Airdrie-based head coach Matthew “Snoop” Blokker is already gearing up for the 2018 Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL) season with his new squad.
After resigning from the Calgary Colts in September, 2017, Blokker didn’t have to wait long to find a landing spot, returning to the British Columbia Football Conference (BCFC) and taking the helm of the Langley Rams.
“I had the opportunity to pick and choose amongst four different programs and Langley was a really good fit,” Blokker said. “I have a good idea of what the BCFC is about. (The Rams) has always been such a competitive program.
“Really from day one, in my mind, it was Langley, and they proved to me they wanted me there and that they wanted to win.”
Blokker was officially named head coach and President of Football Operations of the Rams Oct. 24, 2017, taking over for Jeff Alamolhoda, the Rams’ interim head coach until the conclusion of the season.
The Rams finished the 2017 campaign with a 4-6-0 record and made the BCFC post-season as the fourth-placed team. The Rams’ season came to an end in the BCFC semi-finals where it lost 57-14 to the Westshore Rebels.
Joining a new team is nothing new for the CJFL all-time winningest coach, as he had been through a similar situation after leaving the Vancouver Island Raiders following the 2013 season to join the Calgary Colts.
Blokker said one of the most important things he will establish is creating a new start mentality for the team and its players. Although the team did have a losing record in 2017, Blokker said he has seen talent on the roster he is excited to move forward.
“One of the things you try to do when you come into a new program, no matter what, is make it a clean slate,” Blokker said.
“I’m not going to judge good or bad. I want to see how these players are going to adapt to the new coaching staff and go from there.”
Blokker will be utilizing the connections he has created in Airdrie since moving here four years ago, having already invited four graduating players from the George McDougall Mustangs to spring camp this coming May, as well as recruiting other players with ties to Airdrie’s high school and club teams.
Since Blokker began his coaching career in 2003, he has had a connection with players out of Airdrie and has had those players on his squads. Over the past 15 years, Blokker said he has seen progression in the sport in Airdrie and an increase in talent.
“I’ve seen a definite improvement in football here. I think there is more guys playing football – that’s number one,” Blokker said. “Football, all in all over the years, has improved a ton and I’m excited about that.
“To me it’s all the volunteers, coaches and people that have stepped up here in Airdrie to improve football. The amount and level of talent coming out every year is getting more and more.”
With the football season still months away, Blokker has yet to announce his coaching staff, but said he aims to have that finalized in the coming weeks.