The talent-rich Niagara Region is officially busting at the seams with many outstanding young athletes. So many in fact, that the Niagara Spears, who as members of the OVFL, and have always been considered to be the elite youth football program in the entire Niagara area, are now sharing this overabundance of talent with another travel youth football organization founded out of Grimsby—the Niagara Storm, who have only been in operation since the 2009 season as a part of the OMFL.
According to Frank Trivieri, co-founder of the Niagara Storm, “Centres like Brampton or Mississauga, with a very large population—they have enough kids where they can have two teams. So they’ll put the better kids in the OVFL program, and the second group of kids in the OMFL. But then you have some of the smaller city centres like us here in Grimsby that don’t have an OVFL program. So yes, in the bigger city centres, the OMFL is considered second tier, but in a stand-alone community such as Grimsby and several others, that’s just not the case.”
Ever since they’ve been established, the Niagara Storm have been working very hard to develop the quality of their programs and to rid themselves of the inherited stigma that exists amongst their League, which is that they are anything but an elite squad of players from throughout the entire Niagara Region, and not just from within the Grimsby area. If anything, they are providing a badly needed service to the Niagara Region, because let’s face it—with so many outstanding players, the Niagara Spears can only recruit and play so many of them. In years past, many players would have been forced to settle for playing house-league football in the NRMFA, but now thanks to Trivieri and his partner, Todd Fryer, young football players in Niagara have a solid and legitimately equal option for travel competition throughout the province of Ontario.
Given the fact that these two teams compete in two entirely different leagues, the Spears and the Storm would never normally find themselves in a situation where they would ever get to play each other, which of course only feeds the many questions from both players and fans alike, over which team is indeed the best. With special thanks to the kind generosity and competitive nature of the entire Niagara Spears organization, that wish is about to come true on May 5 at the new Kiwanis Field in St. Catharines, as the two teams will finally come together in an attempt to settle the long-standing debate, but primarily to come together in an effort to help raise money in a fight against cancer in the process.
“We are nailing down the teams participating this week,” said Niagara Spears President, Mark Fortier. “But it should be a great day for a great cause. We will be donating the gate revenue to the Canadian Cancer Society Niagara, so we are encouraging as many people as possible to come out and attend. Much like a round-robin tournament, every team will end up playing each other at some point, so the Spears and Storm will definitely meet.”
“I’m really happy that the two clubs can come together for an excellent cause,” added Spears JV Head Coach, Brian Duguay.
“Dr. Kamatovic has been working with the Canadian Cancer Society as part of a cancer awareness campaign. As you know, for players that make the team, we have mouthguards made, and this year we were lucky enough to have the two days coincide,” added Fortier. “When we heard that a portion of the money was going to charity, we wanted to help out as much as possible. After discussing it, we came up with the idea to host a jamboree. It’s not only the best way to evaluate your team, but it would also maximize the number of people attending and increase the amount of money that we could raise. The information will be going out to all of the teams attending about the donations at the gate, and they are welcome to come down early and have mouth guards made as well.”
By the sounds of it, the jamboree is going to be a win-win-win situation for everyone involved.
The players and coaches will finally get a chance to face off in a friendly, yet surprisingly competitive and entertaining match-up—human nature at its finest. The money raised will all go towards an amazing cause, which is especially important considering how many families throughout Niagara and beyond are affected by cancer. And the fans of Niagara football will get the opportunity to watch some of the best youth football that has ever taken place or will ever occur within the Niagara Region. You won’t want to miss it, so be sure to bring the whole family for what is expected to be a great day for many of Niagara’s youngest and best athletes.
Entry will be a toonie donation at the gate, but the Spears will also be taking any other donations that people might want to give on that day. Hope to see you all there, and please support our athletes. After all, they are without a doubt the leaders of tomorrow.
James Ryan @TheSportstender