Interlake Thunder Cruncher players gaining their bearings

With team members from St. Laurent, Warren, Stonewall, St. Andrews and Teulon, the eight to nine-year-olds' coach, Gord Noren of Warren, said he and his co-coach Mike Stroopa are pushing the team-atmosphere and that the kids are responding very well.

Noren (blue hat) and parent volunteers helped the team practise at SCI on Aug. 20. Pictured: A tackle-donut represented the running back with the ball, and the adults represented the offensive line. Photo by Twyla Siple

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The Interlake Thunder football program provides Interlake youth with the opportunity to play tackle football in the Manitoba Minor Football Association.

With team members from St. Laurent, Warren, Stonewall, St. Andrews and Teulon, the eight to nine-year-olds’ coach, Gord Noren of Warren, said he and his co-coach Mike Stroopa are pushing the team-atmosphere and that the kids are responding very well.

After his team’s practice at Stonewall Collegiate on Aug. 20, Noren told The Interlake Spectator that this is his second year coaching the Cruncher team.

“It’s been a great group of kids this year,” Noren said. “They’re all respectful to each other.”

The Thunder took to the gridiron during the league’s 2018 kick-off at Investors Group Field on Aug. 11.

Interlake played their season-opener game at SCI against the Valour Patriots on Aug. 18. While they didn’t take home the win, they did well, according to the players’ parents and coaches.

“The first half was a learning curve,” Noren explained. “They were a little bit timid at first. When the second half came (after our talk on the sidelines) they scored two touchdowns.”

He said that their defence played much better. “There were some good tackles, they forced a fumble, and all in all, the kids had a really good time,” Noren said.

Shannon Chartrand of Warren said that her son Leighton really loves the game.

“This is his sport,” she said. “He’s spunky and he’s learning a lot of good skills that no other sport can teach him.” 

“If they want to try something different, it’s really different than any other sport. It’s easy, this is the time to send them, to see if they like it,” Chartrand explained.

Miki Hanslip of Lockport said that her eight-year-old son Douglas loves the game. “He has a friend that played last year, named Mark,” she explained. They started talking about it last year, then Douglas joined flag football in the spring. “Now they’re starting to tackle,” Miki said as she watched her son practice on the field.

“I think they’re just starting to get their bearings together as a team, and they’ve had some good practices. There have been some great plays in the games, so it will be exciting to see how they are doing at the end of the season,” Hanslip said.

Training camp began in mid-July with the MMFA regular season commencing in August and championships in October.

The team’s next official game is on Aug. 25 in Winnipeg.

The Interlake Thunder are also slated to play at the Banjo Bowl on Sept. 8, during the pregame, according to Noren.

“The MMFA lets every cruncher team play at the Bomber Games,” he explained.

They are also playing the Montreal Alouettes pregame on Sept. 21.

“It’s a great experience,” Noren said. “Last year they got to meet some of the officials and they got to play on the big field in front of 30,000 people.”

If you have any questions or for more information on the team, look for them on hometeamsonline.com or email operations@interlakethunder.org.

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