Thunder looks to get season rolling in Yorkton against Rifles


After making huge strides last season, the Regina Thunder are hoping to take a championship leap in 2022 as they prepare for the first game action in the new season.

The Thunder will meet the Winnipeg Rifles this afternoon in Yorkton in a preseason game that has been dubbed the Yorkton Bowl.

The  game will serve as tune-up for the Thunder as they begin their regular season on Sunday, August 14.

In 2021, the Thunder achieved their best regular season with a perfect 8-0 record but were defeated by the Saskatoon Hilltops in the playoffs. The bitter taste in the playoffs after a successful regular season provided the motivation needed for the players to prepare for the upcoming season with the team looking forward to taking the next step.

Running back, Ryland Leichert says the Thunder were a focused bunch throughout the offseason.

“We worked out together, the entire offseason grinding with each other, supporting each other  and I think the offseason was about getting better in every aspect towards a championship this year. ”

Linebacker Kenten Effa says the defence has gotten off to a strong start and is looking ready for the regular season.

“Our defence is definitely a do your job defence, every guy has a role to do on every play and if all 12 guys can get it done every play, we’ll be looking pretty good out there. ”

Effa says the team is aiming for the ultimate goal.

“Our goal is to win a championship this year. We got the guys, just got to put in the work, put in the championship effort everyday and it should be good.”

One of the Thunder players who could potentially be playing in the next level of football is kicker Eric Maximuik. During the offseason the kicker attended a scouting combine and believes the experience will pay off down the road.

“It’s cool to see like minded athletes, super talented guys, it’s an experience that you don’t see on your own team all the time. ”

Chasing the dream of playing professional football is something the Thunder kicker is focusing on after this season.

“I’ve always taken things one year at a time, trying to get better every year, and excel with the team I’m on, and for the last six years it’s been with the Thunder, if that takes me further great, if not we’ll move on and that will be that. ”

With the exhibition game against the Rifles, Leichert is looking forward to getting in some game action before the regular season.

“Just to have that one game to get comfortable so you can start week one in the groove of things is going to be huge I think. ”

One of the six players from Yorkton, Effa is looking forward to playing in front of a hometown crowd.

“This is a great experience for me coming back and playing in my hometown in front of friends and family, former coaches, it’s going to be a cool experience for sure. ”

After today’s preseason game, the Thunder will kick off their season with a pair of home games. The Thunder will host the Edmonton Wildcats on August 14.

The following week on Sunday, August 21, the Thunder will welcome the Rifles to Regina.

Both of the opening two home games for the Thunder will be played at Leibel Field.

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