Grassroots football is flourishing in Prince George under the guidance of a new face in town.
Jamie Boreham built the Okanagan Football Academy from scratch three years ago in Kelowna and he brought that framework with him last winter when he moved north to become the head coach and director of football operations for the Prince George Kodiaks.
On Jan. 5, Boreham hit the ground running with a group of kids who joined the Kodiaks Academy for off-season training sessions at the Northern Sport Centre.
That led to a spring flag football league that started 10 weeks ago and will wrap up Saturday with a jamboree-style tournament that involves 96 kids, with teams from Smithers playing the locals at the Prince George Secondary School field.
“Flag football is a great sport for introduction, it’s non-contact, it’s more touches for more kids because it’s 5-on-5 and nobody’s sitting off,” said Boreham. “Everyone gets to touch the ball, everyone’s important on the field. Our flag football, which is 5-on-5, will help them develop into our tackle (league) which is 6-on-6.”
Boreham will continue to work with his academy players throughout the summer leading up to the fall 6-on-6 tackle football league involving teams from Prince George, Vanderhoof, Quesnel and possibly Terrace, which starts Aug. 12.
That league, which wraps up Oct. 21, will include three age divisions Grade 3 and younger (flag football), Grades 4-5 (tackle) and Grades 6-7 (tackle). Games are on Saturday and practices are Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
Boreham is patterning the tackle league after a 6-on-6 league in Outlook, Sask., run by a friend and former Saskatchewan Roughriders teammate, Brian Guebert.
“We’re going to take one of the best models, use them as resource tools and see what we can do and build here,” said Boreham. “If we can build excitement around the game and increase the positive experience that helps them come back. When parents see coaches invested and a consistent product then parents become happier too.”
Boreham, 45, a school teacher who taught elementary and high school in Kelowna and Vancouver, played eight seasons in the CFL as a punter/placekicker, and won the Grey Cup with Saskatchewan in 2007.
He joined the Okanagan Sun as an assistant coach in 2012 and served three seasons as head coach from 2019-21, named B.C. Football Conference coach of the year in 2021. He was hired by the Kodiaks in December to replace Keon Raymond, who headed the junior team in its inaugural BCFC season.
The junior Kodiaks’ first game of 2023 B.C. Football Conference season is on Saturday, July 29 at Masich Place Stadium against the Sun, the defending national champions. Kodiaks training camp starts July 6.
The Kodiaks are also offering eight weekly multisport and activity summer camps starting July 3 at their home base at the Hart Community Centre on Austin Road.
Go to the Kodiaks website for more information.