The Glenn Francis McHugh (GFM) Foundation hosted its 2012 North Shore Football League Spring Super Bowl on Saturday at the field which bears the foundation’s name in Dollard des Ormeaux.
Nine teams from Alexander, West and Sunnybrook Park from three levels of competition (Mosquito, Atom, Peewee) were invited to participate in a two-hour event during which the field was separated in three to allow all players to play friendly-competition games at once. It was, according to GFM Foundation president Nabil Naccache, a drills-and-skills camp that the North Shore football league also contributed to fund. The teams voluntarily registered for this camp.
“Everything went very well, we had a good registration. We initially had hope that we would get every single player but that’s impossible. We got about 50 per cent of the total amount of registered players who came out for this camp. Our objective was to create new excitement and bring out new kids to football and for that we were extremely successful. We’re trying to build the base of football in the West Island because it all starts with the youth and they are here,” said Naccache.
The GFM Foundation had managed to get Calgary Stampeders wide receiver Jabari Arthur, who played his minor league football at Sunnybrooke Park, to come and meet with the kids. He signed autographs and spoke of the importance of education to the over 60 kids that had come to the camp.
“When I was growing up in DDO, I came through the Sunnybrook system. I played all six years through Sunnybrooke then I went to North Shore and Vanier. I was fortunate enough to get a scholarship to go to university and now I play for Calgary. It’s a great time for me to come out here and watch the young guys play. I get a chance to hang out with them and have some fun. It’s fun to let them see that if they have dreams and aspirations to get to the next level that hey, I was on the same field they are on. I want to let them know that there is an opportunity there,” he said.
Despite all the fun, the music and the hot-dogs, the event was also the culmination of eight weeks of indoor practice coming to an end with the arrival of sunny weather. For coaches, it was an opportunity to size up their roster and get a feel of what the season ahead would look like. The Chronicle met up with a few coaches from all levels and they were enthusiastic about this opportunity to see their teams at play despite the fact that not all of their players had made it.
“We played two exhibition games against the teams from the other parks to improve everyone’s skills before the pre-season. It’s hard to evaluate much but there are a few players that stand out. There are always three or four that do every year. It’s also hard to say how the season will go because we only have about 15 players per team out here for this pre-camp. From what I saw there’s going to be a lot of parity in the inter-park league this season,” said Alexander Park Mosquito head coach Derek Soles.