Muskies face OFSAA funding crunch

A lack of money and men in stripes are issues of concern for the athletic department at Fort High.
An OFSAA fundraising meeting was held at the school Monday night to talk about available options which will ensure any Muskie teams that qualify for provincial championships won’t be hamstrung by financial obstacles.
FFHS athletic director Darren Johnson said yesterday that preliminary discussions were held about establishing a booster organization—similar to the Touchdown Club (football) and Blueline Club (hockey)—that would cover all other Fort High sports.
“We don’t want to catch ourselves in a situation where we have to send a bunch of teams to OFSAA tournaments and then don’t have the means to send them,” Johnson said.
“We need something in place to raise funds throughout the year, rather than be in a week-long panic to get funds,” he stressed.
Volleyball, basketball, badminton, curling, soccer, and cheerleading, along with the school’s cross-country running, golf, and swim teams, all would fall under the umbrella of the new booster club.
Meanwhile, a more immediate problem for Fort High is the shortage of certified officials in the area who are qualified to work Muskie home football games.
With three ‘A’ team games and a ‘B’ squad one scheduled here within the next two weeks, including the one this afternoon versus River East Collegiate, Johnson, who is in charge of supplying the officials for home games and himself a qualified official, said it’s an ongoing scramble to make sure enough will be on hand to work the upcoming contests.
“Very few of us still have our certification,” said Johnson. “Hopefully, the Winnipeg High School Football League will hold clinics for officials at times that we can actually show up for them.
“The other problem is that there’s a lack of confidence in younger guys to come out,” he added. “The rulebook is 168 pages long, and it’s not easy to know it all.”
Anyone interested in becoming a football official can contact Johnson at the high school (274-7747 ext. 259).
In related news, the Muskie ‘B’ team had its home game against the International Falls Broncos cancelled yesterday because of the current teachers’ strike across the river.
The ‘B’ squad next will head to Warroad to face the Warriors on Monday.