“Are you ready for some football!! A real Monday night party!!” Too soon? Probably. But this spring blooms more than just flowers; it’s the start of AAA Midget Football. A short season, which usually goes unnoticed in Central Alberta, until now.
Now there’s the Prairie Fire, the newest team in the Calgary Midget Football League and the first and only midget team to represent Central Alberta.
“Prior to this there was no opportunity for players in Central Alberta to play elite level midget football,” said General Manager Dave Laplante. “Any of them that wanted to had to travel to Edmonton or Calgary.”
Laplante said this is the best football to play. “It would be very similar to playing Midget AAA in hockey or Renegades soccer, with no opportunity in the Red Deer area. So for home grown kids in Central Alberta it’s an opportunity to play at home, and play in the most competitive league in the province.”
And the league is very competitive. The Prairie Fire learned that first hand in their first game losing 34-7.
But that doesn’t change the fact that they made history. In fact, there was no doubt Central Alberta was pining for their own midget football team, about 130 players tried out for the squad. Only 47 made the team with six red shirts (Grade 9).
Laplante said the turnout speaks volumes. “The demand for this type of venture is long over due and it’s very exciting. Just the positive energy in the building between the parents and the players was incredible.”
And just how incredibly desperate was Central Alberta for a team?
“We had players from all the way from Drumheller to Rocky Mountain House and Drayton Valley down to Olds and everywhere in between.”
The Prairie Fire will play the short six game regular season over the next two months. Their home games this year are at Great Chief Park on April 28th and May 5th. Both games get underway at 11 a.m.
Kids from 10 schools and coaches from seven schools make up this team that is truly the best of Central Alberta, so it’s safe to say it’s a work in progress. But undefeated in their two exhibition games and then taking that first loss in the regular season, doesn’t have Laplante all that phased.
“Sometimes a little adversity right off the bat allows a team to focus on what’s important and move forward as a group.”
Whatever happens with this team, it’s all in the history books.