Volume 95, Issue 12

Thursday, September 20, 2001
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Lesser knowns make gains

Wannabe football players rejoice

The sports bitch list

Wannabe football players rejoice

Touch football league set to kick off

By Jordan Bell
Gazette Staff

What do you get when you combine the NFL, Budweiser and a plethora of athletes?

The Budweiser/NFL Touch Football League.

Many students on Western's campus have no inkling a touch football league exists. Fruther-more, they have no idea what they're missing.

"We have schools banging on our door to get into this league," Alana Hope, field marketing co-ordinator said. "It's as close as many of these athletes can get to the big leagues in football."

The league, in its second year of existence, is the NFL's grassroots plan to bring the game of football to athletes across Canada. The league is run by the NFL, therefore saving the respective universities from forking over the financial bill.
The league consists of ten universities (University of British Columbia, McMaster, Carleton, University of Saskatchewan, University of Manitoba, University of New Brunswick, Laurier, Université de Moncton and Western). Each team will consist of ten players who receive some awfully tantalizing benefits.

Each team is given one authentic NFL jersey per player, an authentic NFL football and an authentic NFL quarterback hand warmer.

Hope said the league has paid drastic dividends for the Mustangs.

"The Western Mustangs won the national championship game at the SkyDome last year," Hope said. "The victory brought the University Students' Council $16,000 in scholarship money."

With the league being somewhat of an unknown, USC Sports Commissioner Karl Keating has attempted to peak some interest. "We are trying to advertise the league across campus, going to residences and placing posters all over The Wave.

Enter The Wave.

Through a licensing agreement with the league, players will enjoy many benefits The Wave has to offer.

Each player will receive a VIP card to use during the fall semester, as well as benefits at Monday Night Football events and the chance to win league prizes.

Minors though, are out of luck. "This is an alcohol-sponsored league, therefore you must be of legal drinking age to participate," Hope said.

So what's the hype all about? Mitch Chiba, Western's co-ordinator and also a player, explained the attraction.

"Touch football is a way to continue playing the sport of football in a fun, social setting," Chiba said. "There is such a diverse level of playing ability – from those who have played their entire lives, to those who have never played."

And what's it like to play at the SkyDome? "There is nothing like it. When you walk out to the middle of the field and look up into the stands, it feels like you're in a movie," he said.

Registration forms can be picked up and dropped off at The Wave, with registration ending at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21. The cost is $20 per player or $200 per team.

For all those about to join this league, remember – if you want to travel to Toronto (hotel accommodation and meals paid for), play on the majestic SkyDome field and receive free tickets to the Vanier Cup – this is your chance.

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Copyright © The Gazette 2001