Sherwood Park Wolverines

Beginnings The Wolverines were originally conceived by the executive of the Sherwood Park Minor Football Association (SPMFA) in 1999. That Executive had determined that there was a need for a third team in Sherwood Park at the Bantam level, and a committee consisting of Milt Ness, Craig Hall and the late Mike Pals were appointed to start the club along its way to existence. After many months of hard work, Milt became the first President, Mike the first Vice-President and Craig the first General Manager of the Wolverines. Wally Bawol was engaged as the first Head Coach and Ziad Amer as the team's first Secretary-Treasurer. Of these founding individuals, Craig and Wally have remained heavily involved with the team, and are still an integral part of the organization to this day.

A number of names were considered for the new team. The choices were finally narrowed down to two, the Wolverines and the SaberCats. After a close vote, SPMFA decided that the new team would be known as the Sherwood Park Wolverines.

Team colours were selected as Navy and Vegas Gold, as at that time no other team in the league used Navy as a base colour. A logo contest was held, and 12-year-old Kevin Bawol submitted the winning entry, a stylized Wolverine head in profile. The uniform was designed by Craig Hall, and included a navy helmet with the famous Wolverine Wings motif used by the University of Michigan in gold. Craig also designed the team's leather/melton jacket. Both the uniform and jacket designs are still in use.

The formation of the Sherwood Park Wolverines Football Club was announced to the media on December 1, 2000. These founding individuals, along with original Wolverine player Ryan Brow, were featured in the local newspapers that following week.

Year One – 2001 Season The Wolverines were welcomed into the Capital District Minor Football Association in February of 2001 and were assigned to the Johnny Bright Division. The team worked hard to recruit players to the new club, and started the season with 34 on the roster. The young expansion Wolverines could not compete against the top teams in the league, but played well against the middle-to-lower echelon clubs; and finished the season with a 1-7-1 record before losing to the St. Albert Fury in the Consolation Round of the playoffs.

Year Two - 2002 Season The team made great strides forward in Year Two. The Wolverines had 39 very talented players and became known as a very solid team, especially defensively. They finished the season with their first winning record, going 5-3-1; their single tie being a memorable 0-0 battle against a very good Edmonton Chargers team that eventually became the Northern Alberta Champions. However, the Wolverines were disappointed in the playoffs, losing a hard-fought game to those same Chargers in the division semi-final.

Year Three - 2003 Season 2003 was another successful year for the Wolverines. With a very committed group of 38 players and their coaches, the Wolverines played in a very competitive division and achieved a .500 won-loss percentage during the regular season (4-4). In the playoffs they definitely turned it up a notch, claiming their first-ever Bright Division title by first defeating the defending Northern champion Edmonton Chargers 8-7, and then the previously unbeaten St. Albert Fury 8-3 in overtime. It took the eventual Provincial champion Rams to knock off the Wolverines in the first all-Sherwood Park league final since 2000.

Year Four - 2004 Season The 2004 campaign was another hugely successful year for the Wolverines. We finished our season with a record of 4 wins and 3 losses, making it our third consecutive .500-or-better season. In the playoffs, we managed a convincing victory over the Edmonton Chargers at Clarke Stadium before going down to defeat at the hands of the Rams in the league semi-final. Prospects for the 2005 season looked very promising, with over half the team eligible to don the Navy and Gold again in 2005.

Year Five - 2005 Midgets The 2005 season was a significant year in the history of the Wolverines. For in 2005, with CDMFA adding the Midget Division, we took the next step from being merely a "team" to evolving into an "organization". The first-ever edition of the Midget Wolverines welcomed back many of the players that had been with the Bantam team. In fact, over two thirds of the team consisted of Wolverine alumni, and six of the original 2001 Wolverines played for the 2005 Midgets. In addition, we were also pleased to welcome many who were new to the organization. We played a short 5-game season, finishing with a 3-2 record. In the league playoff tournament, we competed in the Tier 3 Final game, and defeated the Fort McMurray Ravens.

2005 Bantams The 2005 Bantam season was our most successful since the team was established. We finished the 9-game schedule with a 5-4 record, our fourth straight winning season. But our playoff run was what made the story complete. A thrilling overtime win in the Tier II CDMFA final against the Spruce Grove Cougars propelled us to Provincials for the first time ever, where we beat a very scrappy Camrose Coyotes team to advance to the Provincial Final. Although we couldn't get the win against the Calgary Mavericks, being able to claim the mantle of Tier II Northern Alberta Champs wasn't bad for only being around for five short seasons.

Year Six - 2006 Midgets The 2006 season, our second in the CDMFA Midget division, was another successful campaign for the Wolverines. The team consisted of a young roster heavily populated with Grade 9 and 10 players, and the team's philosophy of considering player development a cornerstone value again played dividends for these players as they move on to the High School programs in the fall of 2006. Our on-field success was disappointing, as we dropped to a 1-4 record and missed the playoffs; but against this was the skills learned, the friendships made, and the good times that were had. Fully 29 of our 42 players were Wolverines alumni, mostly up-and-coming rookies from the Bantam team sprinkled with a few veterans from last season's Midgets.

2006 Bantams 2006 was a year of change for the Wolverine Bantams, with the arrival of new Head Coach Scott Smith. Many personnel and coaching changes heralded the beginning of a new era in the history of the Wolverines. With a lot of first-year Bantams on the team, it was in very large part a learning year. But that's not to say it wasn't successful. In fact, with a 5-3 record, it was the fifth season in a row with a .500-or-better season. In the playoffs we were relegated to Tier Two by the Ticats, where we shut out the Bombers to move to the Final before losing to the Chargers. But for this young, inexperienced team, there was definitely cause for optimisim for 2007.

Year Seven - 2007 Midgets The 2007 season, our third in the CDMFA Midget division, was again successful. We bid a fond fare-thee-well to the last of the original Wolverine players, some of whom had been with the organization for as many as six seasons. However, there are still a lot of people who started this whole thing back in 2001 that are still around, and some of them were with the Midgets again in coaching and support positions. The CDMFA Midget league was vastly improved overall, and expanded to twelve teams; and the Wolverines were challenged to better what was honestly a less-than-satisfying 2006 won-loss record. This we accomplished, finishing 3-4 including playoffs, and beginning the re-building process that promise a much improved team for the 2007 season.

2007 Bantams If 2006 was a year of change for the Wolverine Bantams, 2007 was the year that the change culminated in success. The team had its best regular season ever, winning for the first time the CDMFA Tier I Bantam Championship. The team went through the regular season with a near-flawless record, the only bump in the road being an early-season 14-12 loss to the Black Raiders from West Edmonton. The season was highlighted with many great games, notable of which were two victories against the perennially-tough Rams, not once but twice; during the regular season by a convincing 36-0 score, and in the playoffs by a 23-6 score. In the league final we overcame the same Black Raiders by a 3-0 result on the strength of a long third-quarter field goal. Although we were unsuccessful in the Provincial Semi-Final, going down to the Raymond Comets, it did not change the fact that this was a banner year for the team, and one that we can build on in our quest for that Provincial title.

2008 will be a year to rebuild. With many veterans now moving on, and a group of eager young PeeWees coming up, it promises to be an exciting and entertaining season.

Year Eight - 2008 Midgets The 2008 season was a year of again finding our strengths and returning to them. The team had a winning record but made an early exit in the playoffs. It was, however, another successful season; and many of our players had excellent high school seasons. Again, the overall calibre of the Midget league continued to improve, and the Wolverines kept pace with that improvement. The down side was that there were a lot of veteran players who now left the squad, and the team was going to be looking at a rebuilding year in 2009.

2008 Bantams In 2008, the Bantam Championship team faded into history. The Wolverines started the season with a new coaching staff and only seven returning veterans from the title-winning squad of '07. This season also marked the first that the CDMFA began regular-season tiering, and the Wolverines were relegated to the Tier III/IV division. In that division, although the squad was very young, they performed extremely well and finished the season with a solid record, winning seven of their eight games and going to the league final before being knocked out. But the foundations were laid; the 2008 team had a good, solid core of quality players, and the upcoming season promised to be a good one.

Year Nine - 2009 Midgets The Wolverines finished off the 2009 season with a 1-4 record, and although that might not seem all that great at first glance one must remember that this was a very young team, with over half of them coming from the Bantam ranks. The Wolverines competed in the Tier I/II division, and beat Leduc in the first round of the playoffs before succumbing to St. Albert in the Tier III title game. The good news is that this team will remain largely intact next season, and especially at the key positions of quarterback, receiver and defensive backfield the prospects for 2010 (our tenth anniversary season) look good. Next year is going to be a very interesting season, no doubt about it.

2009 Bantams In 2009, the Wolverines returned to the Tier I/II Division (known as the Bright Division) with a solid squad, and proved it by posting a 5-3-1 record over the season. In the playoffs, after besting the Fury in the first round, they fell to the Spruce Grove Cougars in the division semi-final. There was no shame in that; the Cougars went on to win the Provincial Championship. The season also saw the departure of Head Coach Shaun Bannink, going into "retirement" after a long association with the Wolverines and making way for Deny Tse, who will take the helm for 2010. The team is again looking forward to 2010, their tenth season of play in the CDMFA.

Tenth Anniversary Season - 2010 Midgets Believe it or not, our Tenth Anniversary also marked the sixth year that the Wolverine Midgets have taken the field. The Midget squad, one of the original Midget teams, is the only Sherwood Park team that has participated in Midget football every single season.

2010 was a year marked by tough recruiting and tough competition on the field. The club was competitive despite the difficulties, and posted a 2-4 record (which included some very tight games) before losing in the playoffs with only a few seconds remaining to the Outlaws. Again the Wolverines look forward to welcoming back some good veterans for next season, and also look for a good crop of graduating Bantams who will be looking to get a good start on their conditioning for the High School season.

2011 No team fielded

Twelfth Season 2012 Bantam as well as a midget team played. More information to follow.

Facebook link : [1] Web Site : [2] --Dick Verhoeven (talk) 22:46, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

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