Kabel Atwall

Kabel Atwall

Raiders want community to share special season

The V.I. Raiders, embarking on their 10th-anniversary season, are reminding their fans that the Raiders belong to the community.

The V.I. Raiders are embarking on their 10th-anniversary season. It’s the perfect time, in their minds, to remind their fans that the Raiders belong to the community.

The Canadian Junior Football League club has a new coach, park upgrades on the way and a snazzy 10th-anniversary logo. What they want now is more people to join their team.

Kabel Atwall, the club’s new president, said some people think the Raiders are a privately owned team but that’s not the case. As a society, the Vancouver Island Raiders are shared by everyone.

“We’ve always operated as a team before; now we’re starting to operate as an organization … We’re not this closed little circle,” Atwall said. “We need to change that profile and we’re wanting to change that profile and we’re working to change that profile.”

Over 10 years, the Raiders have built a fan base, and they want those fans to be aware that they can be part of the team.

“We don’t want to blow our horns, but we’ve done a lot for raising the profile of the community and we want to involve the community a bit more,” Atwall said.

The V.I. club is seeking season ticket holders, of course, but also society members and volunteers. There are opportunities to help with game-day operations, fundraising, community relations and more. Any new blood, new ideas and new energy can help the Raiders grow, said Brian Ridgeway, the team’s coach.

“There’s lots of room for people to come on board…” he said. “We have to increase our ties to the community before we can do more for the on-field football product.”

It’s an interesting time for the Raiders. They have 10 years of history, and are transitioning into the next 10 and beyond. They want to make a big deal out of their 10th season. They’re putting together an alumni association and are planning homecoming celebrations for their home opener on Aug. 16.

The season ticket launch has been delayed since the Raiders don’t know how their new bleachers will be numbered, but they’re beginning to envision how game days might look at a renovated Caledonia Park.

“We’re interested to find out,” Atwall said. “Part of it is going to be how the stands are set up. I think it will probably be more inclusive, everybody mixing a little bit more. We’re going to make it as good an experience as we can.”

The Raiders are expected to win and motivated to win, as always. Ridgeway said the on-field product “will not drop at all,” and said things are looking really good.

What will fill the new stands? Well, football is an exciting sport to begin with, Ridgeway said, and wins and good competition help.

“The difference between a well-thought-out game plan and executed game compared to one that isn’t is very obvious,” said the coach. “It looks polished and runs smoothly and the hits are loud and the catches are spectacular – that’s by design, because things are going right.

“When everything is rolling and tight, it’s awesome.”

Whether fans join the team or fill the stands, they’ll be part of a milestone season and maybe, something special. The Canadian Bowl will be in B.C. in 2014 and the Raiders just happen to be making park improvements to get playoff-ready.

Football season is months away, but the Raiders are brimming with excitement. They can’t wait for their 10th-anniversary season because they’ve experienced 10 great years since they first started out such a long time ago, such a short time ago.

“It seems like it was yesterday, man,” said Karim Maher, assistant coach. “It’s amazing how it flies.”

GRID BITS … To learn more, please search for the V.I. Raiders on Facebook. For season ticket info, please call 250-760-0058.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

The Nanaimo Business Awards are accepting nominations now. (Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce image)
Nanaimo Business Awards accepting nominations of worthy winners

This year’s awards aren’t until the fall, but the nomination period ends June 28

Retailers say they’re ready for the ban on single-use plastic checkout bags in Nanaimo when it takes effect July 1. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Retailers report they’re ready for Nanaimo’s single-use checkout bag ban

Business operators say there’s been plenty of time to plan and prepare for bylaw that kicks in July 1

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

Gabriola singer-songwriter Sarah Osborne, Cowichan Valley duo Heartwood, Vancouver singer Kelly Haigh and Nanaimo bluesman David Gogo (clockwise from top-left) are among the performers in this year’s Cultivate Festival. (Photos submitted)
Gabriola Arts Council presents COVID-conscious Cultivate Festival

Theatre, music and art festival returns to Gabriola Island after 2020 hiatus

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

John A. Read, who was inspired to leave his former career to become a professional astronomer by the purchase of a $13 telescope, will give beginning astronomers key pointers on how to set up and get the best performance from their instruments at Nanaimo Astronomy Society’s meeting June 24. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Read)
Astrophysicist will talk about getting the most out of a telescope at Nanaimo astronomy meeting

John Read’s purchase of a $13 telescope led to a degree in astrophysics and a career in astronomy

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Most Read