Prince Albert Minor Football remaining optimistic despite changes to program

The Prince Albert River Riders go up against the Martensville Maddogs during a Saskatoon Kinsmen Football League game at Max Clunie Field in October 2019. --Herald file photo.

The Prince Albert Minor Football program has seen its fair share of hardships over the past two years. With the COVID-19 pandemic lingering, they had no choice but to make some changes, including raising registration prices and removing programs for the two youngest age groups.

Despite these tough decisions, coordinator Taras Kachkowski hopes it will be smooth sailing in 2022.

“From day one of Prince Albert Minor Football, we’ve always wanted to be able to offer the youth and families an affordable option to get into sports,” he said. “It’s always been a conscious decision to keep our registration fees as low as possible. When you compare our fees to other programs in the province, our fees are quite low and manageable.

“In the meantime, there’s all kinds of expenses involved in running a minor football program. You have insurance, replacing equipment, field rentals, paying officials and what not. All of those prices have steadily increased, and we’ve maintained the same price for several years. But it’s gotten to a point where we’ve had to make a modest increase in our fee structure.”

Registration for tykes and indoor flag football is now $50 compared to $30 last season. Spring tackle football programs have increased by $25 for pee wee, bantam, and senior age groups to $100. Atom football remains at $100, while pee wee and bantam fall programs have gone up to $200 if registered by August 1. The price increases to $300 if registered later. Lastly, equipment deposits will now be $300, up $50 from last year.

“Anytime that fees do go up, there very well may be some families that may have to think twice about becoming involved,” Kachkowski said. “Keeping that in mind, we wanted to keep whatever increases we had to make as modest and affordable as possible.”

Two age groups were removed from the program, the Pre-K and Kindergarten levels. Kachkowski says it’s never an easy thing to do when kids are left out, so it was another tough choice to have to make.

“We would rather be expanding our program than shrinking it,” he said. “There are other programs that we would like to see added, like getting girls involved in the sport. We’re about growing the sport, not contracting it. Essentially, as a response to COVID restrictions that came into place, we felt that it would be easier to keep the two older groups.

“We realized that as popular as this program is, there’s just not as much benefit from a player development aspect as far as retaining what the kids learn from year to year.”

Kachkowski also touched base on the pandemic, saying coordinators will have a plan in place to deal with any potential issues that may arise during the spring season.

“We found a way to make our programs work with the rules and regulations that were set in place before,” he said. “We will continue to find ways to work with whatever recommendations that our authorities set in place. It looks like some of these restrictions are going to be loosened a bit. On one hand, that’s great, but on the other, it’s certainly a concern. We’ll continue to adapt the way we offer our programs accordingly.”

Registration for the upcoming football season is available on the Prince Albert Minor Football website.