Linebacker Zach Cloutier will continue his football career next season with the Regina Thunder.
His signing was officially announced on Canadian Junior Football League signing day on June 1 after a standout career with the Swift Current Comp. Colts.
“I’ve been kind of looking at the Thunder for the past couple years. I’ve had a couple of coaches throughout the years with other programs, like with the Selects, and I’ve really just grown to appreciate their style and the focus they have and what they bring as a team and the culture and working together as a team,” said the 17-year-old linebacker.
Cloutier stands 5’10’’ and tips the scales at 205 pounds.
“I definitely hope to improve my game. I hope to help myself and others and grow as a team and really get into the Thunder culture,” he said.
He will work and play football during his first season in Regina.
“I was going to try and get into Sask Polytechnic for welding but they’re all filled up, that class is filled up. I’m just going to end up working for the first year and then maybe next year I’ll try and go back in and do school,” Cloutier explained.
Cloutier was able to get a grade 12 season in with the Colts last fall.
“It was good. It was a little tough with some of the restrictions just getting off the Covid. Our school had a mandate that we needed both our shots to play and I didn’t have my second one quite yet, so I had to miss a game or two for that because I didn’t quite have it. But I still trained and was putting in the work even if I wasn’t practicing. I was still putting in the work and preparing to play.”
The hard-hitting linebacker was able to contribute on offense as well, showing off his athletic ability as a running back, particularly in short yardage situations close to the end zone.
“It was good. It was good to be able to do anything for the team and help the team out and try and win.”
The Colts finished the 12-Man Rural Football League with a 3-3 regular season record in 2021. They lost the bronze medal game to Moose Jaw Central.
“It was all kind of messed up, it wasn’t proper playoffs, but it was still good and I had a good time. It was a pretty good grade 12 year,” said Cloutier.
Cloutier is no stranger to elite level football having captained Team Saskatchewan to a U16 Western Challenge championship in 2019. He concluded his high school career on May 29 by suiting up in the Senior Bowl with the top 80 high school players from across the province.
“It was good. There was a lot of good players on the North Team there. On the South Team I had a couple buddies that I’ve played with before and it was just good to get back together with them and play one more game with the boys. Some of them might be playing still again next year or after their high school, but some of them I might not be able to see again. It was good to get out there that one more time and play with them.”
He will now spend the summer preparing to make the jump to Junior football.
“I have to keep working out, keep training, keep a good mindset, just keep adapting and really put in the work, get to know the Thunder better, and just keep grinding,” he concluded.