Manitoban influence strong at Sun camp

As many as 16 players from the Prairie province, most from Winnipeg, could suit up for Okanagan team in 2013 BCFC season

Linebacker Lucas Machado is among a strong contingent of Winnipeg-born players who are attending the Okanagan Sun's spring camp

Even though it’s three provinces, two time zones and 1,900 kilometres away, the city of Winnipeg is likely to play a prominent role in the success of the Okanagan Sun in 2013.

Between returning players and new recruits, the B.C. Football Conference Club could have as many as 16 players from the Manitoba capital in its lineup this season.

All will be testing the waters in Kelowna this weekend at the Sun’s annual spring camp.

Among new Winnipeggers already committed to the Sun is Lucas Machado, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker from the St. Paul’s High School Crusaders.

Machado, who was key in St. Paul’s run to the Manitoba title in 2011, said the honesty and infectious enthusiasm of new Sun head coach Shane Beatty sold the young linebacker on making the big trip west.

“It was Coach Beatty, for sure,” said Machado, 18. “Obviously they have a great support staff there, too, but (Shane) was the main reason. He was texting me everyday, he’s been very up front and honest and you don’t have to read between the lines with him. He’s made me very excited about being in Kelowna and I’m excited to get started.”

Beatty has been working on some other potential key recruits from Winnipeg, many of whom are also being courted by the Vancouver Island Raiders.

Six-foot-five quarterback Theo Deezar, along a pair of 6-foot-5 receivers—Zach Regert and Paul Childs—will be at spring camp and are all Winnipeg products who Beatty would love to see wearing orange and brown.

“These guys would be impact players,” Beatty said. “All of them are big and strong, and good kids who would be great additions to our team.”

The Manitoba capital has provided the Sun with some key players in the past, including the likes of Adam Eckert, Dan Turek and Jordan Fast.

As many as six Manitoba natives are expected to return in 2013, including Tommy Howes, Jamie Turek, Sean Mason and Devon Kozar (Portage la Prairie), all of whom proved to be helpful to Beatty when it came to recruiting in their home province.

If the Sun end up with 15 or more Manitobans on the roster, it will be unprecedented territory.

“We’ve always had a few Winnipeg guys on the team, but nothing like this I can recall would rival this,” said Sun head coach Jay Christensen. “It’s a combination of things, the guys from Winnipeg who we have playing with us have rallied the troops and have generated a lot of interest in our team. It’s also a bit of a bubble we haven’t seen, where there are a lot of players from there who are available and looking for places to play.”

Shane Beatty will conduct his first spring camp as head coach of the Sun this weekend, with between 90 and 110 players expected to go through the paces.

Beatty is excited to get a firsthand look at the the club’s prospective talent as the Sun looks to rebound from a disappointing 3-and-7 performance in 2012.

“It’s a great opportunity to see what we have and to see what we still need,” said Beatty. “Camp should answer a lot of questions. I haven’t seen the kids perform yet, so we should get a good evaluation of the talent and a good start to the season.”

Beatty expects 46 to 48 returnees at camp and close to the same number of newcomers, including 20 to 25 from Kelowna and area high schools.

Practises are set for 9:45 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Apple Bowl/Parkinson practise fields.

On Sunday, practise begins at 9 a.m., followed by a scrimmage that is expected to run until about 1:30 p.m.


Just Posted

More thunderstorms on the way as fires still burn

Environment Canada is forecasting lightning for the Okanagan and Shuswap

Shadow Ridge links celebrate 30th anniversary

Kelowna golf course looks to overcome adversity

Line-up announced for RCMP Musial Ride in Kelowna

The family friendly event takes place August 9

Neighbours jump into action after grass fire ignites 10 feet from Kelowna home

Multiple fire halls responded to a grass fire on the 800 block of Mount Royal Drive.

UBC researchers uncover new ways to reduce opioid abuse

Nanotechnologies can help screen patients and classify at-risk people

VIDEO: Vernon residents quick to jump on lightning fire

Thanks to the residents’ efforts, crews were able to quickly suppress the fire.

South Okanagan firefighters save veteran’s house

33 members, with the help of B.C. Wildfire, protect Second World War veterans home from fire

One year later: Still no suspects in killing of 13-year-old B.C. girl

Marrisa Shen was killed in Burnaby’s Central Park on July 18, 2017

Pike Mountain fire still out of control but did not grow overnight

Twenty-two new blazes reported in Kamloops Fire Centre Tuesday

BC Games opening ceremonies promise to be magical

Features Shane Koyczan and his band, Asani, parade of athletes, and lots more

VIDEO: Toronto Raptors send DeMar DeRozan to Spurs in colossal NBA trade

Toronto also sent Jakob Poeltl and 2019 first-round pick, gets Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green

Banff’s bathroom bears returned to the park after 15 months of rehab in Ontario

Black bears, now yearlings, were sent to the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Ontario last April

‘Recovery high schools,’ per diems urged to better manage addiction in B.C.

BC Centre for Substance Use says focus needs to shift to from overdose prevention to long-term care

Most Read