Minor Football in strong position after successful year

By Greg Nikkel

Weyburn Minor Football has a very solid financial position after a highly successful year that included opening a new football field at the Comp sports field and lights for their first-ever night game.

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President Jody Kerr said the age categories all had strong numbers of registrations last year, with over 50 in bantam, over 60 for the peewees, and 30 on the atom team.

The bantam team was “large and strong”, coached by Chris Michel, and they had a great time of competition including playing in the championship final. They made good use of a practice squad, which Kerr said helped to ease younger players into the team.

The peewee division had two teams with so many players, with 30 on each roster, which was pretty good for Weyburn, when a larger centre like Moose Jaw had 75 players in total.

“We were very good from the start, although we lost a few players along the way,” said Kerr, commenting there was a very good balance achieved between the two teams, the Ravens and the Jr. Eagles, and the championship game was one of the best games ever.

The atom team was coached by Randy Uhren, who along with his assistants were able to “show kids how much fun it is to play, and how much work it is to learn the game,” said Kerr.

“We’re set up with some great programming, and it’s showing with the peewee and bantam teams. We’re seeing positive results,” he added, including some good exhibition games with Estevan. Getting the new field ready was a huge part of last year’s activities, said Kerr, with a great startup day and having the lights on for a night game for the first time in Weyburn.

Minor Football raised fees slightly for this year, he said, and noted it costs about $6-700 per player to outfit them with equipment, which is covered by Minor Football.

Brent Allin provided an update about how the process went to develop the new field, and used the analogy of a football game to describe it.

“We started from our own two-yard line and moved down the field. We’re not in the end zone yet, but we’re in the red zone,” said Allin, noting that the organization has come a long, long way in the last year.

The new lights were put up and turned on, and the new washrooms were put in place, said Allin, who paid tribute to some of the volunteers and their companies that contributed greatly to getting the field in a playable condition. He noted Dan Gulash of Prairie Lightning Electric, and his crew, did a lot of work, as one day Allin counted seven vehicles on site with the crew working.

Michael Mainil and his people did a lot of work, as did Swayze’s and John Hulbert Construction, with a building donated from Cenovus Energy, and materials were also provided by TS&M and Access Communications, plus crews from Weyburn’s City Parks department did a lot of work just prior to the first game held on the new field. Allin also noted a number of “older” volunteers who came out to put on some finishing touches, such as Randy Bangsund, Dick Michel, Kerry Dolter and several others, and there were probably more names that he may have missed as well.

“This year we’ll continue to work on the top dressing and get the field condition improved. There’s a couple different ways we can do that, although that will depend on the conditions,” said Allin.

In the financial report, Kerr noted the total income for Minor Football operations was $55,272, including grants, fundraising, equipment sales and registrations, and expenses that totaled $33,597, including fees, insurance, equipment, referee costs, and training costs.

The finances for the field development was reported separately, with the income totaling $55,391, including a transfer of $15,000 from savings, a Football Sask grant of $13,000, a donation from Caprice Resources of $12,855, and $11,338 from the Riders Block Party.

The expenses for the field totaled $81,373, leaving a deficit of $25,981. Minor Football has a loan from the City of Weyburn, and they made their first instalment to pay that back, said Kerr.

The executive for 2018 is mostly the same as last year with some minor changes. Kerr will continue to be the president, Brett Cooper is vice-president, the treasurer is Tanya Stinson, the secretary is Tanya Brown, Bonnie Honig is program administrator, Brent Allin is the facilities coordinator and Jeremy Charlton looks after the equipment.

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