Kopchynski on provincial football radar


Evan Kopchynski of Prince Albert has been selected to the practice squad with the under-18 provincial football team bound for the Canada Cup next month in Wolfville, N.S.

Read More: [URL]http://www.paherald.sk.ca/Sports/2010-06-09/article-1238148/Kopchynski-on-provincial-football-radar/1

After just one season of competitive football, Evan Kopchynski is in the mix with Team Saskatchewan.

The Grade 11 student from St. Mary High School has been selected to the practice squad with the under-18 provincial team that will represent Saskatchewan in the Canada Cup next month in Wolfville, N.S.

On the eve of the Nova Scotia trip, the coaching staff plans to add one more player from the nine-man practice squad. The reserves will practise with the team for three days prior to the national championship tournament, set for July 11-17 at Acadia University, home of the Axemen.

“They told us that there’s one spot open now,” said Kopchynski, who just turned 17 last month.

“One of us who made this practice roster has a chance to go, so we have to go down there (to Saskatoon) and practise with them,” he said.

“If I give a good showing, I guess I’ll make it. Whoever they’re most interested in makes the last cut. And also, if somebody gets injured and it’s my position, then I’ll probably replace them, if I’m the next one for the spot.

“So, I could get lucky and someone gets injured. But it would be kind of unfortunate (for him).”

The provincial team has already shown strong interest in the multi-talented Kopchynski, whose school sports include volleyball, basketball and track and field.

Based on his performance last fall in his first season of high school football with the St. Mary Marauders, Kopchynski was invited to the provincial team’s initial tryouts last month. But he was otherwise busy that weekend as part of the Prince Albert Smashing Bananas under-17 squad that competed in the club volleyball nationals at Abbotsford, B.C.

Team Saskatchewan still included Kopchynski among the 90 football players invited to the second selection camp two weekends ago at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.

“It was pretty good,” he said. “It was fun. Lots of good players. Met a lot of people.

“Lots of pretty good coaches. Really intense, compared to what I’m used to. They gave us a workout (plan). I’m going to work on my strength.”

Kopchynski, six-foot-one and about 170 pounds, is pencilled in at slotback.

“I didn’t really know what I was going to be until I got (to the camp),” he said. “I thought I was going to be wide receiver, but I like it (at slotback).

“Instead of wide receiver, you get a little bit more into the physical aspect of it. You’re a little bigger than the wide receivers and you’ve got to sometimes block the linebackers and stuff. Sometimes, you get a handoff from the quarterback, or something like that. I think there’s a little more stuff to do than for a wideout.”

It seems there’s always something to do for athletic kids like Kopchynski, even with five final exams on tap within a couple of weeks.

He’s taking a summer break from volleyball, but he’s busy with football. St. Mary held its spring camp last week, a year after Kopchynski’s introduction to high school football.

“Last year’s spring camp, that was the first time I ever strapped on the pads,” he said.

“I played touch football in Grade 8. My mom just put me in touch football to see if I’d like it. I did, but I never really thought about playing it in high school. But then, I got asked to and I went and tried it out at the spring camp last year.”

His natural athletic ability attracted interest from Team Saskatchewan, which won the Canada Cup last summer in Saskatoon.

“The coaches saw me play with St. Mary and they liked what they saw, so they asked me to go and try out for this provincial team,” he said.

Kopchynski is the lone Prince Albertan still in contention for a berth on the provincial under-18 team. Jordan Gabriel-Cannon, a Grade 10 student at Carlton, also advanced to the second round of tryouts.

Herald photo by John MacNeil

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