November 9, 2022

Stampeders finding value in adversity

Christian Bender/

CALGARY — The Calgary Stampeders fell 30-16 to the BC Lions in the Western Semi-Final.

The Stampeders trailed by just one score entering the second half, but ultimately couldn’t keep pace as BC built up a 14-point lead by the final quarter of action.

“It wasn’t like we played terrible,” head coach Dave Dickenson told media. “But I guess average doesn’t get it done in the playoffs.”

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Dickenson added that the playoff loss may eventually serve as motivation, but it doesn’t ease the sting.

“Maybe this is a step or a hurdle we needed, but it certainly feels pretty hollow right now,” said Dickenson.

The Stampeders finished the regular season with a record of 12-6 and turned to Jake Maier as their starting quarterback following a Week 11 win over the Toronto Argonauts. The Stampeders organization showed their confidence in the young pivot, signing him to a contract extension in late September that will keep him in Calgary through 2024.

Maier finished the regular season completing almost 75 per cent of his passes for 2,389 yards and 14 touchdowns and won six games as the Stamps starting quarterback. However, in his playoff debut he completed just over 50 per cent of his passes for 138 yards.

“He’s done a lot of good things, he’s a good leader, puts the time in,” said Dickenson. “I’ve got a lot of faith in him, but more reps help, situations he’s never been in help. Sometimes when you make a changing of the guard there can be a little bit of a learning curve that you have to expect.”

Speaking to media during the team’s locker clean out day earlier this week, Maier admitted his disappointment, but said he was proud of his teams efforts this season.

“I don’t want what happened to overshadow the six months we had together,” said Maier. “We learned a lot about each other, we played damn hard every opportunity we got, it’s just how this game works sometimes. If you don’t win the championship it always ends sour.”

The Calgary quarterback was confident that the adversity created by the loss will only help to make him a better player.

“You have to go through the heartache and the adversity in order to come out of it a better man, a better player,” said Maier. “For me personally the only thing I know when something like this happens is that I have to get back to work.”

Bo Levi Mitchell finished the 2022 regular season having thrown for 2,010 yards and nine touchdowns (Christian Bender/

When asked about the impact the loss will have on his teammate, Bo Levi Mitchell spoke to the character of Maier and the type of work ethic he displays.

“What happened is going to be one of the best things for Jake Maier,” said Mitchell. “Because he’s going to put his head down, he’s going to get to work and you’ll see the first few games of next year it’ll be one of the best things to ever happen to him.

“Jake’s got a good head on his shoulders, and he’s got a damn good arm. He’s going to make a lot of great things happen in this league.”

Mitchell entered the Western Semi-Final late in the fourth quarter in relief of Maier. The veteran passer led two scoring drives and finished the game completing eight of his 11 attempts for 147 yards.

In Calgary’s Week 10 matchup with the Lions, Mitchell passed Henry Burris as the all-time passing leader in Calgary franchise history. He has played 165 regular season games for the Stampeders throwing for 32,541 yards and 188 touchdowns.

“That’s my guy,” said Calgary’s Rene Paredes. “He’s the best quarterback this team and this league has seen in a very long time. Me and him just traded jerseys so, that’s my guy.”

Reflecting on the years he has spent alongside Mitchell, Dickenson expressed admiration for his longtime quarterback.

“Bo and I have a solid relationship, we’re always going to be connected,” said Dickenson. “I’m going to let Bo do what he needs to do, but he knows I’ve got his back and at some point I’d love to work with him either next year or down the road.

“He’s a guy that’s a Calgary Stampeders for life for me.”

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