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 Adam Marchetti
Led by CJFL record setter, running back Andrew Pocrnic and a suffocating defence, the Langley Rams defeated the Westshore Rebels 35-12 to capture their second straight Cullen Cup title in 2019. Despite falling short of the ultimate goal of a CJFL Canadian Bowl title, these Rams will be commended for representing their community and the entire province of British Columbia with outstanding pride and determination.
They are the recipients of the BC Lions Orange Helmet Award as junior football champions in BC.
The Orange Helmet Awards are an annual marquee event on the BC Lions calendar, with proceeds supporting the development of amateur football in the province of British Columbia. It celebrates BC provincial champions at all levels of amateur football, pioneers of the sport, coaches and lifetime contributors to the game. To date the event has raised over $1,000,000 for amateur football and we salute the players, coaches and volunteers who share our passion for our great game.
The CJFL is focused on returning to play in 2021 and continue to plan for a full season leading up to the Canadian Bowl National Championship.
The cancellation of the 2020 season affected all of our players but most significantly those athletes that are nearing the end of their eligibility. The decision has been made to extend the eligibility of those players 22 years of age in 2020 (born 1998) for one additional season in 2021. Furthermore for those players 21 years of age in 2020 (born 1999) they have been granted one additional year of eligibility as well for the 2022 season. The CJFL remains committed to players that have chosen the CJFL as their long-term development path. To be eligible for this extended eligibility, affected players must have been on a 2019 CJFL roster, or registered with the CJFL (including those signed to a letter of intent) prior to August 6, 2020.
The CJFL and our 18 member teams continue to work towards a successful 2021 season.
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