Muskies won’t run ‘C’ football team this year

The Muskie football ‘C’ team won’t run this year due to a lack of adequate facilities and coaching being focused on the ‘A’ team’s first season in the Winnipeg High School Football League.
Last year’s coach, Steve Maki, refused to coach this year, and said the program’s demise came about because no one stepped forward to take over the job.
“I couldn’t get any facilities. My players had to change in the bleachers. I wasn’t prepared to do that again,” Maki said.
“Eventually, there may be some locker room space. To have kids change in elements is not fair to them. It just wasn’t going to work,” he added.
Maki said the decision to have Fort High teachers coach sports teams again had no bearing on this program, which is governed by the local Touchdown Club.
Meanwhile, Bob Swing, head coach of the ‘A’ team and a Touchdown Club director, said this one-year hiatus was necessary for the ‘C’ program to improve.
“The whole program had to be re-evaluated,” he said. “It was taking too much of Steve’s time.”
The team made up of area grade seven and eight students has been used primarily as a feeding system to the ‘B’ and eventually the ‘A’ squads. The town had offered the St. Francis Sportsfield and the west end rink as places for the team to play last fall.
“[The touchdown club] hasn’t approached us this year,” said recreation director Megan Ross.
Dave Montgomery, a former longtime head coach of the ‘A’ team, said the ‘C’ squad was the closest thing to PeeWee development on this side of the border.
“I’ve had parents ask me about it. I know there’s interest out there,” he said. “The biggest problem is having some younger coaches to commit and be able to do it. Everything depends on getting the coaches to come out and coach.”
“That’s been our difficulty. We’ve been working around and we have to find some coaching that want to take it on,” echoed Rob Tysz, who coached the ‘C’ team in 1999.
“We have all the equipment and the interest, we just need the organizers,” he stressed.
Last year, the team went 0-7 in exhibition play against teams from Manitoba and Minnesota. Tysz said the season can be a time-consuming six weeks for one or two coaches.
“For that time, it’s pretty well everyday. It’s a tough job because all the while the objective is to make it fun. It takes a special talent to do that.”
Maki said he hopes the ‘C’ team can get the necessary support and run again next year–for the long term.
“The ‘A’ squad is going to suffer. Two extra years playing ball is a big help in the development of talent and skills,” he argued. “By the time they get to grade 12, they would have had six years of experience as opposed to four.”
For now, Swing said the damage done to football development locally is insignificant.
“I don’t think it will affect us at all. It’s a transition,” he reasoned. “We’re so young, we’re not going to lose a boatful of players. We’ll still have lots of guys next year.”
If anything, Swing said the ‘C’ team will benefit from the ‘A’ squad’s debut in the WHSFL.
“We’re looking for more involvement. We’ve never gone out to the public and said, ‘We need help.’ Seeing we’re in this league, we’re hoping more exposure will come,” he said.
“If we do well, we could help spark the interest for more support down the road.”