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Van Zeyl Growing Comfortable in Black and Gold

“This is Iconic” said the Ticats’ twitter account on the first day of training camp as linebacker Simoni Lawrence held open a box of Timbits for the newly signed Chris Van Zeyl.

To long-time CFL fans, you couldn’t help but notice, it looked a little weird.

Van Zeyl spent almost the entirety of his CFL career in Toronto with the Argonauts (save for parts of 2007 and 2008 when he was on the Alouettes practice roster) and now he was dawning the black and gold of the rival Ticats.

He has twice been named a CFL All-Star, first in 2013 and then more recently in 2017. As well as being named a CFL East All-Star as recently as last season.

The Argo’s released Van Zeyl on May 18, the first day of training camp and Hamilton wasted little time bringing him in, signing him the next day.

On that first day of camp, he said he was still getting used to the black and gold, now Van Zeyl says he feels at home.

“I love it. There was some adjustment at the beginning because everything happened pretty quickly.” Said Van Zeyl. “At the end of the day they’re my teammates. I’ve always enjoyed playing with different guys and at the beginning of the year you’re always playing with different guys anyways, so basically it’s just been a change of colours.”

Last week’s game in Toronto was a banner day for Van Zeyl as he made his return to BMO Field for the first time. We have seen many athletes over the years deem their return games as ‘just another game’. However, Van Zeyl didn’t totally take this approach, but he did note that it would be something he would try and use to his advantage.

“There’s going to be some emotion there just because I was there for so long.” Said Van Zeyl before last week’s game, “I’ve always been pretty good at channelling emotion and using it productively.”

A McMaster alum, Van Zeyl says he hasn’t had much of a chance to visit some of his favourite spots from his university days, but hopefully will get a chance to do that soon.

On the field, he has fit in nicely into an offensive line that was already loaded with talent. Ryker Mathews made the move over to left tackle while Brandon Revenberg, Mike Filer and Darius Ciraco occupy the interior of the line.

Van Zeyl credits many of the coaches that he has had over the years for helping to get him this far.

“I’ve picked up different tools from different coaches. They’ve all put something different in my head and taught me something different that I can use. At the end of the day it’s about using that collection and all those tools that guys have given me. That’s what you see on the field.”

Van Zeyl and the Ticats will play their first game, post Argos return, Friday when they host the Montreal Alouettes. Kick off in that one is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.


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