The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have wrapped up a series of visits to schools in remote, northern Manitoba communities before the season gets underway.
On Thursday, Bombers wide receivers Nic Demski and Drew Wolitarsky travelled to Bunibonibee Cree Nation, also known as Oxford House, in northern Manitoba, more than 900 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
“Just trying to spread the love of football and the love of sport in all these communities up here,” Demski told Global News.
“These kids really don’t have the chance to come into Winnipeg often and see football drills and how to play the sport of football, so (we) just want to spread the love of football and get a football in their hands and see if they enjoy it.”
The team says the goal of the trips is to introduce Indigenous youth to football at no cost to the school of families and promote the sport in every corner of the province.
“One thing I take out of this is that we’re not just in Winnipeg, we’re trying to spread this all over Manitoba and we appreciate the sport for all of Manitoba,” Demski said.
“So even to come to these communities and show what they have to offer to us, we just like to return and spread love and positivity back to them and hopefully they can pickup a football and learn a new gift while they do it.”
During Thursday’s visit to Bunibonibee, the team visited the high school and elementary schools, delivering flag football equipment including footballs, flag kits, and drill books. They also gave out shirts, signed autographs, and ran the students through drills.
Wolitarsky says it’s important to share the power of sport and teamwork with the students.
“I think just being able to win or lose with other people around you is really big. I lost a lot as a kid but I did it with friends, I did it with people I knew I could rely on and talk to,” Wolitarsky said.
“And sometimes when you’re alone it’s harder to take those losses and it’s not as fun to celebrate those victories by yourself.”
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