May 24, 2019

“I want to do right by this city” | Demski playing for hometown

The novelty will never wear off for Nic Demski. That’s guaranteed.

There’s something still very special each time the hometown product pulls on a Winnipeg Blue Bombers jersey and runs out of the tunnel at IG Field. With that comes a sense of obligation, of responsibility – and now that he has a year under his belt with the club – of expectation.

The slotback/running back/returner had a career year in 2018 and wants to grow those numbers even further this season. And so as much as training camps are about introductions to new faces and watching positional battles unfold, they are also about discussing the potential growth in those who have already been here.

“Last year I was a vet coming into a new team,” began Demski the other day in a chat with “I knew I had to come in here, work hard and prove myself and get comfortable with the playbook. This year is night and day with that. Obviously I’m still going to come out here and work hard, but I’m as comfortable as ever with this playbook. I’m comfortable with what LaPo (offensive coordinator Paul LaPolice) sees with this offence and what he wants to get done out here.

“I made that adjustment last year. This year it’s about hitting it in full stride and taking off and running.”

After being a first-round selection of the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2015 – much to the chagrin of fans in this province – Demski’s first season in Bomber colours after signing here in free agency established himself as both a legitimate starter and an offensive weapon.

He finished third in both rushing and receiving yardage for the Bombers, with 59 receptions for 554 yards and 248 yards on 34 catches. He also added 98 yards in punt returns, second to Kevin Fogg.

There’s a very real possibility that Demski’s comfort in the system and the people around him could result in those offensive numbers cranking up in 2019.

“One of the things LaPo talked about when I signed here was playing running back a little bit and blocking. I hadn’t ever done that before, so that was something I had to get comfortable with,” Demski said. “I’ve had that now, I’m comfortable with it, and now I’m just trying to hit it and run with it.

“That’s one of the reasons I came here last year and the exact reason why I wanted to extend with this team. I just know there are different ways LaPo wants to set up plays, different ways we can run plays and the way we use different players out here. It’s not only myself, we’ve got different players who are diverse. We’ve got a bunch of weapons on this offence, so it’s pretty exciting to be out here right now.

“The next step, which is something I’ve been saying since I joined the league, is to just be consistent with it,” Demski added. “Last year I was decently consistent. But in my mind I’ve got no excuses now. I’ve just got to go out there and treat every play like I know what I’m doing, because I do know what I’m doing, and do it full speed and be consistent, whether it’s running, whether it’s catching, whether it’s blocking, whether it’s making a big play or setting up my teammates for a big play.”

A year-round Winnipeg resident, Demski is often reminded – sometimes politely, other times not so much – about the franchise’s championship drought. And that’s something he and the other Winnipeg products not only discuss occasionally, but also serves as a massive motivator.

“It’s funny, a lot of people say the reason I came back was because it’s my hometown. That’s true, but it’s also just icing on the cake,” said Demski. “For me, I can’t wait to get that ultimate goal and bring it back to this city. I want to do right by this city. We’ve got a lot of Winnipeg guys here and it’s something we talked about all offseason. It’s time to do it now.”