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Ontario Provincial Football League
March 11, 2020
OPFL President’s Statement: COVID-19
The OPFL is, as are all other organizations, monitoring the current state of the COVID-19 situation and how it may impact 2020 programs.
Many questions are being asked from clubs, parents, players and community members.
As a society we are going through an unprecedented event in our lifetime. The situation is extremely fluid and changes rapidly. At this moment Health Canada and local Health Boards are still operating in a flux state. There has been no official requirement to cease participation in the interest of public and/or personal safety, however that could change at any given moment.
Today we saw statements from almost all Professional, Collegiate and many amateur organizations suspending participation in events, contests, and gatherings for anywhere from 2 weeks to 60 days and more. Publicly funded schools in the Province have been closed for the two weeks following next weeks March Break holiday, and many work places are amending their procedures for staff.
Each member club must assess their own situation at this time. Please remember that the best interests of our youth and our families are at the core here. Please take into full consideration what your local Health Board and Health Canada are recommending and the concerns of your members.
Lets us ALL remember why we are all involved in youth football, regardless of personal beliefs in the current state and scope of the COVID-19 virus.
A couple clubs have already advised me they are considering continuing with meetings and working in gyms but taking precautions, this may well have changed this evening with closures of facilities. Others have clearly stated they have suspended all activities at this point and will reassess as time goes over the next few weeks.
Until such time a definitive directive is issued to suspend operations, we will continue with preparations for our regular season to begin in May. However, I am requesting we meet as a group on a teleconference call Saturday March 28th at 11:00 AM and subsequently weekly thereafter, if needed, to re-assess the situation if it remains fluid, as we expect it to be.
As a league we will work in partnership with our members to assess plans in the event the 2020 season is postponed or cancelled.
I will be in touch with each organization over the next two weeks.
Please be safe.
The Ontario Provincial Football League (OPFL) has welcomes the Scarborough Thunder (Scarborough Minor Football) and the Brantford Bisons (Bisons Football – Brant & District Football Club) as its newest members at the Premier division for the 2020 season as part of the league’s commitment to growing amateur football in Ontario. Both new centers will have teams competing at the Bantam, Junior and Varsity levels.
“We are thrilled to continue the expansion process with the Bisons and Thunder, and will continue to work closely with other organizations that have reached out to ensure they are able to secure a suitable home for their players.” said OPFL President Terry Barkley. On the importance to have representation in the various geographical areas, Barkley says "It’s great when you see an opportunity for local kids to discover the game, to develop their skills and have that stepping stone when they're ready to move on to the next level."
Since 1964, the Bisons name has been prominent in the Brantford and neighbouring communities. The Brantford Bisons , also known as the Brant District & Football Club have had a long proven history of developing championship teams. The organization has evolved different league starting with the Jungle League, moving to the Ontario Rugby Football Union and more recently in the Ontario Football Conference. Moving into 2020, Bisons President Jason Nagy said the organizations was very excited to join the Ontario Provincial Football League. “We have a long history of providing youth football in Brantford, dating back to 1964, and this allows us to continue that tradition. We look forward to competing with some of the strongest youth football clubs in Ontario while continuing to developing our players and grow our program.”
The Thunder will be reuniting with many former competitors in the 2020 season as they join the OPFL. When the Scarborough Thunder’s General Manager, Mike Fascione was asked what moving to the OPFL means for their organization and their players, he said “We believe that by moving to the OPFL we align ourselves to be playing the best competition at all levels”. The Scarborough Minor Football Association was founded 33 years ago when some of the remaining teams from the Scarborough Boys Football League came together to ensure the youth of Scarborough would be able to continue to learn the game of Football.
The OPFL Founders and Executive Council continues to be impressed with the organizations and excited about the direction of the OPFL.. “We all look forward to partnering with like-minded football groups committed to developing the sport.” says OPFL Vice-President Peter Wilkie.