The University of Calgary Dinos football team is in Quebec City to play the University of Montreal Carabins for the Vanier Cup, and they'll need to help of a few Cochranites in order to bring the trophy home for the first time since 1995 when they defeated the Western Mustangs 54-24.
While they aren't on the Dinos official roster for the championship game, both Joseph Bell and Dylan Neis helped the Cochrane Cobras win the provincial title three of the last five years. They join second-year receiver Erik Nusl who has 16 catches for 223 yards on the season. In 2017 he dressed in three regular-season games where he mainly found time as a punt returner and on the special teams unit. He returned 10 kicks for 142 yards. Nusl missed the entire 2018 season with a knee injury.
"The whole team is very excited to be in Quebec City," Nusl said. "At the start of the season it was our goal to get a chance to play for a national championship. Personally I'm excited to play in a Vanier Cup ... it's something I've been dreaming about for a long time."
While the trio will obviously be representing the University of Calgary in the game, Nusl said they'll also be playing for the people of Cochrane.
"Of course (we're playing for Cochrane)," Nusl said. I can't give enough thanks to all the coaches I had growing up playing for the Lions and Cobras. I'm always proud to tell people I come from Cochrane and I know the other boys would say the same."
The Vanier Cup is the championship of Canadian university football. It is organized by USports football and is currently played between the winners of the Uteck Bowl and the Mitchell Bowl. It is named after Georges Vanier, the former Governor-General of Canada and was first awarded in 1965 to the winner of an invitational event contested between two teams that were selected by a panel. In 1967, the trophy was declared the official "CIAU National Football Championship" and a playoff system was instituted. From its creation until 1982, it was known as the Canadian College Bowl. The game typically occurs in late November, although it is occasionally played in December.
Kick-off for the game will go at 11 a.m. on Nov. 22 and will be live streamed on CBC.