On April 17 2018, Ladysmith almost lost their football team.
Parents discovered that the Ladysmith Minor Football Association (LMFA) was not maintaining certain aspects to remain legal under the Societies Act of B.C. Parents were given a 12 hours notice to attend an emergency meeting where they were told the season was over, the accounts were seized, and equipment had to be returned immediately.
When the previous society folded, coach and trainer Shane Laver, along with his wife Jennifer and a group of other parents stepped in to form a new society: the Ladysmith Steelers Football Club.
During that time, the community stepped up to support the Steelers. Laver oversaw a massive fundraising effort that pulled in $30,000 to outfit the team with all new equipment like helmets, shoulder pads, jerseys, pants, practice equipment.
That support came from groups like Ladysmith Eagles Auxiliary & Aerie 2101, Ladysmith Kinsmen, Redi-Mix, ILWU #508, PPWC, Ladysmith CO-OP, VMAC, Mosaic Forest, Mountainaire Campground and Ladysmith Home Hardware.
Because of the generosity of Ladysmith, the Steelers Peewee team went on to play in fall 2018 and finished with an undefeated record.
The Steelers now have three division teams, Peewee, Junior Bantam, and Bantam. Without the support of the community, there would be no Ladysmith Steelers teams today.
In recognition of that support, the Steelers are giving back to the community with a Thanksgiving weekend food drive.
“We’re hoping to fill as many totes as we can, and we’ll donate that to the Ladysmith Resource Centre,” Laver said.
All non-perishable food items will be accepted. Donations will be taken at Forrest Field over the weekend. The Ladysmith Steelers will take on the Cowichan Bulldogs Saturday October 12: Peewees play at 5:00 pm, Junior Bantams play at 7:00 pm. On Sunday the Bantams play at 4:00 pm. They will also be at the field Thursday and Friday, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm for practice and can accept donations then.
Community members are welcome to stay and watch the games. This weekend’s Island rivalry matchup promises to bring some exciting football, and some excited players.
“They can expect to watch a bunch of happy kids playing football, enjoying sport that they love,” Laver said. “You see it on their faces — they’re just excited. They honestly don’t care if they win or lose, they’re just out there having fun.”