The Prairie Football League (PFC), a member of the Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL) has announced that it has received an application to establish a Junior Football team in Lethbridge, Alberta.
The interested party, lead by local football enthusiast Anthony Parker, has inquired to the PFC for permission to pursue this endeavour and launch the expansion process.
While announcing the received proposal, PFC President, Randy O’Shaughnessy said “The PFC has maintained a level of excellence over the past decades and we are happy to discuss this opportunity with Lethbridge. We are keenly focused on evaluating the strength of the proposal including the financial viability of the sponsor group. There will be challenges to discuss and overcome and there are many details to work out before we would be able to grant a franchise membership to the PFC. We are excited to explore the feasibility of this proposal and the PFC has agreed in principal to begin the exploration of expansion into Lethbridge.”
Next steps will include developing a strong business plan which will need to address the operations side of the organization including sources and uses of funds, identification of an appropriate venue, formalization of recruitment strategies and long-term player, coach and organizational development plans.
The PFC will also ensure that its expectations from all its member teams for a high degree of social responsibility and community involvement from the players, coaches and organizations can be met through the granting of this franchise membership.
The Lethbridge Organizing Committee (LOC) will work throughout the winter to address these questions as well as many more culminating with a presentation including the Business plan at the PFC’s Annual General Meeting scheduled for March 2021. At that meeting a vote by the membership will occur which will result in either acceptance, rejection or a request for more information, deferring a decision to a subsequent meeting.
“This is a long, hard process”, O’Shaughnessy said. “We have had more than a few requests over the years but the last one accepted was the Winnipeg Rifles approx. 18 years ago. We are committed to helping Lethbridge succeed and it was unanimous at our PFC Board meeting that our Board Members, who we believe are among the top businesspeople and football minds from all of our Member cities, will assist in this process as needed. The PFC franchises are a very close group with the interest of growing this game we love.”
Canadian leaders in football announced that they will come together for a two-part Canadian Football Summit Meeting Series. The first of two-discussion series will be held remotely throughout the month of October. Stakeholders have identified five key areas of focus for the initial series of discussions. Within each area of focus, the group will review the current state of the game and collaboratively identify and explore key opportunities to further grow and develop the sport.
Leadership from Football Canada, Canadian Football League (CFL), Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL), U SPORTS and leadership from the Canada West, OUA, RSEQ and AUS have confirmed their participation for the first of two-round meeting series.
“We have the opportunity to do something which is long overdue and that’s to bring this game together as a unified force,” said Football Canada President, Jim Mullin. “I get the sense from the isolation of phone and Zoom calls we are all sharing, that the desire to work cooperatively is at an all-time high. We have a unique opportunity for the sport to emerge with a renewed energy, organization and purpose. I want to ensure football is ready for Canadians when we fully step back into our communities and the game.”
The second set of discussions will seek further detailed discussion and alignment on female tackle football, high school football, flag football, specific diversity issues and regional relationships. The second round will follow a similar format and will run over two weeks early this winter.
“We are committed to this Summit as we work towards a strong return in 2021,” said CJFL Commissioner Jim Pankovich. Working collaboratively with our Canadian football partners is extremely important as we return from missing a season on the field due to the pandemic. We are thrilled to be participating in these discussions and working groups with others from across the country to provide new and improved football opportunities for young athletes.”
Key topics that will be on the agenda this month include:
1. Programming and New Engagement
Focus on enhancing, supporting, and promoting the existing grass roots youth football programming being delivered across the country. While also exploring ways to further introduce the game of football (contact and non-contact) to new populations of youth. The group will also discuss paths to coaching, officiating and diversity.
2. Competitions and Events
The group will review the current calendar of Canadian Football events and discuss opportunities to align operations that will build stronger revenue streams, increase media attention & broaden audiences.
Discussions will focus on how the Canadian Football ecosystem can further align to solidify Canada’s position as global leader in the sport while also supporting the globalization of the game.
4. Information and Visibility
Stakeholders will address opportunities to enhance the promotion and recognition of Canadian Football endeavours.
Leaders will assess the possibility of streamlining and standardizing various processes to create resources that are beneficial to multiple parties.
This marks the first Football Summit Series since 2006.
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.
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