CFL office, teams invested $3.1 million into amateur football in 2022

Photo courtesy: Jeff Vinnick/BC Lions

The CFL and its nine member clubs invested $3.1 million in amateur football in 2022 with the goal of growing the game at the grassroots level.

“As a league, we’re proud of the CFL’s tremendous support of amateur football last year through direct donations, clinics, events, appearances, programs, volunteerism and much more,” said CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie in a statement.

These efforts included the introduction of the CFL’s Women in Football Program, the Diversity in Football Program, and the Officiating Academy. The league also continued its Quarterback Internship program, which helps provide U Sports passers with the opportunity to learn from professional coaches and athletes at CFL training camps.

The league also continued its work with Physical and Health Education Canada to develop the game at the grassroots level by providing educators with age-appropriate resources to teach football knowledge, skills, and behaviours.

The B.C. Lions helped local associations by facilitating AGMs, attending management meetings, and maintaining clear lines of support and communication. One game highlighted a local amateur football organization, while seven others recognized youth football participants. The team also provided a record number of proceeds from its 50/50 draws to support amateur football initiatives.

The Calgary Stampeders donated proceeds from their 50/50 draws to junior, minor, and U Sports football programs in the city. The team hosted camps and provided funding for video services for over 150 high school and youth football games while covering the costs for all high school Hudl accounts. The Stamps also supported the Calgary Rage women’s football team and the Pink Power Game.

​The Edmonton Elks helped lead a flag football program that included over 60 registered schools. Team staff provided coverage for the metro high school and provincial championships and brought support to a number of local camps. The Elks also provided funding for the Free Play for Kids Football League, the Elks Junior High Flag League, and the Elks Flag Football League.

​The Saskatchewan Roughriders made donations to KidSport Saskatchewan that covered facility costs for youth throughout the province, while the Pass Punt Kick program allowed the team to provide flag football kits to schools and jerseys and tickets to contest winners. The proceeds from Saskatchewan’s 50/50 draws were donated to minor football programs including both U Sports teams in the province. The Riders also conducted camps for girls and Indigenous groups.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers ran various programs throughout the off-season to introduce over 1,500 youth to the game. The club supported local amateur organizations access to the stadium for camps and championship games and supplied 150 flag football kits to schools across the province. Winnipeg also helped improve funding to ensure kids have safe and proper equipment.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats worked closely with Football Ontario to run activations and host events at Tim Hortons Field while donating its 50/50 proceeds to amateur football organizations. Hamilton delivered bursaries to youth football players planning to pursue post-secondary education and celebrated outstanding contributions to the game through its Minor Football Coach of the Week program. The team also hosted its first annual Women’s FootbALL Conference.

The Toronto Argonauts made donations to amateur football, supporting minor football, high school programs, flag football, the Huddle Up Anti-Bullying program, and MLSE Launch Pad.

The Ottawa Redblacks did over 150 hours of player engagement with amateur football groups and over 380 hours of youth program appearances. The proceeds from the team’s 50/50 draws were donated to local amateur football, while 1,000 tickets were provided to minority groups. The club’s annual coach clinic trained more than 160 amateur football coaches, while the Redblacks helped establish the first-ever Ottawa girls high school tackle football team.

The Montreal Alouettes celebrated amateur teams and officials at home games this past season and visited local minor teams to offer advice and help teach skill development for coaches and youth. The team also donated tickets and game-used items for auction in support of Quebec’s minor football community.