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Mark Cohon is shown posing with the Grey Cup in a 2013 file photo. Photo by Barry Gray, The Hamilton Spectator.

CFL commissioner Mark Cohon, TSN coming to Stoney Creek

By Mike Pearson, News staff

TSN cameras will be on hand Aug. 14 when the Hamilton Football Association showcases its safe tackling techniques for Canadian Football League Commissioner Mark Cohon and a national TV audience.

Joe Sardo, HFA director of football operations, said a TSN crew will film youth players during a practice session at Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary School from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The segment will promote the HFA’s new safe contact certification. The minor football league, for players aged seven to 14, is the first of its kind in Canada to be recognized as safe contact certified by Football Canada.

“The CFL and pro football are spearheading safety from the top down,” said Sardo, a former linebacker for the Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa Rough Riders in the 1990s. “It’s an opportunity for some of the kids in our program to get national exposure.”

Four teams ranging from 7-8 year-old tykes to 14 -year-old bantams will take part in the session. HFA teams practice and play across the city, with games held weekly after Labour Day.

The Football Canada safe contact program is designed to help coaches minimize the risks of football by teaching safe tackling and blocking techniques, proper drill progression, controlling the amount of contact used in practices and regulating the speed and intensity of contact in practices.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation has given the HFA a two-year, $118,600 grant to expand its player safety initiative for 2014-15. That funding has also helped the HFA outfit all players with new helmets this season.

The HFA is still accepting registrations for its fall sessions of rep and minor development football. Players and parents can sign up online at jrticats.com or contact Danielle Baboth at danielle780@hotmail.com or call 905-977-7109.

Hamilton Football Association is a new organization formed following a merger between the Hamilton Wentworth Football Association and the Hamilton Minor Football Association.

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