SAINT JOHN • For Barry Ogden, this is about more than football. It’s about creating a beneficial bond between adult athletes and the youth. It’s about his hope to keep more kids home.
“Our big thing is being a community team,” he said. “We’re losing our young people.”
Ogden said that’s the driving force behind his role as president and general manager of the University of New Brunswick Saint John football team. The Seawolves are preparing for training camp, which begins Aug. 20 at Canada Games Stadium.Ogden started the Atlantic Football League and the refurbishment of the Canada Games Stadium . This s year 45 for him in organizing and coaching . He wants to involve more children. But before the opening kick-off, the Port City pigskin squad is gearing up for something even more important at their venue on the picturesque UNBSJ campus. The Seawolves will conduct their annual football camp Aug. 8 to 10. Aug. 8 is the high school camp run by Saint John High School coach David Grandy. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for players ages 14 to 18.
The Aug. 9 and 10 dates are for peewee and bantam players. The two-day camp will be run by new Seawolves head coach Nathan Gorham. Hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for players ages 8 to 13. Participants do not need gear and are just asked to bring lunch and water. No experience is necessary and players may register each morning at the Canada Games Stadium. The cost is $25.
“We are trying to encourage more children to be active and healthy,” Ogden said.
While Grandy and Gorham will handle the main coaching duties during the camps, the two veterans will be assisted by Seawolves players. The hope is that younger players will be inspired and eventually wear the navy and white in front of a home crowd on a Saturday at Canada Games Stadium.
“We all work together,” Ogden said. “Many of the Seawolves players also coach minor football and high school football. We teach our players to give back.”
Gorham previously played college football for St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. The lawyer is in the process of settling in the Kennebecasis Valley.
“His whole philosophy is learning and having fun,” Ogden said. “One of our goals as a team is to get children more active. That’s one of our goals as a community team.”
Ogden is hoping to see many of the football camp participants in the stands during Seawolves home games this coming fall. “When we have our games, children under 14 are admitted free,” he said. “Kids have brought their whole teams to host their birthday parties at games. A lot of them come out to our games. A family can come with just the adult paying and all the children get in for free.”
For more information on the Seawolves camps or to register, go to seawolvesfootball.ca or contact Ogden directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 506-333-4612.
Meanwhile, the Seawolves’ training camp is for players ages 18 to 24. Ogden said all players are welcome, adding that the roster is expected to include about 50 players. Gear is free for Seawolves players, along with those in high school and minor programs. “That’s a big incentive for a lot of people,” Ogden said. “All the gear is provided. Most people don’t realize that. It’s our philosophy that the [free] gear allows more kids to play.”
The Seawolves have three regular-season home games at Canada Games Stadium on their Atlantic Football League schedule. They will host the Holland College Hurricanes on Sept. 11 in the Peter Fox/Melissa McKeon Memorial Game. The Seawolves host Dalhousie University on Sept. 17 and UNB Fredericton on Oct. 22.