FORT MCMURRAY (660 NEWS) — Fort McMurray Saints coach Kevin Garbuio is beaming with pride now that four of his players have been signed to post-secondary football teams.
Garbuio tells My McMurray (If 660 is in the source line, is he telling MMM? Change 660 in source or take out ‘tells MMM’) while a handful of players usually make it onto college teams each year, this year’s signings are especially exciting.
“That makes us even more proud, with all the setbacks they were still able to get signed,” the coach added, saying that the boys had to overcome a number of hurdles no one could have foreseen.
These hurdles include not playing a single game during the 2020-2021 football season.
“The team was able to meet for a handful of team practices as restrictions changed throughout the football season,” Garbuio said.
Due to the pandemic, they were never able to play against another team.
Garbuio says he believes his players’ talent and work ethic through previous seasons led to them being scouted.
This year saw two different teams scoop up Saints–one in the Canadian Junior Football League, the other an east coast university team.
Defensive end Keegan Hynes is heading to Nova Scotia to play for the St. Mary’s Huskies in Halifax.
Meanwhile, quarterback Liam Bartlett, along with fellow Saints Josh Biggs and Hanet MacGowan, have been signed to the Edmonton Huskies.
Garbuio says that he has concerns for students going into Grade 12 this year, as they have not played a game since Grade 10.
The coach says in normal years, the Saints usually would have begun practice for the upcoming season in January. Pandemic restrictions made that impossible this year.
“But we hope to be able to get the boys practicing this summer,” Garbuio said, adding that this is dependant on a smooth rollout of the province’s summer reopening plan