Down, set, hut!
The 2022 Canadian Bowl champion Okanagan Sun open the 2023 season on Saturday, July 29 at the Prince George Kodiaks.
Expectations couldn’t be higher for the Sun, who went an undefeated 14-0 last season, winning the British Columbia Football Conference (BCFC), Intergold Cup, and the Canadian Bowl. They outscored opponents 589-195 over the 14 games.
But according to head coach Travis Miller, the goal is the same, but this is a much different team than last season.
“Our group is gelling and coming together as best as possible,” said Miller. “Each year the culture is a little bit different, I don’t think you can have the same culture year in and year out, it’s specific to the group of individuals you have and how communication occurs. From where I’m sitting, we’re just trying to do the right things and make sure everyone has a sense of urgency and competitiveness so they can keep taking that step every week and develop throughout the year. We have an opportunity to put a product on the field and that’s what everybody is looking forward to.”
The team saw 23 players graduate after last season, making half of the 2023 completely brand new.
While the goal of winning the Canadian championship is the same, Miller looks at it from a different prospective for many reasons, including the turnover the team encountered this offseason.
“We’re not looking at trying to repeat, we’re looking to try and win it again, and I think there’s a big difference between those two things,” said Miller. “From our standpoint as a leadership group and as an organization, we’re not looking to try to repeat. I think that’s the first pitfall, if you’re trying to do the same thing from the year before with new players. We’re trying to win each game and put the next foot in front of the other and put our team down the right path.”
Last season’s BCFC title was their first since 2015 and 17th in franchise history. The Canadian Bowl was the third in franchise history and first since 2000.
Kick off for Saturday’s season opener is set for 7 p.m. at Masich Place Stadium in Prince George.
The Sun’s home opener will take place on Saturday, August 5 when they welcome the Valley Huskers to the Apple Bowl.