Monarchs hope to keep local football active as 2020 season officially cancelled

Article Sidebar

Article content

The Fort McMurray Monarchs 2020 season has been officially cancelled after a unanimous decision by the Alberta Football League earlier this week.

The season, which usually starts in May, was first postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with thoughts of having a shortened season starting in August.

Phase two of Alberta’s relaunch plan includes some sport and recreation services opening back up, with health measures in place. However, the cancellation came due to a concern for the health and safety of players, fans, coaches and volunteers.

Kevin Garbuio, head coach of the Monarchs, said he “figured it was just a matter of time.”

“It was good that it was finalized. You hear all these rumours, like maybe we’ll push it into the fall. I think that would have been a disaster,” he said. “I think this is probably the right decision.”

With Fort McMurray also experiencing the economic downturn and continuing to recover from April’s flood, Garbuio said he knows fundraising will be more challenging.


Story continues below
This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content continued

“Having a season this year where everything would have been extra tight would have been really tough,” he said. “We have to make the most of this opportunity now to hit the fundraising ground and put all of our efforts into that.”

After speaking with some of the veteran players, Garbuio said many of them are discouraged.

“We had a lot of high hopes this year with some of the players coming back and some of the new players,” he said. “We’re hopefully for what the 2021 season has for us.”

With the start of the 2021 season almost an entire year away, Garbuio said “just getting on the field is going to be exciting.”

“The big part is just the camaraderie,” he said. “Football players tend to be extroverts so this has been really tough on all of us.”

In the meantime, Garbuio said he hopes the Monarchs can remain active in the community. He doesn’t know what that will look like, but right now they are looking at some football activities later this month, with flag football starting in July.

“I’m hopeful that you will see something involving football and the Fort McMurray Monarchs this year,” he said.