The Westshore Rebels are having their most successful season on the field in some time, but off the field the junior football club is still struggling to keep its head above water.
According to team president Doug Kobayashi, the team needs to raise about $24,000 in the next three weeks to play out the rest of the season, which includes one regular season game, two potential playoff games and the possibility of hosting the Canadian Bowl junior football championship. It’s the B.C. Football Conference’s turn to host the national event, meaning the winner of the Cullen Cup gets home field advantage against the champion of the Prairie Football Conference.
The Rebels, recently crowned BCFC regular season champions, have home field advantage throughout the B.C. playoffs should they keep winning. The lack of travel reduces the club’s expenses significantly, Kobayashi said. But unlike regular season games, the gate for playoff games is split between the host team, the BCFC and the Canadian Junior Football League.
Thanks to an increase in attendance of more than 300 per cent over the 2015 season, the club has had success this season paying off outstanding debt. While he sees light at the end of the tunnel, Kobayashi said the team is not out of the dark yet.
Whichever team hosts the Canadian Bowl is required to pay $3,500 up front to bring the PFC champion to B.C., he said, an expense not reimbursed until after the game by the BCFC.
Rebels club representatives will be canvassing the West Shore business community for sponsorships in the coming days and weeks. “One of the big things people should know is that we are a 100 per cent volunteer organization. No one gets paid a cent here, 100 per cent of their money will go into the team,” Kobayashi said.
To find out how to help, call Kobayashi at 250-415-7267.