Logan Ferland enjoyed an extended vacation.
While spending most of January in South Africa, the 26-year-old offensive lineman signed a contract extension that makes him a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders through the 2025 Canadian Football League season.
“It’s really reassuring and obviously important for my family, too,” says the Melfort-born guard, who has yet to miss a game since becoming a starter with the Green and White in 2021.
“They’re my main support and the reason why I’m in this place, so it’s really great to have that continuous support and know that I’m going to be locked in for two years.”
Ferland, who was named the Roughriders’ Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman in 2022 and 2023, could have tested free agency. But why move? His heart has always been here.
“I grew up in Saskatchewan, not too far from here, and then had the dream ever since I started playing junior ball to be with this organization,’’ says Ferland, a graduate of the Prairie Football Conference’s Regina Thunder.
“With the fact that I can stay here and be with this group and this coaching staff coming in, I am more than excited and ready to go.”
A largely new staff is led by Corey Mace, who was named the Roughriders’ Head Coach on Nov. 30.
“With the style they’ve already defined the team as, it seems like it is going in the direction that I’ve wanted for a very long time,” Ferland says. “That direction is more the true Sask football — how it should be played.
“It’s gritty and tough. Coach Mace described it as ‘blue-collar football’ and that is what I grew up with and that is exactly how I wanted it to go back to.
“It’s the style that I agree with the most and jive with the most and that’s what I’m really looking forward to.”
Any offensive lineman would welcome such a smash-mouth approach.
“That means we can be physically dominant, tough and resilient,” Ferland says. “That seems to be the style that Coach Mace wants and it’s just really exciting to get back to that style of football. That’s something I’ve been missing for a long time.”
Ferland didn’t miss the snow — what there was of it — while spending the first few weeks of 2024 in the South African cities of Cape Town and George.
“My brother and his husband have a place out there, so we were lucky enough to spend a month at their place and experience another part of the world,” Ferland says.
“It’s one of those things that’s kind of indescribable until you go there.”
Now that the excursion has concluded, how could it best be described?
“There’s a lot of similarities to Canada, believe it or not,” Ferland notes.
“There’s a lot of similarities to the B.C. landscape, with the mountains, or the Calgary landscape, with the rolling hills. Then you can go an hour north and it’ll be just like Saskatchewan — flat. Then you can go a couple of more hours north and it’s all desert.
“The landscape changes so much and that was really part of the enjoyment — seeing all different types of landscape and experiencing that with the family.”
Ferland was able to enjoy those experiences while maintaining his off-season workout regimen.
“It is advantageous, too, to go somewhere warm to train,” he says. “I can actually use a field and experience the hot weather. It’s a little easier to get up when the sun’s shining versus here, where you don’t have the sunrise until 8 or 9 o’clock.
“It definitely could be advantageous to train in something like that and it’s obviously good to go on a holiday and get away from things for a while.”
At this time of year, South Africa is enjoying summer and temperatures that routinely exceed 20 degrees and sometimes surpass 30.
“It’s a totally different world over there,” Ferland says. “Rugby’s obviously a huge thing. As you’re walking around the city, you’re getting approached, with people thinking you’re a rugby player or something like that.”
As a professional football player — employed by a team that was originally the Regina Rugby Club — Ferland developed an appreciation for being able to travel across the country.
Now he has the itch to cross the ocean again.
“The family tie was definitely the reason for this trip, because I never would have thought about going to South Africa,” he says.
“The opportunity was pretty phenomenal and I have zero regrets. I’m definitely going back there.”