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Hamilton Tiger-Cats select Vernon player in CFL draft

Josh Hyer, former VSS Panther and U. of Calgary alum, chosen by Ti-Cats in eighth round, 64th overall
Former Vernon Panthers standout Josh Hyer, a defensive end from the University of Calgary Dinos, was chosen in the eighth round of the Canadian Football League draft Tuesday, May 2, by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. (Vernon Panthers Facebook photo)

Into the eighth and final round of the 2023 Canadian Football League entry draft, Josh Hyer turned to a friend who was at his Vernon home and said, “I’m not so sure it’s (being drafted) going to happen.”

Seconds later, Hyer’s name popped up on the television screen.

The Vernon Panthers and University of Calgary Dinos defensive end alumnus was selected in the eighth round, 64th overall, by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the draft held Tuesday, May 2.

“When it got to the last round, I thought it might not happen,” said Hyer, 23, of his selection. “It’s awesome. It’s something I’ve been dreaming of since I was a kid, and for it to finally happen is pretty cool.”

Hyer – who had his family and a few friends gathered around the TV in his Vernon home to watch the draft – graduated from the Panthers program in 2016. He went on to play at the University of Calgary, winning a Vanier Cup national championship in 2019.

Hyer has played in 32 total games for the Dinos, racking up 49 total tackles over that span – with 14 finishing as tackles for loss. He also has 5.5 career sacks. While battling through a banged up 2022 season, Hyer had a breakout game in a win at Alberta that saw him finish with six total tackles, three for loss, and a tone-setting sack in the early going.

He credits his high school coaching and university experience for helping him realize his CFL dream.

“Sean Smith (VSS head coach) is a great coach and a great mentor, one of the best coaches I’ve ever had,” said Hyer. “From there, I went to the U of C. Was there for six years and while I was there, I was soaking in everything, being a sponge, never being complacent where I was at. I kept working every day, working toward that goal and finally got there.”

Smith was ecstatic for his former standout.

“The whole Panther family is proud of what Josh D Hyer has been able to achieve,” said Smith. “At every level, he’s always been dedicated to his teammates and to becoming the best he can be. To see him reach the highest level of football, and be drafted by the Tiger Cats, is such a great moment for Josh and his family. The Panther family wishes him continued success in the pros.

Hyer is the second Panther grad taken in the CFL. His longtime friend, former teammate and VSS Class of 2016 alum Ben Hladik was chosen in the third round in 2021 by the B.C. Lions.

“Ben called me after I was drafted and said it was going to be awesome to be on the same field with you again,” said Hyer. “Playing the B.C. Lions is going to be cool.”

The Tiger-Cats visit the Lions in Week 12 on Saturday, Aug. 26.

Former Fulton Maroons star James Green was selected in the third round of the 2009 draft by the Toronto Argonauts.

Hyer is the 13th Dino selected by Hamilton in the CFL draft.

—-with files from Jack Neumann, University of Calgary

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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