Things looked a little different on and off the field, but the Cowichan Bulldogs still managed to pull off a spring football season in 2021, and they are now looking forward to the fall.
There was no competition against teams from outside the association, and players had to adapt to COVID-19 protocols, which included a lack of tackling.
Youngsters ages 7-13 first took the field at the Spring Break Extravaganza on March 15 for skills and conditioning. The season officially started on April 19 and ran until June 25, with teams representing the atom (7-9), peewee (10-12) and junior bantam (13-14) age groups. Doug (Opie) Williams coached the atoms, Trystan Ryder coached the peewees, and Shane Laver coached the junior bantams.
‘We saw almost 40 youths on the field three days per week,” Cowichan Valley Football Association board member Jennifer Laver reported. “The season started off with skills and conditioning and as the health authority permitted, we moved into an in-house flag season.
“The kids have really enjoyed themselves, learning new techniques and benefiting from the team environment. The coaching staff have gone above and beyond to ensure the kids are not only learning football, but doing so in a safe, fun and COVID-friendly manner.”
The association hopes that restrictions loosen even more to allow tackle football in the fall season. Registration is now open for the fall, with four age groups: peewee (born 2010-12), junior bantam (2008-09), bantam (2006-07) and midget (2003-05).
“We are optimistic that the restrictions surrounding contact sports will decrease to allow competitive league tackle football again,” Laver said. “It’s an exciting time for the club as we transition from our flag to tackle platforms. We are ready to welcome the kids back to the field for competitive play.”
Practices will start later this summer and run into November. The club is encouraging both returning and new players to sign up with lowered “return to play” registration fees. For more information, visit cowichanfootball.com, Cowichan Valley Football Association on Facebook, or cowichanfootball on Instagram.