Canada West stands out with over 50 CFL players
Canada West Sports Info
EDMONTON – Once again Canada West Athletics has a huge class of former student-athletes spread across the Canadian Football League, this time numbering 52 as the 2011 season begins.
Heading the list of schools which have contributed to the pro ranks are the Saskatchewan Huskies, with an even dozen including two-time Hardy Cup winner and 2007 Grey Cup winner, 17-year veteran offensive guard Gene Makowsky, easily the longest-serving active Canada West graduate.
All six active Canada West schools and Simon Fraser have contributed to the CFL, with 44 of those active, two on practice rosters and six on injured reserve.
Behind Saskatchewan are the Calgary Dinos at 10, Regina Rams and Simon Fraser, each with nine former conference players, followed by the Manitoba Bisons (5), Alberta Golden Bears (4) and UBC Thunderbirds (3).
On the reverse side of the equation the Saskatchewan Roughriders, which have been to three of the last four Grey Cup championships and won it all in 2007, have 12 former CWUAA players on their 2011 roster. Next are the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, with 11, and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at nine. Canada West graduates hold down seven roster spots on the two-time defending Grey Cup champion Montreal Alouettes, while the Edmonton Eskimos and Toronto Argonauts each have four. The B.C. Lions have a trio of former members and the Calgary Stampeders two.
Among new additions to the league are a trio of wide receivers: Dinos All-Star Anthony Parker, taken third overall by Calgary in the 2011 CFL draft, Huskies CIS All-Canadian Jade Etienne, (4th, Winnipeg) and fifth selection Nathan Coehoorn (Edmonton), another Dinos All-Star. While punter / kicker Hugh O’Neill was impressive in preseason, he was placed on nine-game injured reserve by the B.C. Lions. A third 2010 Dinos All-Star offensive linemen Paul Swiston (24th, Winnipeg) and Alexander Krausnick-Groh (27th, Saskatchewan) have both managed to stick with their respective clubs right out of the university ranks.
A few players have remained in the league, but changed teams, including former Regina Rams wideout Chris Bauman, now with the Edmonton Eskimos and, after an unsuccessful 2010 tryout with the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, WR Jordan Sisco (Regina) has made the Roughriders. Sisco returned last season, but was immediately placed on the practice roster. Ironically, Sisco now gets his CFL shot as star receiver Andy Fantuz heads south for a chance with the Chicago Bears.
Three former members of the perfect 12-0 Manitoba Bisons 2007 Vanier Cup team are still in the league as DT Eddie Steel (Hamilton), DL Don Oramasionwu (Winnipeg) and S Brady Browne (Winnipeg) are still going strong. Former Alberta Golden Bear Simeon Rottier, picked first overall in 2009 by Hamilton, remains a key member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ offensive line.
Two Canada West players remain with NFL teams as they approach training camp – DT Israel Idonije (Chicago) and P Jon Ryan (Seattle).
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