FCC2017 PREVIEW: New Brunswick
Coming into the 2017 Football Canada Cup, Team New Brunswick is embracing the underdog role.
Despite the challenge, the team wants to focus on the positives of this tournament that benefit their provincial football program.
“I think its an awesome opportunity for our kids to showcase themselves at that national level,” commented New Brunswick Head Coach Chris Hopkins. “It’s an awesome opportunity to develop at that level and become great players and that’s what we look forward too and that’s first and foremost.”
While they may be one of the smaller provinces competing in the tournament, New Brunswick plans to put on their best performance while achieving a couple of key goals in the process.
“You are going to expect a passionate and dedicated group, ready to showcase themselves on the national stage,” added Hopkins. “Obviously when it comes to New Brunswick being a smaller province, we have a unique focus on development and as well as high performance.”
“If there’s anything we’re going to showcase, it’s one, how hard we’re going to play for every down and secondly what kind of talent is available in New Brunswick even though we are such a small province.”
Offensively, lineman Taylor Burns as well as receivers Matt LaFleur, Scott Perry and Cody Barton are expected to lead the unit. Meanwhile, returning players Aidan Steeves and Jerome Tshimpanglia guide New Brunswick’s defence. Additionally, Reece Martin and Alex Ferris are players to watch on defence along with Lucas Cormier, who anchors the secondary.
Kicker Ben George highlights New Brunswick’s special teams unit.
The team faces Saskatchewan in their opening game on Saturday July 8th at 1:00pm AT.
“Saskatchewan is a spectacular program; what they’ve done in Saskatchewan is very impressive,” Hopkins said of their opponent. “It’s the type of thing we want to model ourselves after is taking pride in ourselves that we have 10-man football.”
“They have 9-man football and 6-man football there. We’re starting to take advantage of those opportunities and just growing the game in New Brunswick. I think Saskatchewan has been that trophy, kind of that example thus far. It’s a very classy group that the coaching staff is a very technical group that understands the fundamentals of football. We’ll be tested but no matter what, we’re going to go there and compete and give them everything that we’ve got and I wouldn’t expect anything less from Saskatchewan.”
While New Brunswick knows it won’t be an easy task facing the 2016 Football Canada Cup silver medallists. However, they are heading into Wolfville upbeat and positive
“They know they are playing a resilient group and that’s the biggest things for us is making sure that our kids compete for 48 minutes each day and everyday; they’re committed to getting better,” expressed Hopkins. “Everything for us is about developing great athletes and developing great football players.”
“Last year was one of the best years in terms of showcasing our talent and providing them an opportunity to play at the next level. This is something that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. Hopefully we can provide a positive experience for them.”
TEAM NEW BRUNSWICK:
2016 RESULT: Defeated Manitoba Silver 25-12 to earn seventh place
HEAD COACH: Chris Hopkins – 4th year as Head Coach, was a positional coach in 2012, 2013
NUMBER OF RETURNING PLAYERS: 4
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
|Matt LaFleur||REC||Leo Hayes|
|Scott Perry||REC||Leo Hayes|
|Reece Martin||DL||Harrison Trimble|
|Alec Ferris||LB||Leo Hayes|
This post is also available in: French