At last, the wait is over – the Niagara Storm Youth Football Organization has “officially” become one of the new proud members of the Ontario Football Conference (OFC). This is long-awaited and exciting news for the Storm, who in prior years competed in the Ontario Minor Football League (OMFL).
It should be noted however, that the Niagara Storm have not cut ties entirely with the OMFL. The new Atom team (ages 9-10) will still be competing in that league under legendary Niagara youth football coach, Kent Risko. All of the other divisions, which will include Pee-Wee (ages 11-12), Bantam (ages 13-14), Junior Varsity (ages 15-16), and Varsity (ages 17-19) will now be played in the OFC.
“The OFC is a top tier league,” said Frank Trivieri, President of the Niagara Storm. “They looked us over from top to bottom and they were very happy with our reputation, as well as our conduct, particularly over this past season which saw the JV team competing in their first ever league Championship. They feel that the Niagara Storm is a solid organization. Personally, I feel that we exemplify perfectly what they’re all about as a league.”
From a football perspective, the OFC is most definitely considered a tier one program, similar to that of the Ontario Varsity Football League (OVFL). The biggest difference at this point however, is that the OFC plays a much more Canadian style of 3-down football (JV & up), similar to how the game is currently played at the high school, University and professional CFL levels.
“Playing in a system such as the OFC will definitely help any of our players who are interested in playing CIS football down the road. The league draws a large amount of scouts who regularly visit the games in order to see how well the players can actually perform in a 3-down system. Ultimately, we now feel that our players will be better prepared for University football,” said Trivieri.
With several key members and coaches of the Storm organization having all either played at the University and/or professional levels, players will now have every opportunity to learn firsthand what it takes to be a successful student-athlete.
“I’d really like to thank all of our volunteers,” added Trivieri. “They’ve all put in a tonne of work to get us to this point, and because of them, we’ve never been stronger.”
Registrations will continue this Saturday January 26 at Holy Cross in St. Catharines (10am-1pm), the Boston Pizza, located on 727 Queenston Rd. in Hamilton (2-5pm), and at the Peach King’s Centre in Grimsby (6-9pm). Otherwise, players can still register anytime on-line or by visiting the UPS store on Main St. in Grimsby. For further information on the Storm coaching staff, please visit their website at www.niagarastorm.com
Indoor training officially kicks off on Sunday February 10 at the Lakemount Sportsworld in Grimsby.