The Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL) is elated to announce the expansion Quinte Skyhawks will begin play in the Ontario Conference in 2021.
The Skyhawks become the 18th team in the CJFL and sixth in the Ontario Conference.
“My goal and vision has always been to bring next level football to our region, being in a smaller market I wanted to give athletes opportunity to showcase the love they have for football,” says Skyhawks’ President Peter Gabriel. “Joining the CJFL was a natural progression giving athletes the opportunity to continue to play the sport they love after high school. For me it’s about creating opportunities for our youth. The CJFL provides for many athletes that think their football days are behind them, the opportunity to continue to live out their passion and dream of playing football at a higher level. Football is more than a game, it’s a life journey that mentors and guides young men preparing them for the next phase of their lives. That’s the CJFL factor!”
Players of the Skyhawks will not only come from Belleville, but the team plans to draw players and coaches from Kingston to Oshawa to Peterborough. This area of Ontario has an established flag football league, has strong high school programs and an extremely talented bantam league with nine teams in the Quinte Skyhawks Minor Football League.
“It’s a very exciting day for all of us in the CJFL,” says Commissioner Jim Pankovich. “With the cancellation of our 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is a welcomed announcement. This shows the CJFL continues to head in the right direction and we believe Peter has the right people in place and the right plan to be a successful franchise for years to come.”
The Skyhawks will play out of Mary Ann Sills Park in Belleville, which is a field turf surface. It is a multi-use facility hosting the Ontario OFSAA Track and Field meet and the Junior Ultimate Frisbee Championships.
The club will have another major announcement on Wednesday, followed by the naming of the team’s first ever head coach on Friday.
Belleville Ontario is 188kms east of Toronto and 230kms west of Ottawa. The last census in 2016 counted 50,720 people living in the Belleville area which is home of the Bay of Quinte. Locals and visitors can enjoy world class wine and amazing farm to table restaurants.
Another strong region for the Skyhawks is Quinte West (formally known as Trenton) which has a population of 43,577 and is 25 minutes from Belleville. It is also the home of the National Air Force Museum of Canada.
Photo courtesy of Joanna Kurowski Photography
The London Beefeaters captured the Ontario Conference title in 2019 for the first time since 2012. They used a high powered offence along with a stifling defence that allowed the fewest points scored.
The pass rush of the Beefs was solid, including the linebacker core. One of the leaders in the was Codey McRoberts who tallied 11 solo tackles, assisted on one stop, collected a sack, one interception, forced two fumbles and had a Conference high 6 knockdowns.
He is a London born multi sport athlete who really found his feet with his football abilities in 2018 and has continued to push his leadership right into the offseason. In his third year as a Beef, he found himself in a battle for a starting spot at the strong side linebacker position. Down the stretch he began to assert himself taking full advantage of the opporunity. During the last few games of the season McRoberts was all over the field blocking punts, intercepting passes for touchdowns, and making key tackles on defence and special teams.
Check out his highlight package …
From the desk of Jesse Maddox
Today, I officially step down as the Head Coach of the London Beefeaters Football Club.
When I was hired in January 2019, it was an absolute pleasure and honour to be named the London Beefeaters Head Coach. It was a dream come true for me.
Today is very bittersweet for me - this has been an incredibly difficult decision. 2020 has been an absolute tough year for many people, myself included. I need to take time to focus on my career in BC, my education and most importantly, my children. With the CJFL decision to cancel the 2020 season, I feel in my heart that this is the best time for me to step away and focus on these things. I want to specifically thank Rob and Jen Annen for everything they did for me and for having my back during all my madness - I do appreciate it! My coaching staff for putting up with me - you guys made my job easy! To the 2019 and 2020 Beefeater players - I've watched us change, build, grow and become strong men who understand how to win. The hundreds of athletes I've gotten to know through the recruiting process & pestered about becoming a Beefeater! And also, my friends, family and my children, Peyton & Jaxon.
London is my hometown. I am a former Beefeaters player and I truly believe that I am leaving the Beefeaters program in great shape moving forward, with so much potential to continue building on the successes of 2019. From the top down, the Beefeaters are ready for the next step. I'm excited to see what's next in Beefeaters greatness! - Jesse Maddox
Coaches have kept sports alive in 2020. Has your kid's coach helped them through this crisis?Nominate them for a chance to win $2500!