A football camp in Regina gave high school students an opportunity to try the game yesterday at Johnson Collegiate.
The camp was organized by a group of six high school football coaches across the city. Campbell Collegiate football coach Ryan Hall said he thought it was necessary after he noticed changes at his school.
"I guess I just kind of looked around our school and saw how our school was changing, in particular with new Canadians," Hall said. "And we've had kids that come to our team in the last couple of years and I really thought it took a lot of courage for them to try something new."
He said the sport is especially complicated when people aren't familiar with it, and that can make it intimidating to players who haven't tried it before. With more newcomers arriving at high school without prior exposure to football, he says the camp allows them to try it out at a beginner level.
Artem Gololobov,15, attended the camp. He recently moved to Regina from Ukraine.
"It's a great camp. It's a camp for the guys who have never played football before and it gives us an opportunity to try it for the first time before the season is here," said Gololobov.
He had no idea what football was when he first moved to Canada. Now, Gololobov is hoping to try out for the O'Neill football team next season. He has trained in mixed martial arts before, so some skills came easier than others.
"I've learned basic skills of offense and defense, basic strategies and we learned how to tackle," he said.
Hailee Raffey isn't new to the country, but she headed to the camp to try her hand at football with a different set of opponents and teammates. She's played with other girls for a few months, but took the camp as an opportunity to try her hand at lining up against the boys.
"It makes me feel like I can change how people—their sight on football." Raffey said, adding that many people see football as a male sport. "[It] doesn't mean you have to follow the status quo. Make your own status quo."
The grade 10 student hopes to crack a spot on the offensive line for Johnson's football team this year.