REGINA -- Several of the University of Regina’s varsity sports teams have resumed training, despite the cancellations and postponements to the U Sports varsity season.

The men’s and women’s basketball teams are doing small group training sessions in the gym and the volleyball team plans on getting back on the court next week.

The Rams Football team returned to the field on Monday, even though their 2020 season has been cancelled.

The team has approximately 100 players on its roster, 60 of which are in the Regina area and able to train.

The SHA guidelines say contact sports are allowed, but the University has implemented more conservative practice protocols. Players do a self-assessment before each session, attendance is taken, and the team has been split into four, smaller training groups.

The internal guidelines will likely loosen as the pandemic subsides.

Interim Head Coach Mark McConkey said he has spoken to Saskatchewan Huskies Head Coach Scott Flory about playing some exhibition games in October. For now, the team is just excited to be back on the field.

“It’s awesome,” said McConkey, who took over as head coach in February. “I know the players are pretty excited, just seeing people, getting back out exercising, if anything it’s great for them mentally and physically.”

Josh Donnelly was the Rams starting quarterback in 2019 and was looking to build on that confidence this season, but looks at this training as an opportunity.

“You have a lot longer to get ready for the next season so you can find ways to really fine tune the little things, go back to basics, make sure everything is good from the bottom up and work your way through the off season as we do have such a long one,” said Donnelly.


Most Rams players began their wait to get back on the gridiron recently, but then there’s Kyle Borsa, who has already been waiting over a year to rejoin the Rams.

The running back learned a hard lesson in 2018, the last time he suited up for the U of R. He failed a U Sports drug test after taking a pre-workout supplement he was led to believe was safe and clean. But it contained a band substance.

“I don’t take anything supplement wise anymore, it’s just not worth it,” Borsa said.

It cost him a year of eligibility and a 16-month ban from all U Sports activities.

“I’ve learned a lot. Learned be diligent in what you’re doing, I’ve learnt don’t take things for granted and you learn how good your support system is.”

“I can’t imagine what he’s been through,” said his teammate Donnelly. “He’s stayed optimistic about the whole thing and he’s just waiting for his opportunity and I’m so excited to see him on the field.”

Borsa was allowed to return to the Rams in February. He participated in a few workouts, but his comeback was halted due to COVID-19. He said stepping onto the field this week for his first training with the team, was an indescribable feeling.

“It’s the best thing ever, it’s the thing I miss the most about the team,” says the 21 years old. “It’s training out here with the guys, being around the guys.”

McConkey said the experience has served as a powerful lesson to all the players, many of whom also take supplements.

“He was in a dark place for sure, I know he was pretty upset, pretty angry and we all were. But he just used that as fuel.”

A spark to an already sizzling Canada West career. In 2018, Borsa led the Canada West with six rushing touchdowns. He also had the third best rushing average in the conference, with over 75 yards a game, in just his second year in the league.

“When that gets taken away from you, it’s a hard pill to swallow,” said Borsa.

Now, Borsa and the team face another hurdle. The football team has to wait one more year before competing.

Donnelly thinks Borsa’s experience will show his teammates that patience can make you hungrier.

“I think a lot of guys will body around that and follow him in the next year and it shows how much he loves the team and loves the sport.”