QUEBEC CITY (U SPORTS) – Wayne Harris Jr. of the Vanier Cup finalist Calgary Dinos and Gary Waterman of the AUS champion StFX X-Men were introduced to the media Tuesday in Quebec city as head coaches ahead of the 2017 U SPORTS Valero East-West Bowl.
Harris Jr., who guided the Dinos to their fourth national championship appearance in eight seasons in November, will be at the helm of the West team on Saturday, while Waterman, who led the X-Men to a second straight national semifinal, will be in charge of the East squad – in a coaching rematch of the 2016 ArcelorMittal Dofasco Mitchell Bowl.
The complete coaching staffs and roster changes are available below.
Valero was also introduced as the event's title sponsor in 2017 and 2018 – with both years being hosted by Laval.
"The U SPORTS Valero East-West Bowl is a great opportunity to showcase the 2018 draft class and a real opportunity for each of the schools and players to represent themselves in a highly competitive game," said Harris Jr., who defeated Waterman's X-Men 50-24 in the Mitchell Bowl to advance to the 52nd ArcelorMittal Dofasco Vanier Cup. "It's a very exciting time for players going into their senior year of football and I know that we all look forward to seeing the high level of skill they're bringing to camp and the game culminating on May 13."
"The annual U SPORTS Valero East-West Bowl is always a great event and it should be an exciting week as our game is once again showcased at a high level," added Waterman. "I am thrilled for the opportunity to work with some of the top student-athletes and coaches in Canadian university football.
The 15th annual prospects game, which features for the most part, U SPORTS players heading into their Canadian Football League (CFL) draft year, is set for Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET at Laval University's TELUS-UL Stadium in Quebec City, streamed live on the Rouge et Or YouTube channel.
The East team is comprised of players from the AUS and RSEQ conferences as well as Carleton, Ottawa and Queen's, while the West contingent is made up of student-athletes from Canada West and the remaining OUA universities.
All players took part in combine testing Tuesday morning, with the first practice scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. Two practices a day will then be held throughout the rest of the week. The full U SPORTS Valero East-West Bowl Week schedule is available here.
Sunday night, 56 U SPORTS standouts were selected out of 71 total picks (78.9 per cent) during the 2017 CFL draft, with 36 having been invited to last year's East-West Bowl, including all six first-round picks. Over the course of the week, eight representatives from CFL coaching staffs will be on hand to assist the sides and get an early look at the 2018 draft class.
Last year, the West defeated the East 29-14 for their first win since 2013, extending their lead in the all-time series to 8-6.
"It's very exciting to be a part of the U SPORTS Valero East-West Bowl knowing that you'll be playing with - and against - the very best players that Canada has to offer," said Regina's Noah Picton, who will quarterback the West Team after winning the Hec Crighton Trophy last season, thanks to U SPORTS-record 3,186 passing yards. "I expect it to be a very competitive atmosphere, but also a great opportunity to meet and interact with different players and coaches from around the league."
"Being selected to play in the U SPORTS Valero East-West Bowl is something special! It's going to be a great experience to be with the best players in the country for a week and see them in action," said Laval's Hugo Richard, who will be under centre for the East Team, and was named Vanier Cup MVP last November after throwing for two touchdowns and scoring the game-winning one in the Rouge et Or's 31-26 victory over Calgary. "It will be interesting to collaborate with coaches other than ours. I'm really happy that this event is in Quebec City because I will be in an environment where I am comfortable. I trust that our fans will take advantage of this unique opportunity to watch football in early summer to start the 2017 season on the right foot and by creating a good atmosphere, like they always do here in U Laval!''
East Team Coaching Staff
Head Coach: Gary Waterman (StFX)
Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks: Benoit Groulx (McGill)
Defensive Coordinator: Jon Svec (StFX)
Receivers: AJ Tufford (Saint Mary's), Cherif Nicolas (Bishop's)
Running backs: Sebastien Levesque (McGill)
Offensive Line: Jeff Cummins (Acadia), Dave Van Den Heuvel (StFX), Mickey Donovan (Concordia)
Defensive Line: Mathieu Lecompte (Sherbrooke)
Linebackers: Shad McLachan (Acadia), Claude Gauthier (Sherbrooke), Kevin Regimbald (Sherbrooke)
Defensive Backs: Jermaine Lewis (Concordia), Scott Brady (Mount Allison)
Special Teams: Ryan Bechmanis (Carleton), Ben D'Andrea (Queen's)
East Roster Changes
Wesley Mann, DB (Queen's)
David Mackie, RB (Western)
Kiel Ambursley, RB (Mount Allison)
Vincent Dubé, K (Bishop's)
Jason Shamatutu, DB (Queen's)
Jonathan Boissonneault-Glaou, DE (Montreal)
Gustave Sylvestre, OT (Montreal)
Chris Reid, RB (Mount Allison)
West Team Coaching Staff
Head Coach: Wayne Harris Jr. (Calgary)
Offensive Coordinator: Ryan Sheahan (Calgary)
Defensive Coordinator: Dwayne Cameron (Laurier)
Quarterbacks: Mark McConkey (Regina)
Receivers: Mark Surya (Toronto)
Running Backs: Tom Flaxman (McMaster)
Offensive Line: JF Joncas (Guelph), Irv Daymond (Laurier)
Defensive Line: Matt Berry (Calgary), Darrell Adams (Waterloo)
Linebackers: Warren Muzika (Saskatchewan)
Defensive Backs: Vince Flamia (Windsor)
West Roster Changes
William Maxwell, WR (UBC)
Ian Lawrence, DB (York)
Ben Koczwara, OL (Waterloo)
Étienne Moisan, WR (Laval)
Tyler Ledwos, WR (Calgary)
Rees Paterson, CB (York)
Andrew Pickett, OG (Guelph)
CFL Coaching Staff
Montreal Alouettes: Greg Quick (senior defensive assistant), Billy Parker (defensive assistant), Jason Hogan (defensive assistant)
Saskatchewan Roughriders: Craig Dickenson (special teams coordinator), Craig Davoren (defensive assistant)
B.C. Lions: Dan Dorazio (offensive line coach), Mike Lionello (assistant running backs Coach) Calgary Stampeders: Brent Morrison (linebackers coach)