Photo courtesy of Greystoke Photography
Class Of 2017: Eli Haynes
An All-Star linebacker for the Okanagan Sun
By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters)
Eli Haynes is a homegrown player for the Okanagan Sun who spent the past five seasons chasing down tackles at the Apple Bowl.
In his final CJFL season in 2017, he led the BC Conference with 38 tackles and 114 total defensive points. Along with his tackle total, he also tallied four knockdowns, forced two fumbles and recovered a pair as well. Over on Special Teams, he collected seven tackles and assisted on two others. He was named a BC Conference Defensive All-Star.
He is part of the CJFL’s Class of 2017: WATCH HIS HIGHLIGHT VIDEO HERE
Why play for the Sun in the first place? – “I watched the Sun play growing up and they were my home team. I was just very fortunate to be able to move on to play for such a great junior organization in my hometown.”
Why did you stay with the Sun for all five years? – “I already had the opportunity to pursue a degree at UBC Okanagan while continuing to play for the Sun. The team scholarship fund helped me out with tuition, so I didn’t need to pursue university football for school.”
Now that you’ve graduated from the CJFL, what’s the biggest lesson you take away? – “Never be late”
Each player goes through a lot during his CJFL career, how did you grow as a person? – “I think the most growth happened in my first year out of high school. Being an 18-year-old rookie practising against the vets every day was a challenge that made me better. Also, getting to meet so many different guys from all walks of life was really eye-opening for me having grown up in Kelowna my whole life.”
What’s your favourite memory of playing with the Sun? – “Winning the Cullen Cup in 2015”
Knowing what you know now, would you change anything about your five seasons in the CJFL? -“Nothing. I’m happy with where I’m at now, so I have no regrets.”
What will you miss most? – “Playing in front of the home crowd at the Apple Bowl.”
What is next for Eli Haynes? – “I’m going to supplement my degree from UBCO by playing more football and studying at McMaster University next year. There’s no real master plan.”
Okanagan Sun linebacker Eli Haynes is part of the CJFL Class of 2017.