INNISFAIL – It was a spring training many thought would not happen.
But thanks to community support earlier this year, the Innisfail Minor Football Association (IMFA) recently wrapped up its 2018 spring training.
“It went extremely well,” said Alexis Verhegge, club manager for the IMFA. “Our numbers were better this year than they have been in the past. We had great turnouts every week.”
Spring training took place two nights a week for three weeks, from June 11 to 27.
A total of 25 to 30 kids registered for spring training, noted Verhegge, adding that it gives kids a chance to fine-tune their skills.
“It’s a warm-up for the kids so they know what’s coming in the fall when the season starts,” she said, adding the season begins mid-August. “It gives them an idea of (areas) to work on over the summer so they can be prepared for the upcoming season.”
The IMFA wrapped up the spring session with a fun community football game between emergency services personnel, town council and the kids at Innisfail High School on June 27.
“It was to bring in the community, welcome them and bring awareness that football is here,” said Verhegge, noting the game’s success.
“It was amazing. The kids were very excited about it. There was team building and community awareness,” she added. “It was great for everybody and the kids had a blast.”
Members with the Innisfail Fire Department, Innisfail EMS, and members from town council participated in the game. Innisfail RCMP were invited, but due to an emergency call, could not attend the event.
The game lasted about 45 minutes and was followed by a fundraising barbecue, noted Verhegge. All proceeds raised went directly to the team.
One participant was Innisfail town councillor Donnie Hill.
“It was definitely exciting for me to hear that they were going to be able to persevere and come together to play this year,” said Hill, noting his love for the game as a former Innisfail High School football player himself.
“It was fun. Everyone had a great time and the kids had fun,” he added. “I can definitely see it as something I’d be interested in doing again.”
He said he would like to see this community football game return and possibly become an annual event.
“Having it as an annual event would be great,” he said. “It would be great to build the strength in our community and recognize these smaller groups so that they (aren’t) forgotten or put in jeopardy ever again,” Hill concluded.