When the Vancouver Island Raiders broke onto the scene, they completed turn the junior football landscape on its head and created a powerhouse instantly not only in British Columbia but across the country as well.
Founded in 2005, led by head coach Matt Blokker and team owner Hadi Abassi, the Raiders – for a four-year stretch from 2006 to 2009 – were the most dominant junior team in the country. They finished in first place each year and captured the B.C. league championship, Cullen Cup, in all four of those seasons. It was part of their overall run of six B.C. titles in a row (2006 to 2011) and seven of eight from 2006 to 2013.
Those first four years truly showed B.C.’s dominance on the junior landscape in Canada, and it was all due to the Raiders. They captured the Canadian Bowl championship on three occasions in 2006, 2008 and 2009. As of 2018, the 2009 Raiders are still the last team from B.C. to capture the Canadian national championship.
The Raiders developed a great number of star players but none more prolific than Andrew Harris, who would go on to become a star in his own right on the CFL stage capturing a Grey Cup in 2011 with the BC Lions. As of 2018, Harris is a star running back playing with his hometown Winnipeg Blue Bombers.