Off-season under water

Tom Canada's had an eventful off-season where he's been around as much water as possible. (Sun...

Tom Canada's had an eventful off-season where he's been around as much water as possible. (Sun File/C. Procaylo)

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

Tom Canada has spent much of his off-season near the water, on the water and in the water.

In fact, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive end spent a little too much time IN the drink for his liking.

"Right after the season ended, I went to Costa Rica to do some whitewater rafting," Canada said from his Oceana Beach, Calif., home yesterday. "Then I spent some time on the rivers in Nicaragua."

Canada was training guides for the Outward Bound Company while in Central America where he had more than his share of spills out of the boat, thanks to the trainees' inexperience.

'NOT FUN'

"Swimming in the rapids is not fun," he said. "It's not like you're smiling while you're in there. It's dangerous. The water can hold you under.

"There were a couple of times when ya think, 'This might be it.' It's really only a couple of seconds but it seems like an hour. You don't want to be in the water, you want to be in the boat. Then you come up smiling."

But there were no other death-defying circumstances.

"We saw some crocodiles on the banks of some of the rivers but there were no issues with them," said Canada, 27. "There was no major carnage."

A camera buff, Canada also took about 500 pics of his ventures.

"Then, I came home for the holidays and I have been surfing and working out," he said while sitting on his ocean-front porch. "It's gorgeous here right now. I can see the sand from here but I can't see the ocean."

Canada also entered a Class 5 raft race on the Salmon River last week and his five-man boat finished "fourth or fifth out of 15 boats and some of them were professionals," he said. "But that was just for fun, there were no prizes or anything."

Canada also hits the weights daily and spends five days a week in the gym, preparing for the 2007 CFL season.

He plans to come to Winnipeg on May 24 to find a place to live and "get acclimatized."

"It should be an interesting year but right now, I'm just focusing on training camp, not the games, and adjusting to new coaches," he said.

However, both defensive co-ordinator Greg Marshall and defensive line coach Richard Harris will be back.

Canada will also have to adjust to a new interior lineman as either former Saskatchewan Roughrider Nate Davis or ex-Montreal Alouette Jerome Haywood will likely replace Ron Warner, who was traded to Edmonton.

"He's (Warner) moved on, that's the nature of the business and I wish him well," Canada said. "I don't know Nate Davis but he's a hell of a player and adding him to our defence will be nothing but positive."

The 6-foot-2, 260-pound American was unaware that Haywood had also been signed. Canada recorded 10 sacks last season, which was one short of the number posted by teammate Gavin Walls, who led the East.

B.C.'s Brent Johnson led the CFL with 16. Canada added 35 defensive tackles last year. And he is anxious to get started on his fourth CFL season.

"I'm excited about it and really looking forward to getting adjusted," he said.


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