Sports

Blokker to coach in Prairie conference

The V.I. Raiders won't face their former coach unless they make it to the biggest games.

Matthew (Snoop) Blokker was announced as the new head coach of the Calgary Colts on Thursday. His new job begins Jan. 6.

"I'm really excited for a new chapter," Blokker said. "Having a chance to be in a big market and a big city and coach football, it's a pretty exciting time for me."

The Raiders announced two weeks ago that Blokker had opted not to re-sign for a 10th season as head coach in Nanaimo. He wished to pursue a full-time head coaching job, he said, and that option presented itself right away – he said he was in a position where he was choosing between five junior football clubs and could have stayed within the B.C. Football Conference.

The Colts made it clear they wanted him.

"I can make football the No. 1 thing as far as income and my job and whatever else I do will be second," Blokker said. "I'm excited for that opportunity."

The Colts finished last in the Prairie Football Conference in 2013 with an 0-8 record, but Blokker said the club's executives stressed that they want to contend for a national championship.

"I think that they're more talented than what their record was and it's a great challenge," Blokker said.

The PFC is the highest-calibre conference in the Canadian Junior Football League and the Colts will face tough opponents every week of the season. The club has almost 50 years of history and a large group of alumni and supporters that Blokker will need to get to know, not to mention a new roster of players and a staff of assistant coaches.

"The workload for me is going to be huge and it's going to be a big learning curve, but that's also what makes it really exciting," he said.

The Colts play their home games at McMahon Stadium. The BCFC champions will host the national semifinal in 2014 and the Canadian Bowl in 2015 and so depending on the fortunes of the Colts and Raiders, maybe Blokker will be back in Nanaimo before long, on the visitors' sideline.

"It would be awesome to be able to play a game in a new Caledonia Stadium," he said.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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