Training camp is underway for the Regina Thunder.
More than 90 players — most of them from across Saskatchewan — have shown up to camp, vying for a spot on what could be one of the top teams in the Prairie Football Conference (PFC) this season.
Head coach Scott MacAulay says this year’s training camp will be all about instilling the systems and expectations into the team.
“For us, training camp is all about teaching and installing our system, but it’s also about teaching the players the way we act, talk and do things,” he explained.
“We need to really work on our culture and get guys bought in as we get the bus ready as we move forward. Also, the (focus is on) intensity and getting guys ready to compete at a high level.”
While camp has just started, MacAulay feels the Thunder will rely on veteran players to carry the load and get the team back to the level of success it enjoyed last year.
The 2021 regular season was a success as the Thunder went 8-0, but Regina came up short in the PFC final against the Saskatoon Hilltops.
“I look at our offence, it’s such a veteran presence and then it’s the same thing on our defence. I think we’ve got a strong team and the strength of our team is going to be our leaders and veteran players that are returning,” MacAulay said.
“They’re the ones that understand what needs to happen to be successful on the field,” he added. “Last year, we had lots of success, but it also didn’t end the way we wanted. I think they know what they need to do to have a successful season.”
MacAulay thinks his team can compete and get back to playing for a Canadian Junior Football League title.
“The end goal every year is to win a national championship,” he said.
“When I reflect back on this season, if I feel like each week we were focused on each game (and) each practice and follow the steps that lead to a national championship, I’ll be happy.”
The Thunder is to begin its regular season on Aug. 14 against the Edmonton Wildcats at Leibel Field.
— With files from 980 CJME’s Lisa Schick