Huskies’ football player Charlie Power is looking to trade in his green and white uniform for red, black and white when he suits up for the Calgary Stampeders. The Okotoks, Alta. native was drafted 28th overall to the Stampeders in the Canadian Football League Entry Draft in 2012.
Last summer he spent time on the practice roster but decided it wasn’t quite his time to make the foray into the big leagues.
“I got that experience, but decided I wanted to come back and finish my degree and play another year with the Huskies,” Power said. “If that works out in the future that’d be great. I’d like to explore that for a bit. It’s fun to try and go as far as you can in the sport.”
Power spent his first two years playing with the Huskies football team as linebacker, but at the start of his third year he made the switch to slotback.
“It was a pretty big change,” he said. “I played a little bit of slotback in high school but nothing at this level. It took a bit of adjusting. I think I picked it up fairly quickly.”
Moving positions wasn’t Power’s own design. His coaches asked him to make the change for the benefit of the team and, although it’s not something he would have considered on his own, he trusted their judgement.
“I went with it and it worked out pretty well. I think making that switch from linebacker I gave the offence a bigger receiver that can be a possession receiver and do some blocking,” Power said. “Being a big athletic guy has helped our offence get more dynamic.”
So far he’s been very successful in his new role. This year Power has recorded one touchdown and 143 receiving yards. Being the one to bring the ball into the endzone is something he didn’t get to experience holding down the trenches as a linebacker.
“It’s definitely exciting; you don’t get a feeling quite like that on defence,” he said. “When you get to score [touchdowns] at home they’re always special because of the fans and the fireworks.”
Even before he was on the end of scoring drives, the atmosphere was one of Power’s favourite parts of taking to the field.
“The fans out here are great; there’s no better fans in Canada West,” he said. “It’s great to play a sport and have that support and feel like you actually have fans out there.”
Power’s versatility doesn’t stop at just two positions. The Stampeders put Power in yet another role — that of fullback. All of these changes could be disorienting, but Power is taking it in stride.
He has enjoyed the excitement that comes with playing football since he was young.
“As a kid I liked hitting — you didn’t get to do that in school,” Power said. “It was something that I was fairly good at and it took a lot of athleticism and was challenging. I never really got bored of it.”
It’s been anything but a boring season for the Huskies, who sit in a three-way tie for second place in the Canada West division with the University of Manitoba Bisons and the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.
Having already secured a playoff position, it’s now a fight for home field advantage and gaining momentum going into the post-season.
“Getting in the playoffs is a big step and from there it’s anybody’s game,” Power said. “Our focus is on getting to the Hardy Cup first but the end goal is always the Vanier.”
The top ranked and undefeated University of Calgary Dinos have given the Dogs the most trouble this year, but Power thinks the team has the skills to knock them from the throne.
“I think if we clean up some of our mistakes and we play good games that we can beat those teams,” he said. “We’ve definitely got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot.
“From the offensive perspective it’s putting the ball in the endzone. We’ve moved it pretty well but once we’ve gotten to the 30-yard line in we haven’t put touchdowns on the board. If we can figure out how to do that we’ll be in a good position.”
As for playing for the enemy once his time with the Huskies is over, Power sees it as more of a homecoming than a betrayal.
“I grew up in Calgary so I was always a Stamps fan. I was never really a Riders fan.”
Photo: Jordan Dumba