September 28, 2020

By WHITNEY SOUTH

As the Twin Cities Predators head into their second season with the Canadian Junior Football League, the team continues to work toward establishing their identity and growing into a force to be reckoned with.
The Predators are one of 20 teams that make up the CJFL, a league which gives elite players ages 17-22 the chance to continue to compete even if they have chosen a path other than university. This creates an opportunity for players who have decided to attend community college or enter the workforce straight out of high school to continue their football careers. University students can also choose to play in the CJFL, which usually means more playing time.
First-year Conestoga College student Derek Mulder is also starting his first year as a defensive lineman for the Predators.
“The team is great,” he said. “We’re not a big team, but we’re a really close-knit group of guys. There’s a lot of camaraderie between us.”
A pre-health science student, Mulder said attending school and playing football will be an experience that will prepare him for the future.
“School is obviously first and football second, but it’s all about balance. But that’s how life is, you have to balance everything you do.”
Brian Jones is a receiver for the Predators and is also starting his first year in police foundations at Conestoga College.
Jones said he appreciates the opportunity to play even though university wasn’t for him.
“I love playing football,” he said. “It’s just fun to come out and play.”
Head coach Tom Arnott has been coaching football for 33 years at both the high school and university level and was the head coach for Wilfrid Laurier University from 1990–2000. This is his first year with the Predators.
Arnott said he’s looking forward to seeing his players learn to work together and grow as a team.
“We have a very good defence and in the defence our secondary is exceptional,” he said. “We have a good kicking game and we have a lot of youth and enthusiasm.”
As with any football program, Arnott said the team has opportunities to improve the depth and skill level of all the players.
“That’s our big thing, to really establish ourselves as a program and find an identity for ourselves.”
The CJFL is also another venue and opportunity for players to be drafted by the Canadian Football League. Arnott said each CFL team is limited in terms of how many university players they can draft, however, they are not limited as to how many of the CJFL players they can bring to training camp.
This gives players such as Mulder and Jones another route to professional football other than the university draft.
The Predators face the Ottawa Sooners, Saturday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. at University Stadium in Waterloo.
For more information on the Twin Cities Predators, including their game schedule and ticket prices, visit www.predatorsfootball.ca.