Demski taking it to another level Blue Bombers’ homegrown receiver on pace for a career year

Brady Oliveira still remembers the first time he saw Nic Demski on the football field.

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Brady Oliveira still remembers the first time he saw Nic Demski on the football field.

Oliveira, who was in Grade 9 at Garden City Collegiate at the time and playing for the North Winnipeg Nomads, made the trip to Oak Park High School to see the Raiders take on the Sisler Spartans.

Demski had a monster game, which was common for him during his time at Oak Park, and after the final whistle, Oliveira was invited down to the locker room.

Nic Demski's nine touchdowns are the most he’s had in a season and his 52 catches for 613 yards put him on pace to set new career highs across the board. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

“Nic was probably in Grade 11 then. I got to meet him and I remember feeling so small at that time and him being so big, at least in my eyes, you know what I mean? It was like, oh my gosh, this guy is a stud on the field, and he’s going to this high school and this is the high school that I want to go to,” Oliveira, who transferred to Oak Park the following year, said after Thursday’s closed practice as the Bombers prepare to host the Edmonton Elks on Saturday.

“It’s just so crazy because I remember that moment of meeting him vividly, and being able to talk to him in the locker room and him just telling me ‘Keep doing what you’re doing. I’ll always be here if you need to talk to someone.’ And now we’re teammates and he’s one of my best friends… But just looking back at that moment when I first met him, I was like ‘Holy (expletive), that’s Nic Demski.’”

Considering how Demski is playing for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers this season, he might be getting similar responses to that one around town. The 28-year-old is now in his seventh CFL season and enjoying a career year despite missing four games due to injury. His nine touchdown receptions are the most he’s had in a season (his previous high was four) and his 52 catches for 613 yards put him on pace to set new career highs across the board.

On Wednesday, Demski was named one of the CFL’s Top Performers for the month of September.

Seeing Demski reach these heights doesn’t surprise Oliveira one bit.

“The reason why he’s able to separate himself is because he’s so smart. He understands the coverages, he knows the reads, he knows what routes he’s got to run and he’s just a playmaker. I mean, you want to get the ball in No. 10’s hands because he’s gonna go out there and make plays,” said Oliveira, who’s having a solid season himself as his 858 rushing yards are the second most in the CFL.

“He’s one of my best friends and seeing him have success and him being Canadian as well and putting on for the city of Winnipeg and doing all these great things, but I mean, you take away the whole Canadian status and he’s one of the best receivers in the league right now. Period.”

Receiver Rasheed Bailey can recall his first impression of Demski. The Philadelphia native came up to Winnipeg in 2019 after getting released from five different NFL teams and quickly took notice of the hometown product.

Nic Demski has scored five touchdowns in three games against the Saskatchewan Roughriders this season. (John Woods / The Canadian Press files)

“Demski was always like one of those Swiss army knives. He could do everything, man,” Bailey told the Free Press.

“You know, he’s a guy who I got a lot of love for. I’m talking about on a personal level. There’s always like one guy that I get really close with on the receiving core every single year and this year, it happens to be Demski. And I looked at him when I first met him, and I said ‘I gotta take a little piece of his game. I gotta add it to my repertoire.’”

The Saskatchewan Roughriders picked Demski sixth overall out of the University of Manitoba in the 2015 CFL Draft. After three years in the green and white — during which he caught 69 balls for 725 yards and three touchdowns — Demski was a free agent. Saskatchewan was open to bringing him back, but Demski saw the Bombers’ offence as a place where a young receiver like him could reach his full potential.

The Riders certainly wish they did more to keep him around. In three games against Saskatchewan last month, Demski lit them up for 244 yards and five touchdowns.

“I’ve seen what Saskatchewan has to offer and the type of schemes that they run. I’m just gonna say, it’s something that I know, so, I know how to attack it,” said Demski with a grin.

Demski now has seven touchdowns in his last five games and is playing the best ball of his career.

“I just want to win, man. You know, I don’t really care about being the best. Well, I mean, I do, to a certain degree, but I just want to be the best version of me for this team,” Demski said.

“I just want to keep pushing the limits and keep opening doors for Canadian receivers and Canadian athletes all together.”

Demski was named one of the CFL’s Top Performers for the month of September. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

Demski’s teammates think he’s well on his way to achieving that.

“It’s funny you asked me about him today,” Bailey said. “I was messing around with him today and said ‘Man, in about 20 years we might see Nic Demski’s name in the Ring of Honour one day.’”

taylor.allen@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @TaylorAllen31

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen
Reporter

Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of...

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