Sunday , 1 August 2021

Fighter Jets hold first training camp prepping for season start later this month

The Cold Lake Fighter Jets take the field for the first time at training camp. 

Walsh Field opened its doors to the first training camp for the new senior men’s football team over the weekend.

The Cold Lake Fighter Jets camp saw just over 30 football players take their first reps together in preparation for the first season in the Alberta Football League.

The camp was held in Bonnyville as the new football field in Cold Lake at the Energy Centre will be completed in time for the Fighter Jets first game May 25.

“I saw a lot of talent on the field,” said Head Coach Chris McKenna.

“The running back [Leo Mantuila] will be sharp. You can tell he’s going to be a good player for us.”

Leo Mantuila played college football with the New Mexico Military Institute Broncos and has been described as a CFL prospect by the Fighter Jet’s social media account.

McKenna said the coaching staff are preparing the offensive and defensive playbooks in the coming weeks, and getting the players ready physically for the season.

The Fighter Jets will practice twice a week.

“We’d like more have more players at camp, just because with 30 guys there’s always players who can’t make it to the games or get injured during the season.”

McKenna said there are two things that separate good teams in the AFL – being smart and sticking together.

Cold Lake Fighter Jets head coach Chris McKenna via LinkedIn.

“Being smart out there just means don’t take stupid penalties because those little moments can change games on the field.

“The other thing is sticking together. There are lot of guys at camp who have experience in junior, played university, and senior football, so sticking together when someone makes a mistake is big in this league,” said McKenna.

McKenna has coached football for almost forty years, including coaching with the Bonnyville Voyageurs from 2007- 2013.

He was hired for the coaching job in late April in part because of his AFL experience coaching the Lloydminster Vandals from 2009-2011.

The Fighter Jets take the field for their first game May 25.

“I just want to give a shoutout to Larry Godziuk for opening up the field for us and letting us use the space and the bags and everything,” said McKenna.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.