New season, clubhouse for Tigers Football
Registration for the Carstairs/Crossfield Tigers Football Club takes place this May 15 and 16 at the Carstairs Memorial Arena, and a lot is going on behind the scenes to prepare for the season, says the club’s head coach and general manager, Kevin Onishenko.
Being that it is his first year as head coach and offensive coordinator, Onishenko has high expectations but realistic goals for the 2013 team, with a hope of taking the team to a three-and-three win-loss ratio for the regular season, and qualifying for a spot in the playoffs.
The 2012 team won only one regular-season game last year out of six, and lost the only playoff game it played, he said.
“If we can qualify for the playoffs then anything could happen,” he said.
The nine-man tackle football team is comprised of players who will be in Grades 9 – 12 inclusive for the upcoming school year and all players must be under the age of 18 as of Sept. 1 in order to play for the 2013 calendar year, said Onishenko.
The team is also anticipating the building of a clubhouse facility, Onishenko said, and has already received initial approvals from the Town of Carstairs, with final plans to be submitted shortly for final approval.
“The Carstairs / Crossfield Tigers Football Club has approached three businesses, and we have a ways to go, but have the majority of funding for the first phase in place,” he said.
“We will be canvassing both Carstairs and Crossfield in the coming weeks for support for both the team costs as well as clubhouse costs,” he said.
ARK Directional Services (which Onishenko is a senior partner in) is providing both financial backing and volunteer time, while another major sponsor, D.C.M Homes by Design, will be contracting and overseeing the construction, he said.
Personal Electric is also sponsoring the clubhouse and will be providing the electrical requirements for the project, Onishenko said.
Registered players will get the chance to interact with players and alumni from the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL during the team’s spring camp, which will be held at the Carstairs Football Field on May 17 at 11 a.m.
“Right now I know that Scott Coe (president of the Calgary Stampeders Alumni Association) and Kerry Berryman (played for Saskatchewan Roughriders in ’81,’82, ’83, and Calgary Stampeders in ’84 and ’85) will be in attendance,” said Onishenko.
He added that Coe will be bringing two to four additional members, either players or alumni, though he isn’t certain which ones yet.
“We have a couple other requests out to former pros to come out for the day as well, but our expectations are three alumni and three current Stamps, and about 25 to 35 kids.”
One new addition to this season is allowing all Grade 8 students who are interested in being a part of tackle football to practise with the team.
“We will ensure they are safe on the field by pairing them against players of same size and calibre at all times,” said Onishenko.
“This will help facilitate development of the players at a younger age.”
The June 1 Spring Jamboree in Edmonton will see six teams play a handful of what Onishenko calls “mini games” lasting approximately 30 minutes a piece.
“The coaches will be in the huddles with the players with the focus of getting every player involved and letting them all try new positions,” he said.
“It’s about participation for all in tackle football with the emphasis on teaching and enjoying the game – (but) coaches do monitor so skill and size mismatches don't happen.”
“We have a great group of volunteer assistants coming out this year, and the community will see more CC Tigers banners up as the regular season approaches.”
This includes Jeff Doig, Wade Grimm, David Selensky, and Brad Dowell, as well as trainer coach Vanessa Schilling, and team communications liason Sue Grimm.
Games will be played on Saturdays, with practices happening every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening, as well as weight training on Monday nights.
The team’s first regular season game will be played Sept. 7 in Drayton Valley against the Frank Maddock Warriors.