The Airdrie Storm will start its sixth season with the Calgary and Area Minor Football league with a goal of making it back to the provincial finals.
The Atom, Peewee and Bantam teams have all been practicing for the past two weeks and the two younger levels will participate in a fun-filled jamboree at Shouldice Park in Calgary on Aug. 14.
But Storm general manager Jane Rohl says the teams may also have a few challenges going into the season.
“Our numbers are a little low this year, but we’re in a rebuilding season,” she said. “We like to have about 25 at the Atom level and about 30-40 at the Peewee level. But we’re looking good. We’ve got some good kids out there with some good talent.”
The Atoms are eight to 10 in age, while the Peewees are 11 and 12, and the Bantams 13 and 14. The Storm Peewees won the city and provincial Tier Three titles in its second year, in 2006, before moving to the Tier Two playoffs two years ago.
“This is our sixth year playing in Calgary and we are actually a very competitive team with them,” Rohl said. “We’ve done quite well in a relatively short time.”
Rohl said she has started to see more advantages, such as team chemistry, year after year as the players become familiar with each other.
“We are starting to notice that now, as we’ve got former Atoms up in Bantam this year,” she said. “We’ve seen quite the change and quite the difference as they’ve progressed through the levels. It’s pretty cool to see them play at the older levels.”
This weekend’s jamboree is designed to offer a great introduction to first-time players, as well as a physical conditioning camp and an opportunity for coaches to work on new plays.
Teams will play on one half of the field and, instead of a time clock, they will compete in 50 controlled scrimmages, 25 offensive and 25 defensive. Quarterbacks will not be live in the pocket and plays will be blown dead if they are tagged.
The jamboree is also a fundraiser for The Ronald McDonald House of southern Alberta charity, with entry fees going to the cause. Airdrie hosted the event last year.
Each game should last about 45 minutes, with the Storm playing the Stamps at 11 a.m., the Golden Hawks at 12 p.m. and the Broncos at 3 p.m. The Storm’s Peewees will continue to practice Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with the Atoms on Tuesdays and Thursdays until the team begins its regular season against the Chestermere Chiefs on Aug. 28.
“It should be an interesting season for us and it’s coming together really good,” Rohl said. “We’re looking forward to having some good times and some fun this year.”
The Calgary and Area Minor Football League’s jamboree will take place Aug. 14 at Shouldice Park, which is located at 1515 Home Road NW in Calgary, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m..
More information on the league and its teams is available at www.calgarypeeweefootball.com