Saturday , 12 June 2021

Cold Lake Fighter Jets march on through difficult times

The Cold Lake Fighter Jets hosted the Calgary Wolfpack last summer at Thomas Varughese Field.

The Cold Lake Fighter Jets will not take off this season.

The Alberta Football League cancelled the season last week, meaning the second year of Fighter Jets football in Cold Lake.

Their chance for redemption will have to wait until 2021 as the Fighter Jets were disqualified from the AFL playoffs in fall 2019 following a Compensations Act violation.

“It’s been a roller coaster since last fall to say the least,” said team president Damen Schaub.

“Whether we’re in the league, out of the league, we can be in the league, if we met out obligations, we’re like ‘okay, we’re in for the season’, but nope– coronavirus.”

In the wake of shutdowns across the province, many teams lost sponsorships or feared they wouldn’t be able to get as many as years past, the Fighter Jets included.

This would have forced teams to ask its players to pay for their own travels costs and assist with other team finances.

Despite disappointment, Schaub voiced his support for the league’s decision, calling it a blessing in disguise that’s allowed the team to reorganize themselves and hopefully come out stronger next year.

Although the team won’t be playing games, they are still looking for ways to keep football prominent in the community; last weekend some members of the team helped clean up an M.D. road.

“About a dozen of us got together on Saturday and did some ditch cleaning around Baywood Road there. It was good weather for it and it gave some of the guys a bit of exercise,” said Schaub.

There have been suggestions on postponing the season, but these would give rise to new logistical problems such as conflicts with high school teams over field use, and shorter days necessitating earlier practices.

“It’s hard to run practices at 5:00pm when everyone’s coming off work,” said Schaub.

“It’s a bummer for the younger guys that are still looking for that exposure to go to the next level.

“Everybody’s in that same boat right now, and the CIS and the juniors are still undecided on what their seasons are gonna look like. Everybody’s kind of just paused football life right now.”

Schaub has also expressed his gratitude for the support fans have given the team during their difficult times.

“We thank out loyal fans and appreciate their comments on our Facebook page. Hopefully once things get back to normal, we can come back strong for next year and do what we said we were going to do, and maintain the same level of competition.”

About Chris Lapointe

Chris is a two-time Vancouver Film School graduate, where he originally studied screenwriting and video games. Returning home to the lakeland post-graduation, he was determined to put what he learned to use. He brings with him a laid-back attitude and a love for pop culture that he hopes can be injected into Lakeland Connect's publications.