By Todd Lewis
CENTRAL ALBERTA BUCCANEERS CHAIR
In preparation for the 2015 AFL season, the Central Alberta Buccaneers have been busy practicing indoors as well as participating in numerous community events.
Over February and March, the team has gathered for indoor skills and drill sessions in preparation for the approaching season. The Buccaneers coaching staff has been pleased with the strong turnout of new and returning players.
“It’s great to get together with the guys and shake off the rust before season begins,” explained a veteran Buccaneer in between drills.
While the team is practicing without full-contact equipment (pads and helmets), time spent on the gym floor is essential for regular season preparation: “It takes a while for the legs to come back so I’m glad we’re starting this early.”
In addition to indoor practice, the team has organized group workouts at their sponsor gym, Body Basics, in Red Deer.
Each Saturday, rookie and veteran players exercise according to football-specific weight programs.
When asked about his training, Stettler native Kale Volker, said, “It’s gone great. With our workout programs, I’ve dropped 20 pounds and am way faster.”
As an outside linebacker, this enhanced fitness will surely play dividends to the Buccaneers 2014 Special Teams MVP’s performance this season.
The Buccaneers have also continued to strive for involvement within the community during the off-season. For February, the Buccaneers spearheaded the first annual AFL Blood Drive - a league-wide blood donation that included the involvement of four other rival teams.
Twenty members of the Buccaneers family donated on Feb. 7th. The ladies at Red Deer Blood Services were professional and, to the relief of some of the first-time donators, were gentle while taking the Buc-blood. The team’s next donation is scheduled for early April. Any who are interested in donating with the Buccaneers are encouraged to contact the team via its web site, www.cabucs.com, or through social media.
On Feb. 27th, the Buccaneers entered a team into the Ponoka Big Brothers Big Sisters ‘Bowl for Kids’ Sake’ fundraiser. It was the team’s fourth year in a row entering the fundraiser and, to no one’s surprise, the Bucs’ bowling skills still hadn’t improved. However, despite demonstrating some questionable bowling skills, they were still able to raise over $600 for BBBS. Next week, the Buccaneers are hosting their official AGM and information night.
On March 21st, any interested players and volunteers are encouraged to come to the Red Deer Lodge at 7 p.m. in order to find out all information pertinent to the Buccaneers’ 2015 season. The team’s executive will discuss logistics – schedule, fees, locations, etc. – and the coaching staff will explain team philosophy, values, and goals. Any who are interested in becoming a Buccaneer (as a player or volunteer) are more than welcome to attend.
Recently, Devon Hand was signed on as head coach and the Bucs are entering the 2015 season with a new direction and vision.
By fostering a football culture of commitment and accountability and recruiting a large and competitive roster, the team will, “Allow as much fun as possible without compromising the work it takes to win a title,” said Hand. “This will be a program guys want to play in.”
After falling short of the 2014 AFL title, the Bucs are continuing to bolster its roster size and talent pool. With increased depth, the team will be better able to endure injuries as well as avoid over-fatiguing players.
When asked about the 2015 expectations, Hand said, “When we strap up in red and black this upcoming summer, players will be challenged to leave it all on the field for the better of the team. There will be no excuses. There will be no shortcuts. When the summer turns to fall and the dust settles, players will be able to look each other in the eye and say they laid it on the line for the team. That is what 2015 Central Alberta Buccaneers will be all about.”