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Vernon CFL star staying put with B.C. Lions

Linebacker Ben Hladik signs two-year extension with home province team after record-breaking year
Vernon’s Ben Hladik has signed a two-year contract extension with the CFL’s B.C. Lions. (B.C. Lions/X photo)

In Vernon’s Ben Hladik, the Canadian Football League’s B.C. Lions have a top-notch Canadian linebacker.

And now they have him for another two years.

Hladik, 24, signed a two-year extension with the Leos on Tuesday, Feb. 6, one week before he was eligible to become a free agent on Feb. 13.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

He’s coming off a career season in 2023, becoming the first Canadian in franchise history to record 100 defensive tackles in a season, while recording a career-high five quarterback sacks to go along with one interception.

Hladik and the Lions made it to the CFL’s Western Conference final, before losing to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The former Vernon Panthers high school standout was chosen by his home-province Lions in the third round (22nd overall) of the 2021 CFL Draft. Hladik would play a solid special teams role in his rookie season, making six tackles and pair of stops on defence in 14 regular-season games.

Hladik moved into a starting role with the Lions in 2022, recording 65 total tackles (59 on defence at linebacker, six on special teams), two sacks, and pair of picks.

Before starting his CFL career, Hladik suited up in 28 games in three seasons with the UBC Thunderbirds, registering 189 combined tackles, 28 of them for a loss, seven sacks and an interception that he returned 50 yards for a touchdown.

He was a two-time U-Sports All-Canadian, and the Canada West Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2018.

Hladik helped VSS reach the 2016 Subway Bowl B.C. AA High School Football championship, where the Panthers lost to the Seaquam Seahawks of Delta.

READ MORE: B.C. Lions call on Vernon standout in CFL draft

READ MORE: Thunderbirds high on Hladik

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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