Skip to content

First annual Rumble in the Rockies tournament comes to Red Deer

To help Alberta football players develop skills
Athletes took part in the first annual Rumble in the Rockies at The Dome in Red Deer which was created to help athletes in Alberta further develop their skills. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Young athletes looking to hone their football skills took part in the first annual Rumble in the Rockies event in Red Deer this week.

From March 26 to 30 at The Dome, players from 10 to 18 years old learned from coaches at the Alberta International Selects Football program (AIS) in Western Canada’s only indoor football showcase.

AIS is one of Alberta’s top winter development football programs and have helped players in the province and sometimes out-of-province players reach the next level whether that’s university football in Canada or in the NCAA in the U.S.

Co-director of AIS Jermaine Brown said they created the Rumble in the Rockies to become the first development program to develop an indoor tackle football championship.

“When we look around there weren’t opportunities to continue to train in a tackle environment throughout the winter,” he said.

“We have a short season and a very long winter. In comparison to our U.S. counterparts, we ultimately want to ensure that our Canadian kids get the same amount of development. We’re trying to put them on an equal playing field when it comes to training and development of fundamental skills.”

Throughout the week the kids in different age divisions learned from experienced coaches while also creating exposure for the athletes to Canadian and American universities and colleges.

The main goal of AIS is to teach the players fundamental football skills throughout the winter. In Red Deer this week the participants competed in tournament-style games against other programs in Alberta which were broadcast live on Canada West TV for college coaches and recruiters to watch.

“We want to ensure that we draw in as many groups that want to develop and grow the game of football… The game is a lot safer than it once was and the rules have changed to protect the players,” he said.

“It’s the greatest game on earth and it’s one of the truest opportunities to acquire a university student-athlete scholarship and give kids a real shot at life.”

The athletes all got to compete in one-on-one drills and other challenges for further development. It also was beneficial for the parents of the athletes who got to learn from an experienced college recruiter about what to expect during the recruitment process.

“Most of our kids are going to end up playing in Canada. So we market not only to the NCAA but to Canadian colleges as well. The NCAA is a dream for a lot of kids. I was able to play so we never want a Canadian kid to feel like they can’t make it,” Brown said.

“Ultimately in the end what we’re looking for is exposure opportunities by playing tournament games. We’ve had a lot of fun.”

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
Read more