“Football makes a world of difference to young people and we are committed to making a positive difference by supporting football,” said Randy Ambrosie, Commissioner of the CFL.
“The ultimate team sport, which provides a place for kids of all skills, body types and backgrounds, football teaches teamwork, discipline and perseverance. That’s why our teams provide funding, and our players and coaches give generously of their time, to support amateur football for many age groups and in many forms, including tackle, flag and touch football.”
The commitment made today builds on the effort CFL teams and the league office made in 2017 when they invested $3,352,000 in amateur football, according to a survey conducted by the CFL.
Players and coaches made more than 700 appearances at amateur football events, teams made direct donations and celebrated amateur football in their communities, and clinics and tournaments were organized across the country.
Here is just a sampling of a few of the programs and initiatives:
- The Edmonton Eskimos donated their 50/50 draw earnings to support the development of amateur football in Northern Alberta. Recipients included Football Alberta, the Edmonton Wildcats, the Edmonton Huskies, University of Alberta Golden Bears Football and the Edmonton Eskimos Alumni Association’s amateur football initiatives.
- The Saskatchewan Roughriders donated their 50/50 earnings from each game to the University of Regina Rams, University of Saskatchewan Huskies, Regina Thunder, Saskatoon Hilltops, Regina Riot, and the Saskatoon Valkyries as well as Football Saskatchewan. Additionally, the Riders sponsored youth flag football leagues in Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw with both financial and in-kind donations.
- The Ottawa REDBLACKS donated their 50/50 earnings last year to the National Capital Amateur Football Association.
- The Montreal Alouettes donated to bursaries for the Foundation de l’athlete d’excellence du Quebec.
- The Hamilton Tiger-Cats PlayAction program recognized local coaches and organizers and provided local athletes with the opportunity to attend clinics, camps and Tiger-Cat home games. Twenty-five individual Tiger-Cats players participated in the ever-popular High School Mentorship program, leading and mentoring high school football players at practices and games during the fall football season. The Tiger-Cats also launched their first ever Flag Football program for local elementary students at Tim Hortons Field last year once a week for the month of May.
- The Winnipeg Blue Bombers supported both flag football and tackle football at all levels and ran free football programming for thousands of youth, in addition to providing multiple professional development and recognition opportunities for youth football coaches throughout the year.
- The Calgary Stampeders donated their 50/50 funds to local and amateur football groups like the Calgary Colts, Bantams, U of C Dinos and high school football programs, along with flag football programs in Calgary junior high schools. The team also supported student athletes who are members of the University of Calgary Dinos football team through the John Forzani Endowment Fund.
- The Toronto Argonauts hosted a Safe Contact Clinic where 150 amateur football coaches were certified in safe tackling and blocking techniques.
- The BC Lions hosted the annual Orange Helmet Awards dinner in support of amateur football in their province.
- The Canadian Football League launched the successful CFL NFL Flag football program which featured tournaments in all nine CFL cities, a national tournament at Grey Cup and a Canadian entry in an international competition at the Pro Bowl in Orlando.
“These programs and results speak to the power of the CFL to have a positive impact on amateur football and the young people who learn such valuable lessons from it,” Ambrosie said.
“Too often, the collective effort of our clubs and the league has been diminished by the fact we have not spoken with one voice. By conducting this survey of our amateur football efforts, we have uncovered the cumulative power of what we do. I have no doubt we will continue to build on this legacy and our sport and the young people it serves will both be better for it.”