Niagara Spears News
16 February 2013
After years of unofficial partnership, three Niagara football organizations have finally come together to form one team.
The Niagara Regional Minor Football Association, Niagara Spears and Niagara Generals will now be known as Football Niagara. Together, they hope to provide a consistent program that will improve player development from age six to 19.
“The Niagara region has tremendous talent. It’s just not as big as other centres,” Spears president Mark Fortier said during the announcement Wednesday afternoon in the Falls. “In order to stay competitive, we need to be smarter with how we do things.”
Members from all three organizations felt the step was necessary — and overdue — given the opportunities each provides.
The NRMFA, which started 14 years ago, has been the region’s house league program, while the Generals and Spears have offered rep football.
“It makes sense to have some continuity,” Generals president Dave Sauer said. “Our kids can start at bantam and end at varsity with the Spears.”
It will be up to the NRMFA to develop the youngest players before they move up.
“We can take a kid from six-years-old (in flag football) to 19, playing with continuity of the program and coaching,” minor football president John Fisher said. “It’s a huge amount (of time). We’ll be the feeder system, basically, for the Generals and Spears. It makes perfect sense to work together.”
Last weekend was a turning point as the Ontario Minor Football League (double-A) and Ontario Varsity Football League (triple-A) voted to merge into one league, creating the largest summer football league in the province.
The Generals’ atom (9-10) and peewee (11-12) teams will play in the OMFL, while both the Generals and Spears bantam teams will play in the OMFL and OVFL.
The Spears will play in both divisions in junior varsity (15-16) and varsity (17-19).
It’s a streamlined program offered in cities like Mississauga and Cambridge.
“We’ve noticed a competitive difference on the field,” Spears bantam head coach Simon Gichard said. “We’re chasing them sometimes with organization and player development.”
With the amalgamation, players who register for one league won’t have to pay for another if they move up a level or are sent down. It’s another reason why the move made sense.
“The nice thing,” Gichard said, “is you’ll see more kids on the field
11 February 2013
This is an exciting development for football in the Niagara Region and will only enhance its development and success. This partnership will now unify the Niagara Region under one umbrella, making the Spears/NRMFA/Generals’ partnership an elite group for personal and player development at all levels.
The Niagara Spears currently compete in the Ontario Varsity Football League. A league that many would argue is the toughest, strongest and most talented league in Ontario. The depth in the league is substantial, with 20 franchises, most of whom will compete night in and night out. The Niagara Spears started playing in the Ontario Varsity Football League in 2004. The Niagara Spears were able to field a competitive team from the beginning due to the benefits and development of the players from the Niagara Regional Minor Football Association and their respective high school coaches. With all parties working towards a common goal of developing the best players and individuals through team work, commitment, hard work and stressing the importance of education, the Niagara Spears quickly found success in the Niagara Region.
The Niagara Spears are entering into their ninth year and since then have observed that many of their players have been chosen to represent Team Ontario, Team Canada, have become part of Canadian Junior Football teams across the nation and University teams in Canada and the United States. Currently some of the graduating Spears are playing professional football in Canada and Europe. Through hard work and dedication, some of these players have received awards, some have won provincial championships in the Canadian Junior Football League and some have won with their University and have even gone to win the Vanier Cup.
Since 2004 the Niagara Spears have won:
2010 Bantam OVFL champions
2010 JV conference championship; have made the playoffs 7 years out of 8
2005 Varsity OVFL champions
2006 Varsity lost in championship; have made the playoffs 6 years out of 8
The Niagara Spears will field a total of 5 teams this year and will compete at both the OMFL and OVFL levels for Bantam, Junior Varsity and Varsity. The Generals will compete in the OMFL at the Atom, Peewee and Bantam level.The OVFL and OMFL seasons begin in May and end in August.
The next Niagara Spears registration date is Thursday February 21st at the Welland Arena from 7-9:30pm. More dates to follow.