaments will take to the field at Commonwealth Stadium on Sunday for the 106th Grey Cup.
Athletes belong to the Junior National Program and/or Provincial Programs. The Junior National Team competes in IFAF sanctioned events such as the World Junior Championships, International Bowl and North American Championship and the program itself is run by Football Canada. Meanwhile, the Provincial Programs provides opportunities for athletes to develop locally and are governed by Football Canada. The Provincial Sport Organizations run these programs and it prepares athletes to compete in the Football Canada’s national under-18 championship, the Football Canada Cup.
Highlighting the alumni on the Grey Cup rosters is Ottawa Redblacks linebacker Chris Ackie and defensive lineman Daryl Waud who represented Canada on the World Team that took on the United States at the 2012 International Bowl in Austin, Texas. Meanwhile, Calgary Stampeders long snapper Pierre-Luc Caron helped Canada win their first gold medal ever at the 2012 IFAF World Junior Championships in Austin, Texas under head coach and current Redblacks
Additionally, a trio of Stampeders were silver medalists when they represented Canada at the 2014 Championship in Kuwait – defensive back Royce Metchie as well as offensive linemen Ryan Sceviour and Justin Lawrence. Stampeders wide receiver Adam Thibault also claimed silver with the Junior National Team at the 2009 event in Canton, Ohio under head coach Glen Constantin, who is at the helm of the Laval Rouge et Or who are hosting the Western Mustangs in the 54th Vanier Cup.
Between the Rouge et Or and Mustangs, there are 18 athletes who have been part of the national program. Six of them helped Canada win gold at the 2012 IFAF World Junior Under-19 championships in Arlington, Texas – quarterback Hugo Richard (Laval), running back Christopher Amoah (Laval), receiver Alexandre Savard (Laval), linebacker Marc Antoine Varin (Laval), defensive back Kevin McGee (Laval) and defensive lineman Clement Lebreux (Laval).
Another seven Rouge et Or players were part of Team Canada that earned a silver medal at the 2014 IFAF World Junior Championships in Kuwait – offensive lineman Pierre-Karl Lanctot, offensive lineman Samuel Thomassin, receiver Marc-Antoine Pivin, defensive lineman Mathieu Betts, running back Philippe Lessard-Vezina, defensive back Louis-Philippe St. Amant and kicker Dominic Levesque.
An additional five athletes were part of Canada’s 2016 IFAF World Junior Championship gold medal team from Harbin, China – offensive lineman Samuel Lefebvre (Laval), receiver Mathieu Robitaille (Laval), receiver Jordan Duprey (Laval), offensive lineman Philippe Robitaille (Laval) and receiver Francois Rocheleau (Western).
Not only is Constantin coaching alumni, but so is Mustangs head coach Greg Marshall. The Western Mustangs head coach helped Canada to a silver medal finish at the 2011 IFAF Senior Men’s Championship in Austria as the team’s offensive coordinator. Additionally, Marshall represented Canada as head coach of the IFAF World Team at the 2012 International Bowl.
Mustangs offensive coordinator Steve Snyder was the offensive coordinator of under-17 Junior National Team that competed at the 2017 North American Championship in Orlando, Florida as well as head coach of the Nova Scotia provincial team at both the 2015 Football Canada Cup in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec and the 2016 tournament in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Meanwhile, offensive line coach JP Circelli was a coach with Ontario at both the 2017 Football Canada Cup in Wolfville and this past July’s event in Calgary, Alberta. He will lead the provincial team as head coach at the 2019 event in Kingston, Ontario.
- Out of the CFL alumni that have represented their province at Football Canada Cup, 3 from Alberta, 6 from Ontario, 2 from Saskatchewan and 1 from British Columbia
- Out of the USports alumni that have represented their province at Football Canada Cup, 27 are from Quebec, 17 from Ontario, four from British Columbia, one from Nova Scotia, one from Alberta and one from Manitoba
- 5 athletes (USports and CFL combined), won gold at the 2016 IFAF World Junior Championships in Harbin, China after defeating rival United States
- 10 athletes (USports and CFL combined) claimed silver at the 2014 IFAF World Junior Championships in Kuwait
- 7 athletes (USports and CFL combined) helped Canada win their first ever gold medal at the 2012 World Junior Championships after upsetting the United States on their home turf in Austin, Texas.
- 2 USports athletes participated in the 2017 North American Championships in Florida
- A total of 16 athletes (USports and CFL combined have participated in a four different International Bowls (2012 – 2018 except 2017 because of North American Championship)
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