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Tackle football expected to get boost with visit from Ottawa Redblacks

Jeff Hunt, left, presents the Ottawa Redblacks’ symbol of excellence, a “wood cookie” cut by chainsaw from the team’s touchdown log, to player Brad Sinopoli, who scored one of the Grey Cup touchdowns in this file photo.
Jeff Hunt, left, presents the Ottawa Redblacks’ symbol of excellence, a “wood cookie” cut by chainsaw from the team’s touchdown log, to player Brad Sinopoli, who scored one of the Grey Cup touchdowns in this file photo.

Tackle football is about to become reality in western Newfoundland, so that probably explains why Chris Foley has some jump in his step these days.

Foley, a Corner Brook native, has been working hard with representatives of Football Newfoundland and Labrador to introduce full-contact football to local youth under the umbrella of the new Western Newfoundland Football Association.

The die-hard Green Bay Packers fan will soon be announcing registration dates for youth ages four-18 who are interested in giving tackle football a whirl.

Foley expects things to get busy over the next few weeks with Ottawa Redblacks owner Jeff Hunt — a native Newfoundlander — bringing the Grey Cup to Corner Brook next week in an effort to promote the game to youth in the area.

Hunt has agreed to be the honourary chairman for the local football group and will help promote the game by bringing two of his star players — receivers Greg Ellingson and Brad Sinopoli — to Corner Brook on Tuesday as part of his Grey Cup Tour in Newfoundland and Labrador, which includes stops in Labrador City and St. John’s.

Here is what you need to know about the Grey Cup visit and plans for the inaugural season:

• Ellingson and Sinopoli, joined by team mascot Big Joe, will give motivational speeches to grades 3-6 students at C.C. Loughlin School at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

• An on-field session with Ottawa Redblacks personnel is planned for 2:30-4:30 p.m. at the Wellington Street Sports Complex whereby potential players can participate in a number fun activities.

• Quarterback Club, with Brian Williams as host, will take place 6-8 p.m. at Whelan’s Gate and will serve as a fundraising venture for the association.

• Foley completed a Football Canada safe contact football coaching clinic in St. John’s and is excited about training other volunteers to coach in the system.

• A question-and-answer session for potential coaches is scheduled for the May 6-8 weekend with Dalhousie Tigers varsity football team coach Mark Haggett sharing his experiences.

• Anybody interested in playing or becoming involved as a coach can contact Foley at cornerbrookminorfootball@gmail.com.

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