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«We are excited for the first game»
Montreal Alouettes linebacker DJ Lalama and his good friend and former teammate Andrew Harris of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will launch the Pro Prep Flag Football League in the coming weeks. Their new venture will be based in Winnipeg.
The league is scheduled to begin play on September 30 and will include nearly 20 teams, each of them set to play 10 regular season games before going to the playoffs. The games will be played at Dakota Collegiate’s Murray Field on Wednesday and Friday nights. The final is scheduled to be held on Friday, November 13.
“For Andrew and me, it’s a way to stay connected to football and give back to our community here in Winnipeg. If we can create a league that will remain for years here in our city, it will be quite an accomplishment,” says Lalama.
While professional sports have been deeply impacted by the pandemic by having their season altered and even cancelled, the repercussions have been just as great for high school and college-level athletes. And this is exactly why Lalama and Harris went ahead with their project.
“As professional athletes, we cannot play our favorite sport, and young athletes are in the same predicament as us. It’s an exceptional time that is also difficult for them, so you have to think of others,” adds Lalama.
The league will be divided into two categories, one with high school players and one with college and junior-level athletes. Each team will have their staff of massage therapists, physiotherapists, and even a journalist, who will conduct interviews at half-time. They will even record the games and upload them on the league’s website to have them available for anyone to watch!
“We want to recreate the atmosphere of a real football game, we want athletes to have an extraordinary experience,” says Lalama.
At the end of the season, each player will also benefit from one month of personal coaching by DJ Lalama, who also trains athletes with the company he created a few years ago, DJ47.
The former University of Manitoba Bison worked closely with public health authorities and the Province of Manitoba to ensure a safe environment for the athletes. The league will be regulated by Football Manitoba and all referees will be from U SPORTS or secondary leagues.
“We covered all aspects of security. We worked closely with Football Manitoba, who guided us in the right direction. From the beginning, there was great enthusiasm towards our project, and we are excited for the first game».
Each team will be composed of a 15-player roster and games will be played in a 7-on-7 format.
More details can be found HERE.