February 12, 2019

Demski staying home

Nic Demski is staying put in good ol’ hometown.

The University of Manitoba/Oak Park High School product put his name on a new two-year contract with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Tuesday afternoon, after just a few hours testing the Canadian Football League free agent market.

And while CFL free agency can be a boon to some – hello, Mike Reilly, Bo Levi Mitchell and Trevor Harris, among other stars – it can also be a nerve-wracking experience for someone like Demski.

“There were other teams calling, but honestly, my eyes were set on Winnipeg,” said Demski. “This is where I wanted to be. At the end of the day, this is the best deal for me, not only on the field, but off the field, too. It just made sense to pull the trigger and stay at home. So when it got done there was definitely a lot of weight off my shoulders and I’m super pumped this got done.”

Demski enjoyed a breakout 2018 campaign, shining in Paul LaPolice’s offence in his first real season as a starter after three years as primarily a reserve player with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

He finished third in both rushing and receiving yards for the Bombers, pulling in 59 passes for 554 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing 34 times for 248 yards and one more score. He also returned 26 kicks for 374 yards.

“Coming off a year like last year, where I started 17 games and had a lot of touches – not only catching the ball, but coming out of the backfield – that’s just something I really wanted to build on. I love the coaching staff here,” said Demski. “I love the offence. It just feels right to be here, not only because it’s my hometown, but because it’s the best fit.”

Demski was originally selected by the Roughriders in the first round, sixth overall, in the 2015 Canadian Football League Draft after a spectacular college career with the Bisons. He was the first Bisons player to be named to four CIS (now U Sports) all-star teams, as a CIS Second-Team All-Canadian slotback in 2013 and 2014 and as a kick-returner in 2011 and a First Team All-Canadian returner in 2012.

His return helps soothe some of the concerns about the Bombers’ Canadian content, especially following the retirement of centre Matthias Goossen and the departure of right guard Sukh Chungh to the B.C. Lions. Safety Taylor Loffler, another of last year’s crew of seven Canadian starters – along with running back Andrew Harris, left guard Pat Neufeld and Drew Wolitarsky – is also currently a free agent.

“At the start of all this I was anxious,” said Demski. “I just wanted something to go down and then when it finally came and there was still no deal, it was nerve-wracking for sure. At the end of the day I definitely wanted to be here and I definitely wanted to be in this offence and build upon last year and see where this can go.”