Ryan Minihan is starting a North Island youth football league this April.
Minihan grew up in Port McNeill from the age of five all the way to 22, before leaving to join the military and then eventually moving back home in 2016.
“I grew up watching football with my dad, we never had football here on this end of the island when I was growing up, and I have a real passion for the game,” he said, noting he now has four kids of his own, two of which are of age to play, which is what ultimately made him decide to create the league.
Minihan will be running two programs from April to June, flag football for ages six through nine, and tackle football for ages 10 through 14. He said they will be playing NFL rules instead of CFL rules, and the goal for this season is to teach the game of football and all the rules that go along with it.
“I’ve purchased 17 black helmets and 17 white helmets so I can create two teams to learn and practice against each other,” he said, adding that he actually purchased every single piece of equipment needed for the youth to play; helmets, shoulder pads, pants, jerseys — the only things the players will have to buy are cleats and a mouthguard.
Next year, if things go well, he’s looking at taking the kids down island to compete against other teams.
Minihan received permission from School District 85 to turn Cheslakees Elementary School’s old soccer pitch into a football field. He had Lemare Lake Logging fabricate the uprights and install them. He then painted and lined the field himself, so the programs are all ready to go for the beginning of April.
Mondays and Wednesdays are scheduled for the 10-14 age group, and Tuesdays and Thursdays will be for the six to nine age group.
He noted that so far he’s the only one who’s going to be coaching, but he would love some help if anyone is interested in stepping up and volunteering their time to coach.
You can contact Minihan at 780-405-5169, or find him on Facebook at North Island Youth Football.