Hamilton Football Association Leads Player Safety as Canada’s First Safe Contact™ Association, Thanks to a $118,600 OTF Grant
Coaches Certification and new helmet funding to support HFA Player Safety Initiative
NEWS (For immediate release) April 2, 2014
The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), one of the largest grant makers in Canada, has given Hamilton Football Association (HFA) a two-year, $118,600 grant to expand HFA’s mandate to make playing football for young athletes safer.
HFA’s “Player Safety Initiative” is designed to teach Football Canada’s Safe Contact™ certification program to registered coaches within the association and bring new state-of-the-art helmets for the league. Those certified coaches in turn instruct youth football players within the association. HFA is leading the country officially as Football Canada’s first Safe Contact™ Association.
As part of Football Canada’s National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) every coach must complete the Safe Contact™ training and demonstrate during the formal on-site observation his/her competency in conducting contact safely before advancing levels. Joe Sardo, HFA’s Director of Football Operations, has also become Canada’s first certified NCCP Head Football Coach having completed all the NCCP head coaching modules and providing feedback to help shape the future as coaches advance in their coaching roles.
• Have a trained Learning Facilitator for Football Canada’s NCCP Competition Introduction Program
• Have a trained Learning Facilitator for Football Canada’s Safe Contact Program
• Have a trained Evaluator for Football Canada’s NCCP Program
• Have coaches trained in Football Canada’s Safe Contact™ program
• Have coaches actively teaching Safe Contact year-round
ABOUT FOOTBALL HAMILTON AND HFA:
The new Football Hamilton structure was initiated by a merger agreement between the Hamilton Wentworth Football Association and the Hamilton Minor Football Association. “Football Hamilton” operating as the Hamilton Football Association (HFA) includes a varsity and grassroots division with one vision and a comprehensive football program for ages 7-22. Jim Gamble (Grassroots) and Brent Howlett (Varsity) will serve as Commissioners of their respective age divisions. The football members of the oversight, consulting board include representatives from the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats, McMaster Football, CJFL Hamilton Hurricanes, and a Hamilton Football Referee member.
HFA youth division (ages 7-14) is led by Joe Sardo as HFA Football Operations. HFA’s youth model “Play like the Pros” implements a Spring Program designed to help participants to learn and/or improve their football fundamental skills regardless of experience levels and a fall competitive Rep and House Leagues. The varsity division is lead by RobUnderhill servicing spring rep football ages 14-19 “developing players for the next level”
What Is The Football Community Saying About HFA
HFA is establishing a set of standards in the country by which a minor football association can become a compliant Safe Contact™ association according to Football Canada. As a parent with young children in the game, knowing that HFA will have certified coaches, proper preparations of practices and a real intelligence for the proper fundamentals of football will be comforting. All of us in the football community, at each level of the game, need to be committed to raising youth football’s standards. Safe Contact™ along with coaching certification does that.” Joe Sardo —HFA Director of Football Operations -Youth Division
“The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are proud to work alongside the Hamilton Football Association with our PlayAction program. The HFA’s Player Safety Initiative takes an important and innovative step towards improving the safety of local youth football players, and provides coaches with essential training to further progress the quality of local minor football programs. We look forward to continuing our goal of strengthening minor football in TigerTown with the Hamilton Football Association.” Glenn Gibson –President Hamilton Tiger Cats
“Playing the game of football provides so many positive experiences for youth. But like any sport that our kids play, it’s important to teach them how to play the game safely. The Hamilton Football Association provides our amateur and volunteer coaches with the knowledge and tools to teach young football players the safety fundamentals that they will carry through their careers. Whether they just play the game for fun, or one day play in the CIS or CFL, learning these fundamentals at a young age will have a positive influence on their football experiences.” Kevin McDonald – CFL, Vice President of Football Operations,
“Hamilton Football Association to become Canada’s first Football Canada Safe Contact Association through Football Canada Safe Contact pilot, this is a great step in the right direction for our sport and will no doubt be the first organization of many. Football Canada has been working hard with our members and community stakeholders to create our Safe Contact program to help ensure the safety of our participants. The Safe Contact programs goals are to provide coach education and training through our national coach certification program, increased knowledge and awareness of appropriate safety protocols and a 360 approach to the fundamentals skills of tackling, blocking and ball carrying. HFA has been a tremendous supporter of this initiative by taking the necessary steps to enhance the game of football. We truly believe this initiative will develop across the country ultimately helping to improve our game and make it safer” Aaron Geisler –Technical Coordinator, Football Canada
“Fox 40 is proud to partner with the Hamilton Football Association (HFA) and the Safe Contact Program. The Fox 40 product line is developed and branded around sports and safety. Young athletes are at the greatest risk for sports-related injuries. We feel that partnering with the HFA is a wonderful opportunity to assist with promoting safety and safe contact football techniques. The Fox 40 Whistle will specifically be used as a signaling tool by coaches to cue to players to stop or reduce contact.” Dave Foxcroft,— President & C.O.O of Fox 40 International Inc. and Canadian Football League (CFL) Referee.
Hamilton Football Association’s commitment to the principles of ‘Safe Contact’ in blocking and tackling and NCCP certification for its coaching staffs puts the organization at the forefront of the game at the national level, and the HFOA is proud to stand alongside an organization dedicated to the fundamental values of player safety and fun. We are excited to join HFA’s effort to shape and lead the future of amateur football in Hamilton and beyond. Pat McCafferty—President, Hamilton Football Officials Association
McMaster football is a proud partner of the new Hamilton Football Association. Football in our city took a leap ahead of the competition and that will not only make the sport safer for kids, and create better coaches, but it will continue McMasterUniversity’s tradition of excellence on the football field as we partner together. We look forward to talking to the great young football players as they advance their football careers. We hope to get them to our Marauder family!” Stefan Ptaszek –McMaster University Head Football Coach
“HFA is a leader through its innovative work in youth and varsity football development, we are pleased to support their efforts and partner with the Hamilton Football Association.” Mike Samuel –President CJFL Hamilton Hurricanes
HFA is spearheading NCCP coach development as an association by their commitment towards getting all of their coaches trained in the new safe contact program, as well as position coach certified. Joe Sardo is leading the charge in coach certification by becoming Canada’s first NCCP Certified Head Coach. OFA is excited to support HFA in their commitment to coaching excellence.” Chris Patton –Technical Director , Ontario Football Alliance (OFA)
It is our goal to provide the best opportunity to develop our youth, in the safest manner to become the best football players in Ontario, with the help of our partners we are well on the road to success at all levels. Thank you to our grassroots coaches and volunteers for all your hard work to get where we are today. Brent Howlett –Varsity Commissioner
This OTF grant will provide the HFA the chance to upgrade our equipment for players at the grassroots level & provide them the chance to learn our game at the safest level with coaches being part of safe contact player initiative. Jim Gamble –Grassroots Commissioner
“The CFL Players’ Association is proud to be a partner of the Hamilton Football Association.” said CFLPA VP Sales and Marketing, Susan Gordon. “Their method of teaching football fundamentals with a focus on safety aligns with CFLPA values, and has resulted in the HFA being officially named Canada’s first Safe Contact™ association. It is a designation that is well earned.” Susan Gordon –VP Sales & Marketing CFL Players Association
Our partners supporting Hamilton Football Association –Safe Contact player initiative
•Ontario Trillium Foundation
•Canadian Football League (CFL)
•CJFL Hamilton Hurricanes
•CFL Players Association
•Ontario Football Alliance
•Hamilton Football Officials Association (HFOA)