Coach Snoop won’t be back with V.I. Raiders

Matthew (Snoop) Blokker announced Thursday that he won’t be re-signing as head coach of Nanaimo’s Canadian Junior Football League team.

Matthew (Snoop) Blokker celebrates with his team after winning the B.C. Football Conference championship in October at Caledonia Park.

Matthew (Snoop) Blokker celebrates with his team after winning the B.C. Football Conference championship in October at Caledonia Park.

Coaching changes are coming at Caledonia Park – Coach Snoop won’t be back with the V.I. Raiders.

Matthew (Snoop) Blokker announced Thursday that he won’t be re-signing as head coach of Nanaimo’s Canadian Junior Football League team.

“I feel in my heart it’s time and I feel good about it,” he said. “I’ve known this throughout pretty much the whole year and it hasn’t changed.”

Blokker said he’s looking for a new challenge somewhere where he can coach football as a full-time job. The Raiders club, he said, doesn’t have the financial means to be able to make that kind of offer.

“The next level is where there’s definitely opportunities for jobs and I’ve got to work towards that,” he said. “In the junior level there’s only a few clubs that do that.”

Blokker won’t be heading to any other B.C. team, he assured. He has an agent to help him in his job hunt and he has the support of his family to make a move.

“To pack our bags and move because there’s an opportunity to better ourself as a family and move ahead in a career, that’s life…” he said. “We’re a football family and all they know is football. The hardest thing in the world was trying to explain to my son that I’m no longer the head coach for the Raiders.”

Blokker helped to bring junior football to Nanaimo alongside team owner Hadi Abassi in 2005, first trying to move the Victoria Rebels club and then instead being granted an expansion franchise in the B.C. Football Conference.

He coached the team from 2005-2007 and from 2008-2013, leading the Raiders to six BCFC championships, five Canadian Bowl appearances and three national titles. During that time he also became the winningest coach in B.C. junior football history.

After his last win at Caledonia Park, a provincial championship victory in October, Blokker said he didn’t leave the field until hours later.

“That was a really emotional time for me,” he said. “I spent some time by myself on that field and I knew in my heart and my mind that was probably the last game I was going to coach on that field.”

He feels as though he’s leaving the team in great shape, having recruited a young group of players last year that will continue to develop.

The Raiders’ longtime offensive coordinator Daryl Rodgers and defensive coordinator Doug Hocking aren’t expected back, but Blokker said there are other coaches qualified to step into greater roles and he said he hopes the club will promote from within.

“In my mind this program really needs to grow,” he said. “It needs to grow at the board level and it needs to grow at the coaching level to continue to have growth at the player level.”

Kabel Atwall, vice-president of the V.I. Raiders, said it would be “next to impossible” to have a full-time paid head coach.

“The reality is, we’re a society and we live on the money that we raise and gate receipts,” he said.

Atwall said he and Raiders president Chris Cross sat down with the head coach and told him they would welcome him to stay on, but would support his decision either way. It will be a challenge to replace Blokker, he said.

“He’s been here since Day 1 and if anybody was sort of embedded in the team, it was him.”

He thinks the club’s national profile will help in the search for a new coach.

“We’ll try to do this as quickly and as seamlessly as possible,” Atwall said. “With the reputation the Raiders have, I don’t think we’ll have a problem attracting good candidates for the position … If there’s somebody applying from within, obviously they would get maximum consideration but at the same time, there’s a lot of other good people in the country and even in the city of Nanaimo who might be interested.”

The Raiders might shuffle some duties around, as Blokker handled many other roles aside from coaching. But one coaching duty will always remain the same.

“Any coach that we hire will have to be in line with the Raider philosophy, and that’s winning,” said Atwall. “We’re not looking for a drop-off in any regard.”

Blokker said he’s grateful to the community for embracing the Raiders, supporting them, sponsoring them and cheering them on over the years.

“I was always extremely honoured to be the coach of this team and I leave that way,” he said. “At the end of it I just hope that sports fans and people in Nanaimo will remember what I’ve done here as a coach and remember me as a winner … It’s been one hell of a run.”

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Tilray announces new line of products offering more inexpensive choices for medical cannabis users. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo-based Tilray launches new medical cannabis product line

Symbios brand products offered at ‘better price point’ for medical cannabis products

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Janice Coady, left, Aimee Chalifoux and Linda Milford at a vigil for Amy Watts on Wednesday, June 16, outside Nanaimo city hall. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
‘We need to do better,’ says mother of woman killed in Nanaimo

Vigil held for former outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found downtown June 3

The B.C. Ministry of Education has announced close to $44 million for the province’s schools for COVID-19 recovery. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school stakeholders say COVID-19 recovery funding can make a difference

B.C. Ministry of Education announces it expects a ‘near-normal’ return to class in September

Regional District of Nanaimo is looking to repair sewage pipe in the Hammond Bay Road area, which was corroded by gas. (Black Press file)
Corroded sewer pipe along Nanaimo’s Hammond Bay Road will cost $5.5 million to fix

Pipe replacement and reinforcement part of $6.9-million infrastructure project

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read