2014 football season kicks off
Bisons football returns to Investors Group Field on Friday, September 12
Is this the year? The Manitoba Bisons football team has crept closer to a conference title during the last couple seasons. Two years ago, the program played in a post-season game for the first time since the 2007 Vanier Cup Championship season. In 2013, the Bisons won their first playoff game since that championship season and were a Canada West finalist.
On paper, the team brings back a veteran laden core with 10 of the 12 starters on offence and eight of 12 starters on defence from last season.
Head coach Brian Dobie, in his 19th season at the helm, is excited for the team assembled but knows it will be a difficult road in the highly competitive Canada West conference. Perennial powerhouse Calgary looks to extend their record conference title run to seven seasons while UBC and Saskatchewan are better than last years’ playoff squads. In addition, Regina seeks a strong campaign in head coach Frank McCrystal’s final season as coach and Alberta has greatly improved during the off-season.
“This year, like last year, is a continuum that we need to be as productive as possible from key fourth and fifth year players,” said head coach Brian Dobie. “The group gained valuable experience in the Canada West playoffs in 2013 and we need to accelerate moving forward this season. This is a very good group that competes in arguably the toughest conference in the nation. The group needs to take the next step and excited to watch the squad builds to a point to be truly competitive in 2014. I can’t wait for the season to start!”
Depth and strong recruiting season was necessary to stay in the mix for this year’s conference title to offset some of the key losses: CIS All-Canadian RB/KR Anthony Coombs, LB Thomas Miles, SB Andrew Smith and K Nick Boyd.
The Bisons start 2014 on the road at Saskatchewan, one of the toughest place to play on the road in CIS, play Calgary twice and begin the campaign with the first three of five regular season games on the road. The task of ending the drought of conference titles will not be easy. The advantage of the new era of Bison Football has been in full effect with the first full off-season at the new Investors Group Field. The players have trained, bonded and committed to a higher level to match the competitive nature of Canada West and will now try to answer the question if indeed, this is the year.
Tonight’s season opener against Saskatchewan kicks-off the season at 8:00pm. The game will be televised live on ShawTV (channel 9 in Winnipeg and Shaw Direct channel 229). Next week the team returns home to host the Regina Rams at Investors Group Field. The home opener starts at 7:00pm, but come early to experience the biggest and best pep rally the University of Manitoba has ever seen. Purchase tickets and season passes online at Ticketmaster.ca.
Read the full Bisons football season preview, and more Bisons news at www.gobisons.ca.