Rahul Joshi of the Rick Hansen Hurricanes football team keeps his eye on the ball during practice on Thursday.

Rahul Joshi of the Rick Hansen Hurricanes football team keeps his eye on the ball during practice on Thursday.

Abbotsford high school football coaches aim to salvage season despite strike

With the school strike ongoing, B.C. high school football teams find themselves caught in the middle.

With the labour dispute between the provincial government and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation dragging on and the scheduled start of the school year fast approaching, high school football teams find themselves caught in the middle.

But despite the possibility that the strike could delay the start of classes, all four senior-level football teams in Abbotsford are forging ahead with practices.

And the W.J. Mouat Hawks and Robert Bateman Timberwolves still plan to play each other next Friday, Sept. 5, in their scheduled non-conference opener (7:30 p.m., Mouat Field) whether or not the strike is ongoing.

“B.C. School Sports has agreed to sanction the championships and for football to go ahead with their season, even if there’s no school,” Mouat head coach Denis Kelly told The News.

“It’s not the greatest situation . . . We’re trying to figure things out as we go, as far as the season goes.”

Kelly was on the picket line with his fellow teachers on Wednesday, and has moved his team’s practices to Clearbrook Park to “stay out of the way.”

“(Other teachers) are kind of incredulous now as to why we do it,” he said. “My comment is, the kids need it. They need an example other than the dysfunction that they see all around them. They see it in the government and the teachers, they see it at home a lot of times. They don’t see any structure, and without sports . . . we’re kind of the last bastion of hope, in my estimation.

“I don’t feel conflicted. I’m just very convinced of the need for the program under the circumstances, really, more than ever.”

Bateman head coach Dan Village said his team is “practicing as if we’re playing.

“I’ve talked to Coach Kelly, and we’re both prepared to play next Friday,” he said. “The kids are looking forward to that, and we’ll just take it day-by-day after that and just see what happens.

“We have enough community (coaching) support where they can take over if the union comes back and says we can’t do any of this stuff at all. As far as I know, this is voluntary time.”

Village, who is heading into his third year of teaching at Bateman, termed it a “tough” situation for teacher/coaches.

“I 100 per cent support my profession, I 100 per cent support the union,” he said. “But if it wasn’t for my coaches in high school, I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am today. That’s the only reason why I’m doing it – for the kids. A lot of colleges are looking at our senior players, and without those games, it’s tough.”

Rob Hallam, head coach of the Rick Hansen Hurricanes, echoed Village’s sentiments.

“If we don’t do this, then there probably wouldn’t be a season, and that would be wrong for the kids,” he said. “The other thing is, by not having a season, how would you rekindle this a year from now? I’m not sure how that goes. This is really the only choice that we can make. We’ll do the best we can in a difficult situation.”

The Abbotsford Senior Panthers’ teacher/coaches were on the field with their players until local teachers returned to the picket lines on Wednesday. They’ve since turned the program over to coaches from the community.

“We want to give the kids the opportunity to play football, and also balance that we as coaches . . . do not cross the picket line,” assistant coach Elmore Abraham said. “We went hunting and we made sure we had some community coaches who could come in and fill in the spot and still run the philosophy that we have.”

“We’re just trying to get them to continue to play.”

Just Posted

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat greets fans outside of the Abbotsford Centre prior to the Canucks exhibition game against the Ottawa Senators in 2019. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
More jobs posted for Abbotsford AHL team

Five new opportunities accepting applicants, Comets forward Lukas Jasek signs in Finland

Singer Ben Cottrill performs during the 2019 Arty Awards at The Reach Gallery Museum, the last time the event was held in person. Cottrill received the award in the performing arts category. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
Nominations now open for 2021 Arty Awards

Annual event hosted by Abbotsford Arts Council, with ceremony Sept. 25

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read