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Finding football, unexpectedly, on the West Coast
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Although Braedyn Charette had thoroughly enjoyed his time with both the Confederation Chargers and the Sudbury Gladiators, football was not part of the plan when he decided to head back to the West Coast in December of 2018.

Moving in with a sister in Victoria, the now 22 year-old was returning to his region of birth - and an absolutely gorgeous setting, to boot.

It was only through a tip from high-school friend Riley Merriman, he himself now relocated to Nanaimo (B.C.) that Charette even became aware of head coach Curtis Vizza and the Vancouver Island Raiders.

Attending a two day rookie camp in the spring of 2019, Charette most recently completed his third full year in the British Columbia Football Conference, the westernmost segment of the Canadian Junior Football League, seven teams strong this past summer.

"The speed of the game really changes," said Charette, who manned both the offensive and defensive lines during his time in Sudbury but has been able to focus solely on his role as a nose tackle and, more recently, a defensive end with the team that plays out of Nanaimo.

"You have to have a really high football IQ."

Where two-way play was a must at times during his years at Confederation, the concept is quite foreign on a team whose roster numbers more than fifty.

"It was quite nice not having to constantly be on the field, play after play, just focusing on one position that you really care about," said Charette.

Though the Raiders have captured no less than nine BCFC championships since 2005 and have gone on to win the nationals on three occasions (2006, 2008, 2009), the summer of 2022 was a tough one, the team sporting a record of 1-9.

"The competition here is so good," said Charette. "There are no easy wins on the schedule. This was the first time in years that we did not make the playoffs."

With stops on the BCFC schedule including visits to the Okanagan Suns (Kelowna), Kamloops Broncos and Westshore Rebels (Langford), Charette has taken in some very historic coast-line football venues.

"The Raiders had natural grass for a long time - Okanagan as well," he said. "And Langford is one of the bigger football atmospheres that I have ever experienced."

Currently completing his personal training certification, the former SDSSAA all-star has not ruled out a return to Sudbury at some point, especially given the resurgence of summer football in these parts.

"It would definitely be cool to reunite with some of the guys that I played with or against during my high-school days," he said.

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