University of Calgary Dinos lead way in putting talent on CFL rosters
Year after year, the University of Calgary leads the way putting players into the Canadian Football League.
As the 2019 CFL season kicks off Thursday night in Hamilton, 25 former Dinos players and coaches are under contract across Canada: 21 on active rosters, one on a six-game injured list, two on practice rosters, and one on the sidelines.
That count is by far the largest contingent from a single institution anywhere in North America, highlighting the Dinos football program’s sustained success stretching back more than a decade.
Since 2008, the Dinos have finished first in Canada West seven times and second on four occasions, winning eight Hardy Cup titles over those 11 seasons. The program’s regular season record is 76-12 (.864) over that span, and the Dinos just keep pumping out players to the next level.
Nearly half of those players took part in Thursday’s opener when the Saskatchewan Roughriders visited Tim Hortons Field to take on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The Roughriders lead the way with seven Dinos: defensive backs Elie Bouka, Mike Edem and Denzel Radford along with linebackers Micah Teitz and Sam Hurl are on the active roster, while receiver Jake Harty is on the six-game injured list and offensive lineman Braden Schram is on the Riders practice squad. Bouka returns to the Roughriders after NFL stints with the Arizona Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles. On the other side, defensive linemen Connor McGough and Brett Wade join offensive lineman Darius Ciraco on the Ticats‘ active roster, while 2018 Canada West outstanding lineman Joel Van Pelt is on the Tabbies’ practice roster.
Friday night in the Alberta capital, receiver Anthony Parker makes his debut with the Green & Gold as the Edmonton Eskimos host the Montreal Alouettes. It’s the start of Parker’s ninth season in the CFL, making him the longest-serving Dinos alum in the league at age 29.
The defending Grey Cup champion Calgary Stampeders feature three former Dinos in receivers Michael Klukas and receiver Richard Sindani and offensive lineman Ryan Sceviour. Saturday night at McMahon Stadium, that trio will face former Dinos defensive lineman Michael Klassen and the Ottawa Redblacks.
Week 1 wraps up with the B.C. Lions hosting the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, which will feature former Dinos player and assistant coach Taylor Altilio making his CFL debut as the Lions’ special teams coordinator. He’s joined by four former players in offensive lineman SukhChungh, long-snapper Tanner Doll, linebacker Adam Konar and receiver RashaunSimonise.
The final four Dinos will have to wait one more week before their Toronto Argonauts open the season at home against the Tiger-Cats. The Argos also have four Dinos under contract: defensive lineman Linden Gaydosh, offensive lineman Sean McEwen, running back Mercer Timmis and defensive back Robert Woodson.
For their part, the 2019 edition of the Dinos open training camp in mid-August ahead of their season-opener Aug. 30 in Edmonton against the host Alberta Golden Bears. Calgary’s home opener is set for Friday, Sept. 6, when the Dinos host the Manitoba Bisons in Kickoff XIV at McMahon Stadium.