New varsity football launching in 2019
Andrea Szvjka, vice president, John Fisher, president, and Dave Sauer, past president of NRMFA, review safety features on new Riddell Speed Icon NFL-approved helmets recently included in a $40,000 purchase from the Riddell corporation. Photo by Ed Telenko.
Teenage football players will have a new option to play football in the summer.
Administered by the Niagara Generals division of the Niagara Regional Minor Football Association, the Niagara Regional Varsity Football League will be for varsity players with birth years of 2002 (17 year olds), 2003 (16 year olds) and 2004 (15 year olds).
The Generals division has been operating atom, peewee and bantam football leagues in Niagara since 1999.
“It’s an opportunity for many young people who don’t or can’t participate in existing leagues,” said Dave Sauer, a coach and the past president of Niagara Regional Minor Football Association.
The Generals are excited about their new venture.
“Graduates from the existing bantam football programs will have new opportunities provided by the new varsity league,” NRMFA president John Fisher said. “As this is a rep style league, positions will be earned.
“However as a league, we will attempt to play as many players as possible during each game.”
The new league is planning to have its opening games played on May 23. Practices will be scheduled to begin several weeks prior to that. The semifinals will be played Aug. 1 and the final will be played on Aug. 8.
Games will be played as doubleheaders on Thursday nights at various turf fields in the region. Participating teams will include the St. Catharines Seahawks, Niagara Falls Argos, Welland Tiger-Cats, Fort Erie Longhorns and West Niagara Falcons.
The format used by the league will be 12 on 12, three-down football utilizing the Canadian Amateur Tackle Football Rule Book, known as the White Book.
“Playing Canadian football in a well-regulated league on Thursday evenings on turf fields under the lights will allow players to enjoy the games and still be free on weekends,” NRMFA vice-president Andrea Szvjka said. “The registration fee of $450 is quite reasonable, considering all high-quality safety equipment is provided.”
Registration is now available online at www.footballniagara.com and in person on most Tuesdays at 7 p.m. at the association’s Niagara Falls office located at 4478 Montrose Rd.