Raiders’ spring camp all about competition

NANAIMO – The V.I. Raiders are holding their spring camp this weekend (April 26-28) at Merle Logan Field.

The games don’t start until midsummer, but the competition starts now.

The V.I. Raiders are holding their spring camp this weekend (April 26-28) at Merle Logan Field.

“We’re just excited to get back on the field, more than anything, and we’re excited to give ourselves the chance to prove to ourself that we’re going to be a good football team again,” said Matthew (Snoop) Blokker, Raiders coach.

Nanaimo’s Canadian Junior Football League club is expecting over 100 participants this weekend, the most in several years.

“It’s the right numbers for what we need and we’ve got a lot of good recruits so we’re pretty excited about that,” said Blokker.

The Raiders’ string of six straight B.C. championships came to an end last season, so that factor, plus the graduation of key players, means there’s more of an open competition for positions than any other season. For example, the team will have eight quarterbacks trying out.

“There’s going to be some great competition there this weekend,” said the coach. “Not only have we got to find a No. 1, but we’ve got to find a No. 1, 2 and 3.”

The Raiders are also interested to see how the offensive line recruits perform – that’s an area the team wants to improve, partly by trying to add size to the unit.

Andrew Harris of the B.C. Lions is one of many Raiders alumni who will be guest coaches at spring camp. Blokker said since many of the alumni have national championships to their credit, they know what it takes.

“They want to see this year’s Raiders team win a national championship so I guarantee they’re going to push for that to happen,” said Blokker.

GAME ON … The Raiders will hold an intra-squad game Sunday (April 28) at 2 p.m. at Merle Logan Field … The season kicks off July 27. For ticket information, visit