Hamilton Football Association Press Release

Football Hamilton is Born!

Updated Sunday February 16, 2014 by Hamilton Football Association.

HMFA, HWMFA join forces to help create new Football Hamilton

Hamilton minor football at both the grassroots and rep levels has been strengthened and
consolidated with the announcement of a new governance organization to be known as
Football Hamilton.

The new structure was facilitated by a merger agreement between the Hamilton Minor
Football Association and the Hamilton Wentworth Minor Football Association. The two
leagues will henceforth work together as the Hamilton Football Association. Members of
a new Football Hamilton Board of Governance will include representatives of the CFL’s
Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the university McMaster Marauders, the CFL Players’ Association
and the senior Hamilton Hurricanes
as well as Jim Gamble, current president of the
HMFA, who will become commissioner for houseleague (grassroots) football, and Brent
Howlett, current president of the HWMFA, who will assume the position of commissioner
for varsity (rep) football.

The formation of Football Hamilton was achieved after discussions involving the HMFA
and the HWMFA to consolidate resources. The past season saw a splintering of
grassroots and rep football in Hamilton as the HWMFA offered houseleague play and
rep play through its Hurricanes program in the spring as well as rep football in the fall,
while the HMFA offered houseleague play in the fall in addition to rep teams known as
the Junior Tiger-Cats playing in the fall.

A merger committee has been meeting to create a new set of programs for youths aged
seven up to age 19.

Steve Lowe, Hamilton Tiger-Cats Director of Marketing, says, “Congratulations to all
involved in the formation of Football Hamilton for seeing the great potential of a unified
program in the area. It is exciting to imagine the benefits of a single organizational
structure for amateur football in Hamilton. Through the Tiger-Cats Play Action program
presented by Tim Hortons, the team encourages and supports the growth of
grassroots football. We look forward to continuing this work in partnership with Football

"The CFL Players' Association is committed to working with local minor football
organizations to grow the sport we love while educating youth and parents about safe
contact," said Susan Gordon, VP Marketing of the CFLPA. "So it is exciting to see this
merger which will create one unified minor football organization for Hamilton from ages

HMFA president Jim Gamble offered support for the merger on behalf of the league’s
board of directors, saying, “This new organizational structure will resolve differences that
have existed at the grassroots level and offer Hamilton boys and girls of all levels of
experience and skill an opportunity to learn and enjoy this great game in a positive and
fun environment.”
Said Brent Howlett, current president of the HWMFA,"I look forward to working under the
Football Hamilton umbrella to ensure that the grassroots of football in Hamilton
continues to grow, providing young boys and girls with first-class recreational and
competitive experiences and creating a solid base within the hierarchy of football in
Hamilton that will serve as a springboard in developing players who might go on to play
at an elite level."

The roots of the HMFA go back to 1959 when the Hamilton Pee Wee Big Four Football
League was formed. Teams played eight-man football.
The Hamilton Minor Football Association was introduced in 1961 with 12-man football.
That season there were four peewee teams of boys aged between 11 and 13 years of
age. In 1961 the new organization received its first donation from the Tiger-Cat Trust
Fund. Four Bantam teams joined in 1967. The HMFA joined the Ontario Amateur
Football Association in 1972 and two years later expanded its football operations to
include the Atom division. The organization was incorporated in 1980.
The league has always operated under the principle of practise where you live, with
community teams representing Westdale (the Eskimos), the West Mountain (Riders),
East Mountain (Lions, formerly the Ticats), East Hamilton (Stampeders) and Stoney
Creek (Bombers). This past season the HMFA featured house league teams at the atom
(8-10), peewee (11-12) and bantam (13-14) levels, playing OVFL Minor Development
football, and atom, peewee and bantam rep teams, known as the Hamilton Junior Tiger-
Cats, playing OVFL fall rep ball. Over the course of 50-plus years, the league has
produced numerous university/CFL players including Jarrett Smith, Mark Verbeek, Rob
Hitchcock, Allan and Bruce Boyko, Aubrey Cummings, Corey Grant, Chris Vrantis, Chris
Rankin, Joe Bonaventura and Tim St. Pierre. Jim Gamble has been president of the
league for the past 25 years.

As for the HWMFA, its origins date to 1982, when Malcolm Macrae created
Flamborough Minor Football with a group of peewee-aged players who played against
Burlington. Over the next few years with volunteers like Walter Wegges (also founder of
Brantford Minor Football and the Ontario Varsity Football League), the association grew
into Hamilton Wentworth Minor Football and became a founding member of the
Southwestern Ontario Football Association of Leagues. In 2002 the HWMFA signed a
100-year lease with the Town of Flamborough for fields in Rockton behind the Beverly
Arena. There the HWMFA built two football fields and the association grew to over 1200
players playing in the HWMFA house league, SOFAL and the OVFL. This past season
saw the HWMFA rep program join forces with the Ontario Football Conference CJFL
Hamilton Hurricanes and its varsity team went on to win the OFC Championship. Its fall
rep program worked to help move SOFAL into the Central Ontario Minor Football
For more information:
Paul Micieli, HMFA/HWMFA merger committee, paulm4545@gmail.com
Joe Sardo, HMFA/HWMFA merger committee, joe.sardo@rbc.com, 905-546-5828
Jim Gamble, HMFA president, coachjim2011@hotmail.com, 289-456-2628
Brent Howlett, HWMFA president, backhoe@hdcs.ca, 416-989-0817
Website: footballhamilton.com
Sent by Don Wall, HFA Communications, 289-218-9454

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