The Central Alberta Buccaneers men’s football team is now well into preparations for its upcoming season, and will take to the field for a week-long pre-season camp beginning April 27.
Buccaneers chair Todd Lewis said returning Sylvan Lake players will be will be joined by new players this year, with more than 100 interested recruits currently waiting in the wings.
Players are already preparing for the football season by working out, running indoor drills and practicing football systems.
The players are building up their physical strength right now because Lewis said if they wait to build up on their strength during the season it will be too late.
“Every Saturday we get together and go through a football-oriented workout,” Lewis said. “We’re getting our muscles bigger and next month we’re going to work on pure strength.”
Lewis said their official pre-season begins April 27, which is a week-long camp held at the ME Global Athletic Park in Lacombe. He said they are adopting the format of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) level teams.
“It’s more exciting as a football player as you really start feeling like you’re part of an organized club,” Lewis said. “It’s really going to get our guys in fighting shape and we’re going to get our systems organized really well, so we’re excited to start the camp.”
Once pre-season begins Lewis said the players will be working on cardiovascular building and being a part of the team as their first game is on June 6.
He said being a team player includes adopting the team’s threefold philosophy of community, accountability and commitment.
The new head coach, Devon Hand, takes accountability and commitment very seriously, Lewis said. “He really prides his teams on being accountable for what they are doing and [being] committed to the team’s systems, goals and everything about it.”
Lewis can attest to the community aspect of the team as he describes the atmosphere as a brotherhood.
“One of the things I love most about the Buccaneers and why I choose to spend a lot of my free time helping out with the team is because we’re not just a team, we’re a community,” Lewis said. “A lot of my best friends are on this team and I never would have met them if I hadn’t played. We’re not just a group of guys who get together and play football, we’re a brotherhood.”
To fundraise, the team works as event staff for cabaret parties that take place after rodeos. This year some of the venues the team will work at are the Rimbey Hooves and Horns, the Stettler Rodeo and the Big Valley Bust Out Rodeo, Lewis said.
To show they care for the community, the team tries to do blood drives every two months, Lewis said.
He said they also support children’s fundraising events such as Capes and Tiaras, a fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House. The team is scheduled to help with the fundraising event scheduled for March 29 at the Lacombe Memorial Centre.
“We really pride ourselves in being active in all the towns we represent in Central Alberta,” Lewis said. “So that means continuing our blood drives, our food drives and any other events we can do.”