Mini-Camp an eye opener for Ticats rookies | | Official Site of the Canadian Football League
Gregory Campbell/

Isaac Owusu - Staff

STONEY CREEK, ON -- The initial phase of the 2014 season is now all wrapped up.

The Tiger-Cats completed the final day of this year's mini-camp on Wednesday. Once again, the team was inside practicing at Players Paradise Sports Complex in Stoney Creek.

Butler Battle Tested

After winning a Grey Cup with Saskatchewan in 2013, Craig Butler has gone home to join the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, a move that his new coaches and teammates are already excited about.


Rookies Isaac Dell and Pawel Kruba have been active participants in the team’s three days of activities as they prepare to head into training camp, which opens in late May.

“You can tell there’s a clear difference between university and CFL and that exciting because you have to pick your game up,” said Dell, a fullback out of Wilfred Laurier stated.

“You have to excel. You have to rise to the level of play and hopefully above it,” he added.

Dell was a Ticats 2013 draftee, but opted to return to Laurier last year after suffering a concussion in training camp.

With injuries behind him, he aims to make his official CFL debut this upcoming season.

“My head is fine, I haven’t had a problem since last summer. There is no issues there, I feel healthy. Training’s gone well,” he said.

On the defensive side Kruba, a rookie free agent defensive back from Western University, has taken his experience in mini camp as a way to learn and grow.

“Personally I just want to come in here and solidify with myself that I belong here,” he said.

“This is the next level, so to come in here and prove to myself that I belong . Just to come and compete. So just moving forward and getting ready for training camp.”

He understands the importance of showing up to mini-camp, on a personal and team level while taking away valuable lessons from the three-day experience.  

“There’s little philosophies and techniques that the coaches have that you just try to soak in, so when you come here in training camp you’ll be ready and on the same page, and so it’s not all new,” Kruba said.

For Dell, mini camp has been a positive in pointing out the negatives.

“It’s been a little bit of an eye opener, you find out areas that you need to work on. Stuff that you might have gotten away with in university or at a lower level will expose you here and that’s good to make you improve your game,” he said.

“In this camp I was looking at what I thought, and what the coaches thought I need to work on to improve,” he added.

With the arrival of training camp in just a few short weeks, Kruba only sees this camp as being a benefit for his game.

“This camp has made me more comfortable, so when I get back next month I can play faster and know the systems better,“ he said.

“I have a base at least, so I’m not trying to reach for straws.”

Fan Comments
I don't know what to say about this article, other than slow news day ? Nice action shot of Pawek Kruba though.
May 02, 2014 - 5:50am
#alsrule: Don't know what you are "on" with these comments. The Cats are back 4 good with Kent Austin. Bob Young is a great owner. The rest of the CFL should be so lucky.
May 02, 2014 - 3:36am
als rule
@AEF: "cats are back 4 good with kent austin" and "bob young is a great owner" man am I lucky that all of this belongs and is in hamilton!!
May 05, 2014 - 6:31pm
A.R For a minute I thought you were talking about the als.....Circus du soleil...

May 01, 2014 - 9:35pm
als rule
@R/BC: sorry NO but I was talking about the RBs and lions!!...sunshine...
May 05, 2014 - 11:09am
Good to have some of the players getting back into the game! With stability in coaching they are far ahead of where they were after mini-camp last season. Good luck to potential rookies! EAT 'EM RAW!!
May 01, 2014 - 12:17pm
als rule
only way for the tiger-cats to go in 2014 is straight down as is their history!! 1 good season equals 4-5 down years!! HISTORY ALWAYS REPEATS IN HAMILTON!! ask HCs greg marshall, george cortez, charlie taaffe, marcel bellefeuille and the list goes on!!
May 01, 2014 - 12:13pm
And just what magic crystal ball is showing you the Ticats future?! Yes they have been bad to mediocre for a number of years but this team and management are different and will prove you wrong. Aren't you the one who always says the past is the past and you have to leave it behind? Maybe you should take your own advice where the Ticats are concerned and wait to see what happens first!
May 01, 2014 - 4:37pm
als rule
@TFmcb: I know what will happen in tigertown!! it's the same year in and year out!! no not "bad to mediocre for a number of years" I said and meant one winning or .500 season which is followed by a HC salary increase & extension, then 2-3 seasons of total failure followed by another HC & GM fired, then a repeat of the whole process again starting with the hiring of yet another HC!! don't believe me then just ask david sauve past ticat president!! oh it can't be because of the current ti-cat owner bob young now could it?!! not the man that build you the new TIM HORTON STADE eh?!! LOL LOL LOL
May 01, 2014 - 8:57pm
As I already said - wait and see because patterns CAN be broken! You should be more concerned about how the Als will fare instead of declaring that the Ticats will tank!
May 01, 2014 - 10:56pm