President's Letter - Post Season
Well Panthers, we made it. Another successful football season is in the books. With the holidays upon us, it is time to kick back and reflect on the seasons completed and begin to plan for the ones ahead.
2018 was one for the books. The year saw our three Varsity teams make the playoffs (including a trip to the Championship game for our Bantam Varsity team), continued non-contact growth and three NCAFA A Cup Championships. We had more participants registered with Panthers programs than ever before and the passion our volunteers continue to give towards our players is both selfless and inspiring.
At our Annual General Meeting last week, a few noteworthy items were passed along to the membership. As many of you may have heard, the Panthers have decided to take the 2019 off from participation in the OPFL. Its no secret that the OPFL season is a long and expensive one for our players and families and after hearing from our members what it would take to continue to sustain the program, the up-front season fee that would be necessary was far too high. In addition, we believe the model for summer football is in need of a complete re-think. Fewer games, more freedom for families to take time in the summer for holidays and exam breaks, lower costs and exciting brand partnerships are all factors that have been asked for and can now be delivered.
We're excited to announce that Cumberland has accepted NCAFA's offer to manage the new NCAFA Summer Elite Teams (NCAFA S.E.T. Program). A U15 and a U17 team will each be created. Up to eight games will be played by each team against opponents in Ontario, Quebec and the US culminating with the Montreal tournament formally known as the Spalding Cup (July 7-14). Dates are currently being finalized for a series of dome session try-outs beginning in February. Practices (two per week) and games will be held at central locations in the city. The program will not play games every week nor will there be any activities during high school exam week, allowing families to better enjoy their summers and players to focus on their academics.
I have accepted the position of General Manager for the S.E.T. Program and numerous Panthers volunteers will be involved at all levels. This is an exciting initiative that addresses the concerns of families but keeps Varsity football alive in a brand new form. Registration is now open at https://ncafa.sportngin.com/register/form/238284185
Also in the coming year, we are excited to expand our Non-Contact Programs. We expect continued growth in our fantastic Cheer program and we are all-in on developing our Girls' Touch program into an even larger series of teams for Girls age 8-21. New this year, the Panthers are working closely with NCAFA to develop a new league-wide Co-Ed Flag program in the spring. More to follow on these programs in the weeks ahead.
Also at our AGM, it was decided that our Executive group will decrease in size. We have moved from a 15 person group to a 10 person group in a effort to create a more efficient decision-making body. Also new is a committee-based structure for our Sponsorship & Fundraising, Special Events and Game Day Operations. A new Executive position, the Committee Coordinator, has been created and is open for someone interested in guiding the above committees. Aside from that, all 2019 Executive members are experienced members of the Panthers and future is very bright.
As always, if there are any questions or concerns, I am easily reached. I'm always very interested to hear from people interested in volunteering, either as a coach, a manager or a committee member. Without your help, we could never do what we do for our players.
All the best of the season to our Panthers and their supporters. We'll see you on the field in 2019!
Cumberland Panthers Football Club