Preparations behind the scenes for the first Kal Tire Kalamalka Bowl Canadian U-Sports exhibition football game have been going on for a few months.
For the two combatants, things are just beginning.
The University of British Columbia Thunderbirds will take on the University of Calgary Dinos Wednesday, Aug. 24, at 7 p.m. at Greater Vernon Athletic Park, the first such game of its kind in the North Okanagan and at the facility.
“We’re not allowed to start (preparations) until the weekend,” said Calgary head coach Wayne Harris on Wednesday, Aug. 10, referring to CIS U-Sports rules. “Right now, it’s just team meetings and filling out forms.”
For both clubs, the game in Vernon will be their one and only exhibition game before the regular-season kicks off.
“We’re expecting a tough game,” said Harris. “UBC is a veteran team, we have a lot of young guys who will possibly be starting their first at the U-Sports level. We’ll be rotating in a lot of players, doing evaluation.”
The T-Birds went 3-3 in 2021, Calgary was 2-4.
The Dinos have five former Vernon Panthers on their roster – Josh Hyer, Liam Reid, Brady Szeman, Zack Smith, Roan Reid – while UBC’s lineup includes former Panther Brad Hladik, Salmon Arm’s Brandon Sanford, Nicholas Stanford of West Kelowna and Lliam Wishart from Kamloops.
Kelowna’s Isaac Athans, Easton Schmuland and Nate Beauchemin are expected to suit up for the Dinos.
“All the players are excited to be heading to the Okanagan, especially the guys from the local areas,” said Harris. “They will get a chance to play in front of family and friends.”
Standing-room tickets are still available for purchase at kalbowl.com.
Former B.C. Lions legends Jim (Dirty 30) Young and Angus Reid will be guests of the honour in the VIP tent.
Nissan has joined the Kalamalka Bowl committee as a sponsor, and will operate a Kick To Win contest between the third and fourth quarters.
On Tuesday, Aug. 23, a special Huddle in the Park free, family event will be open to the public at Polson Park starting at 6 p.m. A live concert by local band Cod Gone Wild will run from 7-8:30 p.m. Players/coaches from both teams will be oh hand while Silver Star Rotary provides a concession.