The silver lining of a dark cloud. Roughriders announce their nominees for the CFL Awards


A few of the bright spots from a disappointing 2022 Saskatchewan Roughriders season were recognized on Wednesday as the team announced their nominees for the CFL Awards.

Linebacker Darnell Sankey was named the team’s nominee for both Most Outstanding Player of the Year as well for Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year. Mario Alford was selected as the team’s nominee for the Team’s Special Team’s Player of the Year. Kian Schaffer-Baker was picked as the team’s nominee for Most Outstanding Canadian. Logan Ferland received the nominee for the team’s Offensive Lineman of the Year and running back Frankie Hickson is the Roughriders nominee for Most Oustanding Rookie of the Year.

Sankey has made an impact with the Roughriders in first season with the green and white. The linebacker has collected 115 tackles in 2022, which is three short of the Riders record set by David Albright in 1987.

While it’s usually a surprise when a defensive player receives the team’s nomination for Most Outstanding Player of the Year, Sankey believes in having a very competitive nature.

“I’m a competitor, I want to win at everything that I do, so I want to win every award and every game and every snap really.”

Riders head coach Craig Dickenson said durability was a common trait among the award winners, and that definitely is true for Sankey as he was able to play in every game for the Roughriders in 2022.

He says that it’s something that he prepares for year round.

“I have a really great training regiment and a great support group back home, I expect to play every game, I expect to play every down.”

Alford was acquired by the Riders in a trade with Montreal in July.

With four return touchdowns on the season, the Riders returner is a serious contender to be the Western Division’s nominee for the Most Outstanding Special Teams Player of the Year.

He marked his punt return for a touchdown against Calgary on Saturday as his personal favourite this season.

“Just shows what I am about, what type of player I am.”

In 2022, Schaffer-Baker has led all Rider receivers with 63 receptions and 935 yards.

The receiver is hopeful that he provide a proper example for young Canadian players looking to play in the gridiron sport.

“I love this one quote, the highest human act is to inspire, I strive to do that everyday.”

This past season, Ferland established a new career high by starting 15 games so far this season.

There have been plenty of homegrown Saskatchewan offensive linemen who have gone to played with the Riders, Ferland is proud to be on those linemen and to be an inspiration to the other Saskatchewan kids who aspire to play with the Roughriders one day.

“That’s my whole goal continuing with football is being that inspiration, just shows what hard work can do, it doesn’t matter how genetically how gifted you are, I’m no specimen, I might have the height but other than that everything else is worked for.”

Hickson is currently sixth in the CFL with 533 yards rushing after making appearances in 13 games with the Roughriders in 2022.

The running back was disappointed that he didn’t get to play his entire rookie season, but felt that his first year campaign was something that he could build off on.

“I felt like every game I got better out there.” Hickson added that he’s disappointed that he won’t be able to participate in the postseason for Saskatchewan.

“I like to play in the cold, I even get better playing in the cold.”

Dickenson didn’t reveal his picks for the award nominees from the team but added that all of the players that were recognized, were all very deserving of their respective honours.

Saskatchewan will conclude their regular season on Saturday, the game can be heard on 620 CKRM, with the opening kickoff at 6:00.


More from 620 CKRM