Saturday , 15 May 2021
Kids practice for the start of the St. Paul Bengals touch football season in Fall 2020.

St. Paul Bengals kick off touch football

The St. Paul Bengals have found a way to play in spite of the current health restrictions, which forced the cancellation of their regular minor football season.

Instead of playing tackle football against bantam teams from Bonnyville, Cold Lake, and Lloydminster, they’ll be playing touch football within their own cohort.

“It’s very unique. I actually came up with a lot of the rules, just trying to see how we could make this work,” said Todd Tanasichuk, Bengals head coach.

According to Alberta’s guidelines, when playing a sport or activity that involves multiple participants and it’s difficult to social distance, individuals should form a cohort which always include the same people.

The 36 kids registered in the cohort are split into four teams, which will play against each other under the lights in St. Paul on Friday nights until October 2. Games start at 7:00p.m. and 8:15p.m.

“So it’ll be offense against the defense and then when the offense either scores or they run out of downs, then they become the defense and the other team becomes the offense. We just flip it.

“There are rules as far as where the ball would be placed and such, but generally they’re always starting at the 50-yard line and trying to march towards the end zone,” said Tanasichuk.

While one half of the field is being used for a game, the other two teams will be warming up on the other half.

He said he hopes playing touch football this fall will spark the interest for kids to come back and play tackle in the spring.

“It’s a way for us to start teaching the kids some of the fundamentals, some of the techniques, some of the terminology.

“Hopefully they gain a bit of a passion for the game,” said Tanasichuk.

“It is about trying to build our team for the spring, that’s part of it for sure, but it’s also about giving these kids the chance to be kids. Come out and have some fun with their peers and just be normal a little bit again.”

About Meredith Kerr

Meredith Kerr moved to St. Paul for a career in journalism and morning radio in 2014 expecting to stay for six months to a year. Since then, she has put down roots in the form of a husband, a mortgage, two babies, and a poorly behaved dog. She continues to work as a reporter until such time as she finishes her book and becomes fabulously wealthy from the royalties. Meredith also serves as a member at large on the St. Paul Library Board and volunteers as a Beaver leader for the 1st St. Paul Scout Group.