Athletes from across B.C. and Alberta will be converging in Kelowna on June 10th for the largest Australian Rules football tournament in western Canada.
The tournament will feature over 100 athletes in sleeveless jerseys and short shorts playing Australian Rules football near the Rutland Sports Field for a chance to win the Kelowna Cup.
For those who may be confused, Australian Rules football combines elements of basketball, volleyball, soccer and football. The athletes play using oversized footballs which they have to kick through four upright goal posts.
According to Calgary Kangaroos Australian Football Club director of operations, Dan McLeod, the 14th instalment of the tournament is important for regional clubs as it offers them the opportunity to play against people that aren't on their own teams.
“We usually play some intra-club games among our local teams. You're playing against your mates that you train with each week, so it's a bit difficult to go 100 percent,” said McLeod. “It's great to play against teams from Alberta and BC as we get to come up against guys we may not have met before.”
Although Kelowna doesn’t have an official team of its own, with Vernon currently hosting the closest club, McLeod is optimistic about the sport’s future in the city.
“I can definitely envisage a satellite club of the Vernon Roosters starting up in Kelowna, and the two teams battling it out in competition… All it takes is someone to take the initiative and kickstart the club.”
Locals are highly encouraged to come to the field from 10:00 a.m. onward on Saturday to see what the sport is all about - whether as a spectator or a player.
Those interested in picking up the sport can get into contact with Max Peterson at the Vernon Roosters Australian Football Club by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 250-306-8087