The Bonnyville Bandits are the first team in 31 years to win League Championships on Walsh Field. The Bandits have won the Championships, as recently as 2011 and 2012, but not on home field. Another significant accomplishment of the season is the Bandits were able to win Leagues with an undefeated season backing them.
That was the first Championship game played on Walsh Field, and Bonnyville soil -Jubinville
Head Coach of the Bandits, Dan Jubinville says opponents, the Lloydminister Chargers put up a great fight. “They were prepared, we beat them twice in the season, so they knew what we were bringing at them. They did a good job defensively, it was the defensive games that won the game.”
The game was the closest battle the Bandits had played yet, final score 25-22. Jubinville says it was the best thing that could’ve happened to the team, “it made us a better team. Our boys sailed through some of the games during the regular season, which my biggest fear was over confidence.”
The Bandits having beat Lloyd twice, “pretty handily,” during the regular season, Jubinville feared the squad wouldn’t be prepared for a challenge. “One of my fears was, how are you gonna beat them the third time.”
The Chargers changed their game up, says Jubinville, “they started passing the ball more, and they were fairly successful at it. Our boys had to get used to a passing game, something they haven’t seen much of, other than us. They had to adjust and they adjusted well.”
At the end of the day, on the scoreboard, we were better than them. –Jubinville
Headed into the Northern Provincial Finals, the Bandits will meet Sexsmith. A team they have not met during the regular season and know little about. Jubinville says there’s some advantages to that, one being the players don’t have to stress thinking the other team may be better or feel over-confident only knowing some of the scores or watching minimal plays.
“I’m confident that if the team plays as well as we have and at the intensity that we can. If they do what we’ve told them to and do their jobs, our team can go up against any team in Alberta and do well.”
In 2011, the Bandits met Cochrane and lost by 3 points in the Provincial finals. Then 2012, the Bandits won the Northern Provincial Finals, but were unsuccessful in winning Provincials, against the Calgary Wildcats.
The Bandits have an early game versus Sexsmith, kick off at 11:00 am in Grande Prairie.