Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Kodiaks return to Masich Stadium for training camp this weekend

Ninety players converge on field to compete for positions heading into team's third B.C. Football Conference season

Get ready for some football Prince George, the Kodiaks are back on the field.

The city’s junior football team officially begins Year 3 in the B.C. Football Conference with its first camp workouts on the field at Masich Stadium tonight from 6-8 p.m.

Ninety players, half of which are from the Prince George area, have gathered to start competing for jobs and the Kodiaks will be on the field throughout the day Saturday, with workouts planned from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday’s sessions go from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. All are free for the public to attend.

The season starts on Saturday, July 20 when the Vancouver Island Raiders pay their first-ever visit to Prince George.

Head coach and director of football operations Jamie Boreham is back for his second season at the helm and has worked throughout the cold-weather months keeping the core of the team busy with indoor football workouts and weight training/conditioning sessions that should have them ready to go.

“I’m excited to work with them, lots of guys have taken big strides in their personal and football development and I’m looking forward to getting them on the field,” said Boreham. “They’re not just practicing to practice. They’re practicing with a purpose and I think our guys understand that a lot better this year.

“We’re going to find out of all the things we’ve done over the last 12 months have made the difference. I think we’ve increased our athleticism and increased our championship mindset and we’re going to see some improvement on the field and some great battles.”

Boreham has added former teammate Chris Szarka to his coaching staff as offensive coordinator. Szarka played 13 years at fullback/special teams in the CFL with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

“In any organization, to be successful you need consistency, and obviously Jamie is more prepared for this season,” said Kodiaks president Craig Briere. “You’re seeing that with the enhancements to our coaching staff with Chris Szraka joining our staff this season, you’re seeing more off-season training with the players and there’s a very strong recruiting class this year, which addresses some of the needs we had as a team last year.”

As expected, the Kodiaks went through growing pains their first two seasons. They’re coming off a 2-8 record in 2023 after going 1-9 in their inaugural season. They’re an older, more experienced bunch now and they expect to win more than a few games.

“Our average age the first two seasons was extremely young, closer to 19 (the age range in the Canadian Junior Football League is 17-22) and it’s creeping up slightly because we have 21-year-olds on our roster,” said Briere. “Our team is still backed by local players from Prince George. That is the heart of our team and where a majority of the players come from. Jamie has also done a great job of getting players that want to be here from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.”

Briere says it’s only a matter of time before the Kodiaks develop their first Canadian Football League player. Fullback Matt Pearce (Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 1989-95) and defensive back/safety Remi Trudel (B.C. Lions/Ottawa Rough Riders, 1989-95) were the only Prince George-born players to ever play in the CFL.

“That CFL player could be on our roster this year, we just don’t know that,” said Briere. “It could be Noah Lank, who played for us in Year 1, and is at the University of Saskatchewan. It could be Connor Sherlock, who’s on our offensive line, or Taeman Piddocke, who’s in our secondary. Those kids have that potential.

“We want to make a push for the playoffs this year, which would be unheard of for a CJFL third-year team and more importantly we want to make a push to host a playoff game. We’re starting to have all the components of being a team that can push for those top spots, it’s just a matter of time.”

Kodiaks receiver Jerome Erickson grew up playing football for the College Heights Cougars. Heading into his final season of junior eligibility he likes what he’s seen in his team already.

“There’s definitely a lot more confidence in the air, it’s a better feeling coming in, we’re not here to let anybody push us around,” said Erickson. “A lot of guys stayed here and Jamie doesn’t mess around. It was definitely a better off-season and we’re excited to get going”

The community-owned Kodiaks averaged just under 2,000 fans in attendance for their five home games last year at Masich Stadium and the Prince George atmosphere on game days was ranked third in the entire CJFL, behind the national-champion Saskatoon Hilltops and Regina Thunder.

“It’s an amazing feeling we get from the fans no matter what the score is and hopefully by the end of the season we’ll be ranked Number 1,” said Erickson. “No matter what time of year or the weather, they’ll be screaming and it’s a great feeling. I’ll remember that forever.

“It’s not just a game, there’s activities for the kids, the halftime show, it’s an experience like no other. We need the fans. It gives us a huge advantage and gives us a reputation in the league that we’re here to stay.”

Tickets are available online. Single game tickets range from $10 (at the gate) for Fan Zone (end zone) spots to $28 for grandstand tickets. Season tickets cost $50 (Fan Zone) and $108 (grandstand). A family four-pack in the grandstand is $332.

Kodiaks home games will start an hour earlier this season, at 6 p.m., to encourage more families with young kids to attend.

“We’re a non-profit volunteer organization and at the end of the day we want to make sure people can afford to come to our games,” said Briere. “You can have fun with your kids and not break the bank and you’re supporting local when you come to a Kodiaks game. Forty players are from our community and those are all young men who have jobs or are going to UNBC or CNC. They’re kids who have grown up here who are going to coach football and who are going to be our future leaders.”

Camp sessions will continue next week Monday-Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at the Kodiaks practice facility off Austin Road.

Two years ago the Kodiaks took over the city lease of several baseball diamond adjacent to the Hart Community Centre that were no longer in use. They’ve been busy ever since, restoring the grass to make the field suitable for a football.