Eastman Raiders have kicked off their flag football season.  

President Gavin Don says they've got U10, U12, and U16 flag football teams that play in a program run by Football Manitoba. He notes it is really picking up in popularity. 

“Flag is a growing game, one of the things that Football Manitoba tells everybody is that flag football is now an Olympic sport, so if you practice hard and play hard you could become an Olympian. I think some of the popularity of flag is that it's a fairly easy game to pick up, it's cheap, you don't need any equipment and so I think that is the appeal for flag football.” 

Don says ideally, they would love to see the flag football program grow to the point were the Eastman Raiders can run their own league out of Steinbach, but for now, they are just happy to have teams in Football Manitoba’s league. 

Gavin don standing next to a display table in the mall that reads Eastman RaidersThe Eastman Raiders had a booth at the Clearspring Centre's Spring Vendor Market over the weekend and Gavin Don was in attendence

Meanwhile, Don says registration for their First Down Program just opened up and registration is already well underway for their tackle program. 

“This year's registrations for tackle, I think we're sitting around about 80 so far, so we're on our way to being around the 100 and 120 marked for that as well, which would be really good. We'll hopefully get two Cruncher teams, the U10 team, and then our usual Atom team, Peewee team, and it's looking really good to get a Bantam team this year again as well.” 

Don says tackle season gets underway with practices beginning in mid-July and games running from mid-August through the end of October if the teams do well in playoffs. 

A woman stands next to a display table in the mall which reads Eastman RaidersVice-President Oralee Froese also made an appearance

As the season approaches, Eastman Raiders Vice-President Oralee Froese adds they could always use more coaches and volunteers, especially for the Bantam team. 

“They're the oldest age group. Last year we struggled a lot trying to get a coaching staff together for them and the team suffered for it a little bit but in the end we had some great people come forward out of the woodwork who we've never met before and helped us out, and we're hoping to have the same response for this year.” 

Anyone interested in registering their kids for football this year or coaching can visit the Eastman Raiders Football Club website.  

Written with contribution from Judy Peters.