Former Portage Pitbull goes coast-to-coast
Cole Brydges won the Holland Hurricanes Team MVP award after his stellar first season with the club in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The former Portage Pitbull has been from BC to PEI playing football. (Supplied Photo)
It all started with the Portage Pitbulls.
Portage football player Cole Brydges never thought the sport of football would open so many different paths for him but after going coast-to-coast playing well into his adulthood he’s thankful he took the step and joined the Portage Pitbulls program as a young athlete.
“I would never have thought football would be the sport to get me out of Canada,” says Brydges, who turned down a shot at playing NFL style ball in Hungary recently to attend a CFL combine for teams in the east.
“Football alone in Canada has taken me coast to coast,” he says. “I’m not the biggest kid, or the strongest or fastest, but I made it work. It’s not just hockey anymore the football programs are getting so much stronger and better and the opportunities are there for so many kids.”
Brydges started his career with the Pitbulls before moving on to the PCI Trojans football team when he won the provincial championship in 2008. The quarterback/receiver stood out on the field in high school but still only received a call from one team, The Okanagan Sun in British Columbia, where he played his next four years of football as a kick-returner/receiver, falling in the national championship game in his final season.
“BC was the best experience of my life, and I will recommend playing junior football to anyone,” says Brydges. “I wasn’t expecting to go anywhere after high school but they were the only team that invited me out and I went. I got a little playing time in my first couple of years then I broke my leg in my third year, but that helped me grow and realize that things don’t just come so easy.”
After BC, Brydges found himself off to the east coast in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, as he had been accepted into Holland College’s conservation program. He then sent an email with some tape to the Holland Hurricanes head coach, who invited Brydges out to the team's main camp.
“I wasn’t really expecting to go and play anywhere after junior but it kind of fell into my lap,” says Brydges. “Holland College has a football team and the coach invited me to camp, I made the team and had a good enough season to be named team MVP that year as well.”
Things recently started getting intense for Brydges a couple of months ago as he received a couple of important notices. The first was from a CFL Combine featuring the four teams including Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, and Saskatchewan. The second was a call from a team in Hungary offering him a spot on their roster which he turned down to try his hand at the CFL.
“I think it went well,” he says. “Everyone says I’m hard on myself and I feel I didn’t do as well as I hoped but I wasn’t out of place at all, and I felt I fit in with the other standouts. I’m trying to be modest but my friends know I have confidence in myself and I let my actions speak on the field. It would be a dream to get into the CFL.”
Whatever happens, Brydges is taking solace in the fact he has a strong career in the future with Holland College.
“They offered me the special team’s coordinator position for the Holland team I played for last year,” says Brydges. “The team is also in need of an offensive coordinator and I’ll have a hand in that too, so it’ll be a busy first year of coaching out here for me for sure, but I’m very excited.”
Brydges admits it all started with the Portage Pitbulls and encourages athletes to never give up because there are loads of opportunities popping up all across the country for young athletes in sports other than hockey like football, soccer, and basketball.