The Canadian Football League is officially back after the league completed its first game since the 2019 Grey Cup last night in Winnipeg. It was a championship game rematch as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 19-6 in prime-time, though the league’s true main event is expected tonight here in Saskatchewan when the Roughriders host the BC Lions at 7:30 pm from Mosaic Stadium in Regina.
Because CFL teams have been idle for over a year it might be tough to pre-judge this year’s upcoming Canadian football campaign, but according to pre-season figures from the CFL, the Roughriders are considered as one of the top teams to start the year. They sit at #2 in the initial 9 team CFL Power Rankings, sandwiched between Hamilton and Winnipeg who as mentioned met last night, and their opponent in the Lions were given the #7 spot to begin the season.
(File Photo of Mosaic Stadium)
Now if you are familiar with West Central Online’s recent CFL content, you might have an idea where this article is headed.
Much has been made over the past couple of years about future Bobsleigh Canada Olympic hopeful and 2020 BC Lions draft pick Kayden Johnson; but the local talent was unfortunately cut from the Lions roster following training camps this summer.
Following that news the Lions season opener in Saskatchewan became a little less enticing for our newsroom, but that excitement was back once again following some good news out of the Saskatchewan Roughriders training camp. ‘Rookie’ offensive lineman Logan Ferland will be starting at guard tonight for the Roughriders after teasing to the media earlier in the week that he may be getting the call. Ferland graduated in Melfort though he still has connections to the west central area, after making the move away from Kindersley with his family at a fairly young age.
(Logan Ferland via riderville.com/players)
We caught up with Logan’s brother Ryan who is maybe more well known around the area, about how early into this years camp his brother figured he might get the starting nod. The pre-training camp bombshell that was Brendan LaBatte’s decision to sit out the 2021 season resulted in a big departure from the line, that in turn opened up the massive opportunity for Ferland.
“He texted me after the first day of camp (once the LaBatte news came out) and told me, ‘It’s my first year and I’m in line for a starters spot. I’m just texting to let you know, and so you can hold me accountable.’”
That attitude is nothing less than what is to be expected from Ferland, who joins the Roughriders offensive line as one of four Saskatchewan born lineman expected to start tonight against the Lions.
One of those Saskatchewan born line-mates in veteran Dan Clark is one player that Ferland has learned a lot from so far, with his journey in the league beginning from a similar spot to Clark. Both know what it’s like to make the pros without going the university route, as Clark and Ferland are both very well regarded junior football alumni with the local Regina Thunder.
“Logan’s really enjoyed playing with Dan Clark,” explained his brother, “He just speaks so highly of him and it must be so cool to work with a guy who is that professional.”
The two have found a lot in common starting the season together on the main roster, and team media is definitely starting to notice a nice friendship between the two. Ferland’s brother sees the chemistry too, as he can see first hand how lining up beside Clark at practice is benefiting his brother’s game.
“Dan Clark has such a sharp mind, and for centre its so important. It’s crazy that guy can take one look at the defensive formation and call his audible.”
Ryan referenced a time earlier this year during one of the teams open scrimmages where Logan was placed at centre and did well, likely thanks to the extra effort put in with Clark during camp.
The two brothers both living in Regina has helped them keep their relationship strong. Logan watched his brother play football growing up and though he probably doesn’t want it to be public, has Ryan to thank for his initial push into the sport.
Their relationship as brothers became way stronger throughout the years thanks to their shared passions for football, and though they still take part in the occasional throw down, football is something that brings the brothers closer together.
Ryan noted that someone in Logan’s position (literally) can’t come home from work and vent about their job because of its demanding and technical nature. Helping his brother out isn’t a problem for Ryan thanks to his past experiences as an offensive lineman making him more than willing go over different plays and details with his brother. Often times their brotherly talks will eventually lead to the ins and outs of the offensive line position.
“When I was in high school I always wanted to play in the CFL but unfortunately it didn’t work out for me,” chuckled the older Ferland, “But as a brother to be able to talk to him about football? Understand what he’s saying, look over the plays, the game film, criticize, and get some sort of input. It’s healthy for me because it keeps my interest in football, but I think it’s also good for Logan, because he doesn’t have anyone else in the family who is a huge football fan and played offensive line and is able to kind of relate.”
Because of all this, Ryan appreciates the fact that he can be there for his younger brother.
“It’s a fast game in the CFL compared to junior, so for (Logan) to be able to come home and talk to someone about that I think it’s really cool, and it definitely helps.”
(Photo of the brothers via Ryan Ferland on Facebook)
Logan spent lots of time on the Mosaic Stadium turf during his time with the Regina Thunder and recent practice roster opportunity with the Roughriders in 2019. Though not in the CFL the Riders’ rookie has taken the field in Regina for kickoff before, but tonight's atmosphere will be something totally different as he gets set to face his best competition yet and begin his pro career.
Ferland should be excited to play in front of his friends, family; and the over 33,000 screaming Saskatchewan Roughriders fans excited to see their team play for the first time in well over a year.