Now that the 2021 Canadian Football League season has been given the green light, albeit a shortened 14-game one, all nine teams are looking ahead to the start of things. The first cab off the rank will be training camps in July.
The full schedule has been released and in the East Division, the much-improved Montreal Alouettes open up on the road against the newly named Edmonton Elks. It will be in week two as they get a week one bye, leaving their fans waiting that little bit longer for their team to return. Their first home game isn’t until Week 4 when they’re due to host Hamilton at Percival-Molson Memorial Stadium.
Kicker David Côté was the Als’ number 4 pick in Round 5 and the 45th pick overall in the draft back in May. Montreal took five players in the CFL draft, three of whom are native Quebecers.
Hailing from Quebec City, and a product of the Laval University Rouge et Or, 24-year-old Côté graduated recently with a degree in physical education. He still has a season of eligibility left in U Sports but is hoping that this will turn out to be the start of his pro football career.
“When I was a kid, our home team in the CFL was the Alouettes so my family went up to Montreal to watch games,” he said. “Since I was young, I’ve followed them so it’s a dream to play for the team near my home.”
While at Laval, Côté excelled in all three facets of the kicking game including punting, kicking field goals and points after, and kickoffs. He credits his soccer background for helping him develop his game.
Côté, as all players do, has signed a contract to go to the Alouettes’ training camp next month. He knows full well, however, that being drafted and signing a training camp contract does not guarantee him a spot on Montreal’s final 46-player roster.
He says there are four other guys who will also be trying out for the kicker’s starting job, meaning competition will be intense.
“All four of them are great kickers so it will be a tight competition and hopefully I will be able to maybe learn something from them as I will probably be the youngest kicker there,” Côté said.
“I’m confident that I can show the coaching staff that I can do the job. I got drafted, so they must have seen something in me. I have a chance and if I do it right, there could be great things ahead for me.”
If he wins the starting role, Côté knows he will have some big boots to fill. The Als’ former kicker Boris Bede was with the team for five years and in that time played an integral part in its turnaround.
“Boris, during his time with Montreal, was really solid and reliable, but if I can do what he was doing it will be perfect because I know he was really good for the team and for the city.”
He says he has done as much as he can to keep himself in shape during the pandemic.
“Here in Quebec, we’ve been in lockdown for a year and a half, and the gyms were closed so I bought some weights on eBay and built a mini gym at home,” Côté added.
“I also bought a kicking net like we use in a game on the sideline, so I’ve been able to kick in my garage. That’s how I’ve tried to stay in shape during the pandemic.”
Montreal’s training camp opens on July 10.