Chilliwack’s Valley Huskers will have a new president leading a new board as the junior football club prepares for the 2021 season.
Tom Caverly has taken over for Jean Hincks.
Joining him on the revamped board are several people with ties to the successful Chilliwack Giants minor football organization, including Ian Parks, Drew Saunders and Mike Kelly. Their challenge is a daunting one, to bring stability and sustainable success to a long-suffering program.
“It is a daunting task, there’s no question about that, but I’m not doing it by myself,” Caverly said. “I’ve got a great group I’m going to be working with. It’s shared leadership and a shared vision and we’re all going to be on the same page moving together.
“We have to come up with some great ideas, and have fun doing them along the way.”
Caverly talks about building the program from ‘ground zero,’ but one thing he’s not worrying about is finding a football boss.
“We have a fantastic head coach in Bob Reist, who has a national reputation from his time at the university of Manitoba,” Caverly noted. “Thanks to Bob we have a group of about 25 players who are registered with the Huskers, including a great group of core kids in the (Fraser) Valley.”
Another thing Caverly is bullish on is the logo.
The comic book-style scarecrow is a love-it-or-hate-it proposition for Husker fans, but count the new prez in the love-it category.
“That is something we should capitalize on,” he enthused. “I said to someone the other day, ‘You don’t even have to enjoy football to love that logo,’ but what I want is for people to look at that logo and immediately think, ‘Valley Huskers.’”
The Huskers share a league with perennial powerhouses like the Okanagan Sun and Langley Rams, deep-pocketed teams that contend annually for BCFC and national championships. With a strong organization backing football ops, Caverly has no doubt his team can compete with them.
“Bob had done such a fantastic job with recruiting this past offseason, I actually would have loved to see what the team would have looked like this year,” Caverly said. “I think back to 2018 when Bob was awarded the ‘Coach of the Year’ award by the league. That was something that said, ‘We have something going on here,’ and we just have to keep developing it.
“We want to build a program where a top-tier player automatically wants to come play for the Huskers. That’s what we’re moving towards.”
The team’s overall mission hasn’t changed, but Caverly said there will be ‘a refocusing,’ with a shift from short to long-term thinking.
“Everybody wants a winning team, don’t get me wrong. Who doesn’t?” he noted. “But do you want to have that community support so it doesn’t matter whether your team wins or loses? We see that in the Roughriders in Saskatchewan, and if you take that kind of thinking and apply it to our community, that’s where we want to go.”
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