V.I. Raiders promote Hocking to head coach

Doug Hocking, defensive coordinator, has been promoted to head coach of the Vancouver Island Raiders, Nanaimo’s CJFL team.

When the V.I. Raiders needed a new coach, they had the right candidate already on their sideline.

Doug Hocking has been promoted to head coach of the Vancouver Island Raiders, Nanaimo’s Canadian Junior Football League team. Jerome Erdman, who coached the team the last two seasons, resigned to accept a coaching position at Bishop’s University.

“I’m pretty excited right now and I look forward to the upcoming season and everything that it holds for us,” Hocking said.

He returned to the Raiders this past season as defensive coordinator. Hocking, a former CFL linebacker, headed up the defence during all three of Nanaimo’s national championship seasons in 2006, 2008 and 2009 and spent one season as head coach in 2007, guiding the team to the national semifinal.

He said he’s wanted to be head coach, and said this opportunity is possible due to the support of his family: “It doesn’t happen without having them in my corner,” he said.

The workload immediately increases for Hocking. There will be some changes to the coaching staff, but at the moment he remains defensive coordinator with an eye to Karim Maher, defensive backs coach, taking over the DC role.

As for the offence, Hocking will try to bring his attitude to that side of the ball.

“Our mindset on offence needs to be more of a beat-people-up, road graders up front, run the ball downhill. We need to do things like that,” he said. “We need to impose our will and be more of a physical team on offence and that’s where I’ll step in and challenge guys to be that way.”

It’s not just offence – the whole team will need to be tougher with both its physicality and mindset, the new coach said.

There is a lot of recruiting work already underway and Hocking said the team needs to add depth and a few more veterans who can be leaders. He anticipates a high-energy spring camp in a few months’ time.

“We don’t need high numbers, but we’re going to bring in guys that compete and quality football players that are going to understand the Raider way,” he said. “And after a weekend of spring football, their minds are going to be made up on where they want to play and that’s going to be in Nanaimo.”

Hocking believes the Raiders already possess the right core of players who have a base of experience and can now take the next step.

“We were a team that wasn’t expected to do anything and we were one series away from being in the Cullen Cup, which we believe we would have went to Kelowna and won. So on that note, we’re real excited about the guys we have coming back…” he said.

“It’s exciting times for Nanaimo and the Raiders.”

A Raiders press release thanked Erdman for his leadership over the past two years and wished him the best in his new position.