The smell of CFL football is in the air. Single game tickets went on sale around the league this week, and training camps are going to fire up soon with the first set of pre-season games getting going near the end of May.
West Central native Kayden Johnson is preparing for rookie camp with the Calgary Stampeders beginning next Wednesday. Johnson got back into football this off-season when he signed with the Stampeders back on January 12th of this year.
He is excited to be back in the game, but has kept more than busy thanks to other athletic obligations amidst his move to Calgary, such as helping out with the various RBC Training Ground tasks he has been given as one of their ambassadors.
Johnson was on hand for the RBC Training Ground qualifying event in Saskatoon back on March 26th. He was excited to help out and identify some of the provinces next best athletes, as just one of his many obligations for RBC this year.
"They brought me in as an RBC Olympian hype-man," exclaimed Johnson. "They wanted a local guy who has won the competition, and it was pretty awesome to see the good show of kids that turned out of all different ages."
RBC also has Johnson taking part in speaking engagements as part of their current deal, and he talked about one that took place recently for high school kids out of the West Central region. Johnson was the keynote speaker for the Sun West Career Fair back on April 26th, and he shared what his message was to the students watching.
"I talked about being able to become resilient through life, and not letting any limitations or labels hold you back. It's all about having a positive mindset, and creating a positive environment for yourself to thrive."
It's almost time for Johnson to put his words into action, as he enters camp with the Stampeders. Some of those talking points have to echo the situation he faced in BC Lions training camp last year, as he feels he performed great even despite the quick position change upon starting camp. Calgary jumped on the opportunity to sign him as a running back for this year, after the Lions designated him as more of a fullback/tight end during last years season prep.
"I'm really excited. Been having some really good conversations and calls with my running back coach. They are planning on using me as a tailback so I am super excited about that."
Johnson has spoke on the phone with Stampeders Head Coach Dave Dickenson as well, and is looking forward to meeting his new bench bosses face-to-face. He is looking forward to meeting the rest of his Stampeders teammates in due time as well, but is mostly just looking forward to being back on schedule with a normal season as he gets his feet wet in professional football.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders open their training camp next week as well with players reporting to Saskatoon, and West Central Online will be in contact with Logan Ferland to discuss the upcoming year after his great season on the offensive line for the Roughriders in 2021.