Manitoba

Winnipeg football team raises thousands to replace burned equipment

A Winnipeg high school football team has raised thousands of dollars for new equipment after a fire destroyed all of its training gear just a few weeks before the end of the season.

Oak Park Raiders exceed $25K fundraising goal to replace gear

Oak Park High School football head coach Stu Nixon in front of a burned storage locker that had all of the Oak Park Raiders training equipment. The team is fundraising to replace the burned gear. (Pierre Verriere / CBC)

A Winnipeg high school football team has raised thousands of dollars for new equipment after a fire destroyed all of its training gear just a few weeks before the end of the season.

The Oak Park Raiders were hoping to raise $25,000 to replace training equipment that burned Saturday at Fraser Meadow Park Pitch.

"We have no practice equipment," said varsity football manager Kristin Whittaker, who set up a GoFundMe page for the team.

By Sunday night at 5 p.m. CT, members of the public had donated more than $26,000 to support the team.

Whittaker said the equipment was sitting in a storage pod at the park, where the team has been temporarily practising when the fire happened.

She said football sleds worth $8,000 were destroyed in the fire along with pads and other equipment.

Whittaker said the school division has insurance but the deductible cost for the school division is almost $25,000.

She said the fire is just the latest blow to the team who had to relocate to Ecole Fraser to practice after their home field was condemned.

"They're just so disappointed," Whittaker said. "They're in total disbelief."

The Oak Park Raiders are hoping to raise $25,000 to replace training equipment that burned Saturday at Fraser Meadow Park Pitch. (GoFundMe)

Whittaker said some other football teams in Winnipeg have stepped up and temporarily loaned some gear for the team to use in the meantime.

The team has just a few weeks left of the football season.

There's no official word yet on the cause of the fire, but Whittaker said she suspects it was caused by arson.