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Joe MacDonald League set to start on Labour day Monday

BY SCOTT HUNTER HADDOW [email protected] After 11 years, the Joe MacDonald Football League continues to grow and foster the development of young football players in the community.

After 11 years, the Joe MacDonald Football League continues to grow and foster the development of young football players in the community.

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The 2004 season is no different.

Once again, the fields of Lily Creek on weekends this fall will be filled with young football players looking to have fun and learn the game in a controlled environment.

League president Mike Staffen, one of the original founder members, is pleased with the positive direction the league continues to follow.

"The Joe MacDonald League has really helped high school football, and football in Sudbury flourish," said Staffen. "Our original goal was to increase the number of kids playing tackle football and that's evident. When we started the league, high school football was down to about three teams, and now they're up to eight or nine teams. You talk to anyone in the football community and they will say the Joe MacDonald League has helped."

The Sudbury football community is appreciates the league's commitment and efforts.

Sudbury Northerners president Mike Davey sees the league as the perfect way to introduce players to the game.

"It provides younger players the opportunity to experience football at it's basics," said Davey. "It provides a good ground for them to learn the sport and decide if it's the sport for them, as well as preparing them for the game at the high school level. It's a good place to learn about team sports and team play, and if that's instilled and developed, then the players have gained more than can be measured."

Lockerby football coach Geoff Richer sees proven results from players who have suited up in the league.

"The more Joe MacDonald graduates I get at the high school level makes my job easier," said Richer. "I don't have to take the time to teach them the basics. It also gives them valuable game experience. I find when I have a Joe MacDonald alumni, he knows the game and catches on quickly."

This season, the league will run three divisions, the new Mini Macs, tyke and bantam.
The Mini Macs is an introduction system, for girls and boys aged eight to 10, where they learn tackle football and are eased into the game. It runs on Saturdays, and has 32 kids learning skills development and the basics.

The tyke and bantam divisions will run with four teams in each.

"The tykes are very good," said Staffen. "Tykes seems to grow every year and our numbers this year are the best yet. The bantams are also strong and have great numbers. In both divisions, we have evenly matched teams. All together there's about 185 kids playing football in the league."

The league starts on Monday, Sept. 6 at Lily Creek. Games take place every weekend. The playoffs begin in November.

"We put Joe MacDonald's name on it because we know we would have to uphold it," said Staffen. "Joe had great values and we want that to continue to be promoted. His wife, Nancy, said this was the best tribute we could give him - to see kids playing football and having fun."


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