Hamilton area high schools could be losing football programs

From today's Hamilton Spectator...

[url=http://www.thespec.com/sports-story/7374938-two-more-hamilton-schools-facing-football-less-future/]http://www.thespec.com/sports-story/737 ... ss-future/[/url]

Three schools may not have coaches for this coming season....could there be more???

Not surprising these days with lower enrollments, the expense of football, insurance and the rise in popularity of other sports.
In Toronto they are down to 12 high schools playing football. But there are 50 high schools with a senior and junior soccer team and the same again for the girls.
It trickles down to the CIS level, far fewer football players in high school means fewer going to the CIS and fewer quality players to the CFL.

It has already happened at many of the High Schools out here in the smaller, rural settings, mostly due to the high cost of team insurance and equipment, combined with declining enrolments. Soccer is catching on somewhat, often because students have already learned the basics through community based minor programs prior to reaching High School. And again, insurance and equipment costs are much, much lower than football.

Some of the larger cities sponsor minor football, and a few families will make the commitment to enrol their kids and do the commute, but I see the loss of High School teams being a major impediment to CIS recruitment, and eventually the CFL. Especially if compounded by the loss of experienced coaches in those schools able to retain their programs.

With increasing information about and concern for parents over concussions and CTE, perhaps some previous interest and/or participation is now being channeled to other sports and activities.

You've all hit it right on the head, this is not good news.

Football is in a weird state of limbo where if we don't act fast, the game is going evaporate right before our eyes, there are too many cheaper, safer options available to cautious parents who rightly don't want to see there 10-14yo kid heading home with a concussion.

The answers aren't great, but need to seriously consider a contact ban for kids under 13 or 14, go flag all the way up until that point and teach the fundamentals and let kids have fun without worrying about getting knocked in the head. Also six-man football is a great tool for rural areas of Ontario who want to keep some form of the sport around in their communities.

I am praying these schools come up with a method to keep the program alive...especially Westdale, that'd be a HUGE blow to the public scene in Hamilton. The thought of losing all three could cripple the league, they may need to scrap division 1 and 2 in the future if the trend continues.

But there is hope, if I've learned anything the people in the football community are a tireless, passionate bunch, and I think everyone involved will fight tooth and nail to make the sport more safe and attractive once again.

With increasing information about and concern for parents over concussions and CTE, perhaps some previous interest and/or participation is now being channeled to other sports and activities.
You've all hit it right on the head, this is not good news.


I like the word but doesn't offer much of a rebuttal, I'm assuming you think these aren't a major issue facing the sport?

Concussion? hit it right on the head? get it??

Minor football is pre-high school, it's not an alternative to high school football. Kids can start in the minor football and then they go on to high school.

Minor football is suffering too - this notice on the minor football site - "As a result of lower Bantam registration numbers than anticipated the Varsity Tigercats will not be operating a AA Bantam Team"

If you have a kid that wants to play football and his high school doesn't have a program then the only alternative is attending a high school that has a program.
With more Canadian kids getting NCAA soccer scholarships, that's a better choice for a lot of kids.

Except that there is now some concern being expressed that participating in soccer can also lead to CTE / concussion symptoms.....

From CNN.....

"Four former soccer players who had advanced forms of dementia were also found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy, according to a study (PDF) published Tuesday."

link to the story....

[url=http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/14/health/brain-damage-dementia-cte-soccer-football-study/index.html]http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/14/health/br ... index.html[/url]

I think it is more of a perception problem than a real problem. Soccer is deemed safer since it is "a non contact" sport.

Has HS hockey also suffered the same fate? (asking since I don't know)

Being a tail end baby boomer I didn't have to go to school in shifts like some others that preceded me until the build up of the school system to support the BBers. It could also be the changing environment where WASP's are becoming a minority and other ethnic groups have increased. Delta from 1968-1972 was almost entirely WASP, I'd have to scour the yearbooks to find a visible minority.

During my HS years we didn't have a soccer team, to the best of my recollection.

Times change, people change, priorities change. You either adapt or become overcome

It has little to do with soccer being safer or that there are more minorities now.
The main reason is that, Soccer is a fun game for kids, they all get to run around the field, kick a ball, they all get the opportunity to score and run with the ball.
For kids especially at the pre-high school level, there is very little opportunity to play football, it’s not fun for them, too much standing around and most kids never get the opportunity to even hold the ball or run around.

Boys and girls are playing soccer and loving it, it’s not just in every school but thousands are playing in the minor soccer leagues.
We went to our first TFC game at BMO last year, the crowd seemed to be ALL young people, lots of millenials singing chanting having fun. There were a few older baby boomers but they seemed to be the Irish, Brits, Croatian, Italians.
The crowd was not mainly ethnic minorities, it was just like the GTA population, a cross section of the population.
We went to 3 Argos game at BMO last year and you notice the huge difference between the crowds, the Argo crowd is older and their fan base is declining every year because the baby boomers are retiring. With the limited number of high schools left in Toronto with football teams I only see the Argo fan base declining more.

Excellent post slimjim.

I played soccer long ago when I was young in elementary school. It is an easy and inexpensive sport to participate in and size does not matter. It is still a "game" where individual on-field decisions and skill matters most. It is a player's game.

However, I find soccer boring as hell to watch....most of the time. There is nothing to compare with watching Brandon Banks returning a third down punt for a TD. Or a 40 yard pass into the endzone for a TD where the receiver catches the ball with one hand. Football has more scoring and more exciting moments for the fans.
I am not putting down the skills of the best soccer players but often-times some incredibly fancy ball-work results in nothing and then it's back to endless up and down the field passing and turning the ball over. The anticipation factor for the fans may be great but so is the disappointment factor. 90 minutes of soccer with a final score of 1-0 is common.

If the high schools in Hamilton drop their football programs, I sure hope there are viable alternatives available, such as the Northern Football Conference.

I lived in Northeastern Ontario for 30 + years and for the 1976 season ( :smiley: ) was the Timekeeper for the (then) North Bay Tiger-Cats. The Northern Ontario Football Conference is still alive and well and has since expanded into southern Ontario and Ottawa...including Oshawa, Milton and the Kitchener areas.
Check out: http://nfcfootball.ca/about.

A team in Hamilton would provide all kinds of opportunities for high school and older players to keep the game alive and also develop to the CFL level.

What worries me is that if the Canadian player supply dries up because of the lack of high school football programs, the international player ratio will have to increase. We will be then on the road to the CFL being nothing more than a farm league for even more US players who see it as a stepping stone to the NFL.

If it comes to that, I would much prefer that the CFL go back to being a semi-pro league.....with Lord Grey's mug still being the big prize. Canadian football is too good a game to lose.

In your opinion, what action should the "brain trust" of the CFL be taking in light of being faced with a continually dwindling supply of capable Canadians to fill the roster positions that each team is forced to fill going forward?

We have somewhere between 20 and 25 HS football teams here in Halifax. Our parents are highly invested. Some programs got off the ground with parent money and fundraising.

LMAO I don't know where you guys are going with this but it has to be corrected. The country does not revolve around Toronto and the Shoe. There are over 100 HS teams in Quebec. 26 CEGEP teams over THREE divisions. Atlantic Canada is booming with close around 25 HS teams and even a spring league with six teams (4 games).

Canadian Football is BOOMING. Sadly Southern Ontario has moved to footie and grass hockey... :slight_smile:

I agree with you about there being s boom in Eastern Canada. I don't know where the west stands (should we ask on the main board?).

But what's "the Shoe" (said the old guy)?

The "shoe" would obviously refer to the golden horseshoe.

Sorry, "Golden Horseshoe"

Oh my, I apologize for my thick-headedness. Sorry to offend.