After a two-year pandemic pause, football teams from all over Canada are in Kelowna for the return of the 2022 pre-university Canada Cup. The best players from across the country are representing their respective provinces with their eyes set on a national championship.
“I get to showcase my skills out here with other great athletes and great players, the best around the country and it’s an opportunity to play in front of scouts,” said Max Gainey, Team BC outside linebacker.
Team BC’s roaster has talent from across the province, including 9 players from the Southern Interior, all of which are thrilled to be playing so close to home.
“My whole family lives in Kelowna so they’re all coming out,” said Rocco Williams, Team BC defensive end.
“My buddies live in Kelowna, all my friends – they’re coming out to represent us and it impacts us and how we play because all the hype is great, and we really need that here.”
Playing against some of the countries best and competing for a championship title is something that one of Team BC’s defensive backs from Vernon has dreamt of for many years.
“It’s huge for me,” said Braden Khunkhun, Team BC defensive back.
“I’ve been watching this tournament for years now, so to be here it’s just surreal.”
For many parents in attendance, seeing their sons play in such a prestigious event is what makes all the years of early morning car-rides to practice and late nights watching from the bleachers worth it.
“It’s really exciting for us as a family,” said proud parent Kelly Jones.
“We’re up here and we’re just so proud of him and everything he’s done to make it onto the team and all his hard work.”
Shortly before Team BC faced Team New Brunswick at the Apple Bowl on Friday, former CFL player and current Team BC head coach watched his son score his first CFL touchdown from the screen of his iPad. The proud father, unable to hide his smile, said he hopes to see the players on Team BC follow their dreams after the Canada Cup ends.
“I do this to see these kids have an opportunity to go to university and be able to have great careers, and that’s the reason why we’re here,” said Cory Philpot, Team BC head coach.
“To make sure that these kids have an opportunity to go be successful in their lives.”
The final day of the tournament is Sunday, and because Team BC is the host, they’ll have an automatic entry into the medal round.