Two North Battleford natives will try and become key figures on the highly-successful Saskatoon Hilltops football team over the next few years.
Taylon Elderkin and Jesse McNabb have their feet in the proverbial door as they have made the team out of the spring training camps.
“There were four morning sessions that took place in Saskatoon and afterwards we had our spring camp,” Elderkin said. “Every second Sunday we have practices leading up to the season. It was a weekend in May we had the spring camp and that’s basically when they told us whether or not we made the team.”
Elderkin said there were 40 players who tried out for the team, with 26 making the roster. He added after the first two training sessions he was told he had a very good chance at making the team. Now his goal is to make the starting roster.
The Hilltops are one of, if not the most successful, junior football teams in the nation as they have the most championships since 1948 with 18. Saskatchewan is the province with the most success in the Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL), as the Regina Thunder (formerly the Rams) have won 16 championships since 1948.
“The team has the starters, backups, travel roster and practise roster,” Elderkin said. “From what I’ve heard we have practises from Tuesday to Saturday and games on Sunday, so my plan is to move to Saskatoon before the season starts in August.”
The offensive lineman said the team practises in the evenings, so players are able to juggle work or school alongside the busy football schedule. The 18-year-old plans on taking an apprenticeship while hoping to play for the Hilltops for his full four years of eligibility.
The Hilltops have played out of the Saskatoon Minor Football Field at Gordie Howe Park since 1960. The field sees a lot of action, as there are a total of 18 teams that call it their home field. The CJFL consists of 20 teams that are broken up into three conferences. There is an Ontario conference, the Prairie Conference and the British Columbia Conference.
North Battleford residents are no strangers to the CJFL and the Hilltops as Zac Ironstand had an illustrious five-year career in the CJFL with the Hilltops and Okanagan Suns in Kelowna, British Columbia that ended in 2014.
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