Bennett signs with Hurricanes
Like many of his Niagara Spears teammates, Ty Bennett was disappointed when the Ontario Provincial Football League season was cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It would have been the 19-year-old Niagara Falls resident’s third season of varsity ball and fifth overall campaign with the Spears organization.
“It was tough but it has given me an opportunity to realize that I need to get myself better prepared for junior football and kind of focus on the last few years I have left to play,” he said.
The six foot, 285-pound centre will take that new attitude to the Canadian Junior Football League. Earlier this summer, he signed with the Hamilton Hurricanes.
“I don’t have many years of football left and what I do on the field from here on out is going to be about more self-assessment and more pushing myself to make sure I can have the best couple years I can have.”
Bennett feels Hamilton is the perfect place to chase his gridiron dreams.
“The biggest thing that drew me to Hamilton was how great the team dynamic is and that the team is one of the best coached teams in the region,” he said. “It felt like it would be the best fit for me even though it involves a bit of travelling. I felt is was a great chance to experience playing for a better team and having better competition.”
The Westlane graduate had quite a bit of interest from Ontario University Athletics teams but decided the CJFL was his preferred route.
“Going through 12B, I had a couple of issues to deal with personally and I felt that I wasn’t heading towards a path that would make me happy,” he said. “I decided to switch courses and go the routes of college or the trades.”
There was also the pull of staying in Niagara.
“Having the ability to stay close to home and have my family nearby as well as former coaches and teammates played a big role as well.”
Spears varsity hard coach Brian Duguay will miss Bennett’s presence on the field.
“He comes from a good high school program with good coaches in Brad Martin and Jason Babony,” he said. “He has a huge respect for the game, which makes him a student. He called out our blocking assignments for the last two years on the Spears as our centre.”
Duguay also loved the character of Bennett.
“He was always positive, showed up to every practice and worked his butt off,” he said. “He will do well as I believe he could play at the next level.”
Bennett, who started his football career with Niagara minor football and then moved on to travel ball with the Niagara Spears and Cataract Football in Buffalo, N.Y., is taking his football career one step at a time.
“I would love to have the chance to play in the CFL but for now I have to look towards the CJFL and put my heart into that before I am able to look forward,” he said. “It’s going to be a big step up and I need to focus on the present rather than the future.”
He is staying in shape through his job as a labourer and is trying to follow workout programs suggested by coaches Jonathan Broom and Nathan Zavarella.
“With my work, I have been able to stay in shape and not fall too far behind.”
Like everyone else, Bennett is awaiting word on when the CJFL will be able to start play.