EMS football hits the road for Alaskan adventure

Peninsula squad to join forces with Richmond counterparts up north

Earl Marriott Secondary players are put through their paces by coaches during spring practice back in June. The team has reconvened this month for a five-day trip to Juneau

Earl Marriott Secondary players are put through their paces by coaches during spring practice back in June. The team has reconvened this month for a five-day trip to Juneau

When Earl Marriott Secondary head football coach Michael Mackay-Dunn announced to his players the destination of the team’s next big road trip, he admits not everyone was immediately on board.

The mixed reaction was to be expected, however – it’s tough to convince teenage boys that a trip to Alaska is better than, say, somewhere warmer.

“Initially, it was a bit of a tough sell. The kids were like, ‘Alaska? Can’t we go to California or something?’” Mackay-Dunn said, laughing.

It didn’t take long for Mackay-Dunn – who took a previous EMS senior football team to Alaska in 2010, and has been there a handful of other times, too – to convince his charges to get excited about the journey.

“It’s still the U.S., it’s still Friday night football, which is huge up there. This trip is big news in Juneau – everyone’s really excited about it,” Mackay-Dunn said. “It’s going to be great to see the expressions on the kids’ faces when they see the place for the first time.”

The team left Tuesday for Juneau, and will stay up north for five days. In a unique twist, the team will join forces with another Lower Mainland gridiron squad, Richmond’s Hugh Boyd Trojans, who are coached by Bill Haddow, a Peninsula resident himself and a longtime friend of Mackay-Dunn’s.

The two clubs will combine as one for two games, against Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain high schools.

“It’s never been done before,” said Mackay-Dunn, adding that the trip has been discussed ever since Marriott’s last journey north five years ago.

Scheduling was always a problem, he said, because Marriott’s football season begins in the fall and extends into the winter, but Alaska high-school football ends months earlier because of the weather.

Once scheduling logistics were worked out, Mackay-Dunn and Haddow went to work trying to pack as many activities into the five-day trip as they could, in order to give their students a true taste of Alaskan culture. In addition to the two football games, the Lower Mainland visitors – who will stay with host families – will tour glaciers and go whale-watching, among other activities.

“In the four or five days, the schedule is pretty intense,” Mackay-Dunn said. “But it’s going to be really neat for the kids. Most people think they know Juneau because they stopped there on a cruise once, but it’s a completely different place once the cruise ships leave town.

“It’s such a unique place, so interesting.”

Just Posted

Councillor Doug Elford. (File photo: Amy Reid)
Elford to join Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society as a director

Fellow Safe Surrey Coalition Councillors Laurie Guerra, Mandeep Nagra and Allison Patton will be re-appointed to the board

A cyclist stops traffic to allow a gaggle of geese cross the road. (Tino Fluckiger photo)
White Rock man asks motorists to be mindful of wildlife after close call

Impatient motorists drives into oncoming traffic

Big Splash water park is located in Tsawwassen. (submitted photo)
Big Splash reopens Canada Day with changes to keep the water park ‘safe for everyone’

Executive Hotels & Resorts has owned and operated the attraction since 2017

Elgin Park Secondary students rally for climate change outside of their South Surrey in 2019. (Nick Greenizan photo)
City of Surrey set to host online climate-action panel

June 23 Zoom event to include speakers, question-and-answer period

(Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey council moves to reduce parking along rapid transit corridors

This also targets rental housing developments in Rapid Transit Areas

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Most Read