Regina’s Youth NFL Flag Football league forced to cancel winter season

The Regina Sports Performance Centre was home to Regina’s Youth NFL Flag Football league’s new winter program, before Covid-19 restrictions cut the season short. Photo by Andrew Benson

Covid-19 continues to create problems in the sports world. The Regina Youth NFL Flag Football League had big plans for its newly launched winter league, however, the season had to be cancelled after one weekend due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Mike Thomas, the league’s convenor said registration for the winter league was very promising. “We essentially sold out, within an hour,” said Thomas. “This kind of goes to show that there is an appetite for this type of program.”

The league was able to get on the new turf at the Regina Sports Performance Centre, until increased Covid-19 restrictions were implemented in early December. While their time on the field was brief, it was not wasted.

“We were able to get in one practice before we had to close things down, so that’s unfortunate,” said Thomas. “The players on that one weekend we had, were super pumped. They were ecstatic to be able to play. Whether they won or loss, they were just happy to be back playing a sport they love again.”

Aidan Steadman, the GM of Regina Sports Performance Centre, said it had been a lot of fun working with the league, and wishes they could have kept playing.

“It was really upsetting to see them have to close down,” said Steadman. “It was really nice getting kids out there and using the facility and being with their friends. Just having a place to let kids be kids.”

While the youth flag football league is the first community user group to partner with the multi-sport performance centre, Steadman said it will not be the last.

“There is definitely a plan to have more youth organizations use the facility going forward. We are open to work with all sorts of youth groups and provide a place to play sports and work on their skills,” said Steadman.

Before signing up, parents were hopeful the league would be able to run. Mark Taylor, whose 10-year-old son Max Taylor was signed up for the league, said even if it didn’t run, they had to sign up.

“Max started playing about two years ago and fell in love with it,” said Taylor. “I knew there was a chance the winter league might fall through, but the league is so popular, that if we didn’t sign up, we would miss our opportunity.”

With the winter league officially cancelled for the season, families are looking ahead to spring and summer seasons. The league opened registration for the spring season earlier this month and will re-open it again soon to allow more families a spot on the waitlist.

“I got up early on the sign-up day for the spring league and got him signed up,” said Taylor. “We hope it goes through.”

On top of football on the field, Thomas has had many other projects on the go. Thomas recently launched a new basketball league to allow more opportunities for kids to get their shots up. As well, Thomas has been dealing with refunds for the winter football league. Thomas said that the league was in the middle of switching registration systems when refunds needed to be given out.

“We had to do each transaction individually, so it was definitely a little bit of work trying to get everyone their money back,” said Thomas. “That being said, everyone has been refunded now. Moving forward with our new system, it will be easier if this sort of thing were to happen again.”

The league hopes to complete a full season next winter.

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