Hundreds of kids in the Edmonton area had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend this past weekend learning and practicing with a local NFL product.
Carolina Panthers’ running back and Sherwood Park, Alta. native Chuba Hubbard held a free three-day football camp for youth players at the University of Alberta’s Foote Field. Hubbard wasn’t the only pro at the camp.
Fellow players such as Baltimore Ravens’ running back Justice Hill, Dallas Cowboys’ linebacker Devin Harper, and Edmonton Elks’ running back James Wilder Jr. also made an appearance.
Kids of all ages and positions took part in the event and seeing the number of participants who turned out to the camp was something Hubbard appreciated in his efforts to help young athletes wanting to make the jump to the next level.
“It shows you how many kids are seeking an opportunity to be great and how many kids really want to make it to the CFL or the NFL or be a professional athlete. For us to be able to do this and be successful, it was amazing,” said Hubbard.
The 23-year-old knows what it means to be a role model for so many kids in Alberta as he is one of the few Edmonton-area players to ever make it to the NFL. He understands his role as a mentor and believes it’s important to ensure he gives back to the community.
“It’s special, not too many guys have come out of the Edmonton area, especially in the NFL, so I know that the platform and everything that I’ve got with it comes with great privilege and a great blessing,” said Hubbard.
“I hold it highly where I’m at, I know that I have a duty to give back to the community and help these kids get to where they want to be, so I’m going to do the best I can to do that.”
To have fellow NFL players take a few days out of their offseason to come up to Edmonton was something that meant a lot to Hubbard. It was the first time some had been to Canada, which led to funny situations.
“Some guys didn’t even have a passport. It was their first time using a passport,” said Hubbard. “The fact that I had those guys come out just shows you the great people I have around me. I’m so fortunate to have friends like that, that want to come back and help support my community and give back, I’m just really lucky.”
There are plans to bring the camp back for 2023 Hubbard said and accommodate more kids, and it might eventually expand beyond the Alberta capital.
“Next year we’ll be in Edmonton again for sure, an even bigger camp and hopefully we can go to another city, maybe Calgary, and then Toronto, and then maybe B.C. We’ll definitely keep expanding it.”