The best young football players in Quinte are going to have a chance to soar with the best in Ontario, and they will have part of the nation supporting them. The Quinte Skyhawks Varsity football team has officially taken flight where the team’s logo and colours were revealed to the public. On hand for the launch of the football Skyhawks was a proud member of Quinte’s other Skyhawks, namely The Skyhawks Canadian Air Force Parachute team based out of CFB Trenton. The connection is one the military Skyhawks are proud to be a part of, Capt John Hart told the crowd. “We are incredibly thrilled to be connected with the team,” Hart said. “Part of the Skyhawks’ reputation has always been to be part of the community. “What better way to be part of the community than to have a Varsity Football team named after us.” President and coach Peter Gabriel said the search for a team name and look the reflected Quinte had gone on for months before Gabriel’s wife suggested Skyhawks while the two of them were watching a Seattle Seahawks game. “I said, ‘What’s a Skyhawk?” Gabriel said. “When I Googled it The Skyhawks were the first thing that popped up. It was perfect.”

Gabriel and the football Skyhawks did have some nervous moments dealing with the Department of National Defence and getting permission to use the copyrighted name and look. But in the end, the team not only got that, but something more as well. “When everything was done, the people from National Defence we were dealing with said, ‘You make sure your boys always remember they are wearing material provided by the Department of National Defence,’” Gabriel said. “That is such an honour and we feel such a connection with The Skyhawks and our military.” Gabriel said getting to the launch was six months of hard work, preceded by years of dreaming and planning, dating back to when he first started coaching football at Quinte Secondary School more than 10 years ago. “There was always something there wanting to bring this type of football to this area,” he said. “It’s always been in the back of my mind thinking wouldn’t it be cool to have a next level football program provided.” Gabriel said the program will draw from 11 area high schools and a good minor football program to build that reaches across the region. “The minor football program is a strong program,” he said. “But sometimes that’s the last opportunity some of these kids get to play football. “This will allow the opportunity to try out, play a higher level caliber of football, play in different communities and who knows they might get noticed by a scout from one of the universities.” The Skyhawks plan to launch a Junior Varsity team in 2018 and add the Senior Varsity team in 2019 With the official launch, the process gets underway to get a team ready to start play next spring. Gabriel said tryouts would start likely next February and March with opening day sometime in May 2018.