Canadian Football League training camps have been underway for a week, and, as usual, there are several Huskies throughout the league vying for roster spots.
There are 13 University of Saskatchewan Huskies in CFL training camps, one more than each of the Laval Rouge et Or, the Western Mustangs and the Calgary Dinos. The St. Mary’s Huskies are next with 11 players.
Not surprisingly, the Saskatchewan Roughriders have the most Huskies on their training camp roster, with five players trying out. This includes 2012 first overall draft pick Ben Heenan, as well as receiver Scott McHenry, fullback Graeme Bell, offensive tackle Paddy Neufeld, and cornerback Paul Woldu.
The Edmonton Eskimos, Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Calgary Stampeders each have two Huskies in their camps, with kicker Grant Shaw and linebacker Peter Thiel competing in Edmonton, wide receivers Jade Etienne and Rory Kohlert are trying out in Winnipeg, while defensive back Keenan MacDougall and offensive lineman Dale Furber are playing in Calgary.
The Toronto Argonauts and Montreal Alouettes each have one Huskie in their camps, with receiver Chad Rempel and offensive lineman Scott Flory in the camps of the Argonauts and Alouettes, respectively.
The Roughriders travelled to Griffiths Stadium for a practice on Saturday. The former Huskies on the team were happy to show their teammates one of the top college football facilities in Canada, according to Joel Gasson of News Talk 980 in Regina:
Heenan certainly was the centre of attenion for many, after being the first overall selection in the CFL draft, but he doesn’t forget his university roots.
“This is obviously something we take great pride in,” said Heenan of the faciity.
Heenan doesn’t have to look far to find a friend either, with fellow offensive lineman Patrick Neufeld also coming from the university.
“Being on the team last year, I still have some friends,” said Neufeld. “Ben (Heenan) and I are very close, we talk all the time, sit next to each other in meetings. We help each other out all the time.”
Neufeld also joked that he and the other players from the university have been acting kind of like tour guides showing off the building to the guys from other schools.
Of the 12 Huskies in training camps, three have eligibility remaining and could return to the team in 2012. That includes linebacker Peter Thiel, who has started at middle linebacker since 2008, defensive back Keenan MacDougall and wide receiver Jade Etienne. Etienne was a first round pick of the Blue Bombers in 2011 and played for Winnipeg last season. In the unlikely event he was to return to the Huskies, he would be entering his fifth and final year of CIS football.