Celebrating Quebec midget football excellence
By Andrew Soong
The Quebec Minor Football League held its annual awards banquet Saturday afternoon at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal.
“Ten years ago it was more anglo in membership, but now it is more franco,” said QMFL president Earl De La Perralle about what is touted as the largest football banquet in the province with almost 600 persons in attendance. “Now it’s a blend and all kids play and that’s half of the desired effect.”
Young athletes playing football at the Midget level are at a juncture in their football career at the ages of 16 and 17-years-old. Many will make choices on whether to continue into football into community junior level football or continue onto CEGEP and university. According to Queen’s University head coach Pat Sheahan who was on hand to recruit the young talent “the guys are making decisions now and we’re here to catch them.”
“This is the largest banquet in Quebec,” said Football Canada president Rick Sowieta who is promoting interest in team Canada football of which 10 players were from Quebec last year. “This is a really critical age of development and Quebec is a hotbed of football and football players.”
Winners included the St. Laurent Spartans under head coach Steeve Morrisseau winning the Wibert Scott coaching staff of the year in addition to the 2010 provincial midget champions St. Léonard Cougars under Andy D’Alessandro winning the Bruno Heppel coaching staff of the year award.
The provincial cup was a long time in coming for the Cougars who have not won a championship since 2003. One of D’Alessandro’s secrets to success is his coaching staff that has “been together for many years.”
“We ‘re still together to see all the kids come out and play and we [coaching staff] get along very well,” said D’Alessandro about the Cougars coaching staff. “This is also payback for our time on the football field when we played.”
Moreover the banquet is to promote goodwill and the development of football and its athletes across the province. Many teams have traveled from as far as St. Anne De Beauce — with a contingent of 30 people — who travelled four hours to participate in the banquet. According to Earl De La Perralle “there is constant attendance each year. The idea was to get this banquet to this level when it started about 30 years ago,” he said.
“It is important for kids to have something special to look forward and recognize excellence in athletics.”