There will be no fall football for the youngsters of Kodiak this year.
The Kodiak Football League, on Monday, announced the cancellation of the 2020 season, marking the first time since the league debuted in 1999 that there will not be a season.
The KFL is home to middle school and elementary school players.
Stacy Ross, KFL secretary/treasurer, said the decision to forego the season was difficult for the board members. Still, one that had to be made as the world deals with the coronavirus pandemic.
“The idea of one of our kids or our kids’ family members getting sick because someone got to close or COVID-19 is still lingering around — it would just break our hearts,” Ross told the Daily Mirror.
The KFL season runs from August through September. Ross said this is the time of the year when the league starts ramping up, seeking sponsorships and doing fundraising.
With local businesses and families feeling the pinch of the pandemic, asking for funds to make a season happen didn’t seem right. The league has a player fee of $100.
“A lot of our kids have to fish in the summer with their families. With everything being so topsy-turvey we didn’t want to be another pressure on anyone — that is the last thing we want to be,” Ross said.
League participation was down last season, with around 75 players spread across four teams — two in the Grizzly Division (middle school) and two in the Cubs Division (elementary school).
The league started in 1999 and was the first organized football on the island — the high school team, which was initially funded by KFL, didn’t begin until 2002. An article in the Daily Mirror in 1999, stated that league organizers were hoping that football would fill the void between Little League baseball and the Little Dribbler basketball program run by the city.
According to the article, more than 140 players took part in the inaugural season.
The league has been an island staple ever since the Arctic Physical Therapy Bears defeated the Mack’s Maulers 19-0 in the first game on Sept 3, 1999, at Baranof Park.
“The Kodiak Football League program isn’t just about football; it is trying to create good, responsible youths for our community,” Ross said.
With no 2020 season, league officials will begin thinking about the 2021 campaign.
“This was one of the hardest things for me in voting for this,” Ross said. “This is really important to my family and me. Hopefully, we can take this as a time to regroup and get some new ideas to go forward and have a positive outlook in 2021.”