Sunday August 14th marks the debut of training camp for the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s football team.
And on their calendars is a highly anticipated matchup with the Montreal Carabins on August 20 for a preseason matchup.
Last year, the Hawks played the University of Saskatchewan Huskies as part of their preseason schedule, limited a 50-player roster and jet lag. While the two teams have yet to face one another in the 14 years that the Carabins have had a football program, the Hawks show plenty of promise. The 2015 Vanier Cup finalists will be challenged on their home turf, but they hold a 36-12 home record since the 2004-05 season.
Head coach Michael Faulds quickly capitalized on the opportunity to play a team with two Vanier cup visits under their belts.
“We wanted our guys to see what it was going to take, and the type of quality we’re going to have to face when we do get to the national semi-final, or a Vanier Cup,” said Faulds.
In the 2015-16 season, the Hawks finished sixth in the Ontario University Athletics conference.
The highly-touted Carabins finished second in the Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec and were nationally ranked No. 2.
Some say that the RSEQ may be an easier conference to compete in for a chance to win the Vanier Cup, but Faulds disagrees.
“The RESQ is one of the toughest conferences. The RESQ has University of Montreal, and Laval, which are both top programs, and they’re battling it out every year.”
The focus this year is more on trying to fill each position with the proper pieces.
The Hawks will be missing a couple key senior players such as Dillon Campbell, Tanner Philp and Asante Mizan this year due to eligibility, which may worry the average coach.
But the bench boss Faulds continues to have confidence in his “hungry” team.
“Our depth and our competition level at every position, is as good as it’s been, in the time I’ve been here,” he said.
Although the 2016-17 roster has yet to be released, coach Faulds has continued to have his eye on the 52nd Vanier Cup.
“We want to be jockeying for a position with the top teams in the conference,” he said.
Laurier’s preseason date against Montreal kicks off at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 20 in Montreal at CEPSUM Stadium