P.E.I. students who moved to Moncton to pursue football dreams ineligible to play
MONCTON -- Two Prince Edward Island students hoping to live out their football dreams in Moncton have been told they are ineligible to play due to a rule that requires them to live with their parents.
Tyler Newson and Ethan Haakman moved from P.E.I. to Moncton in the summer to pursue academic opportunities, and because there are no high school football teams on the island.
“Over there it’s much better to get noticed and also, when coming here, I looked at all the courses and for what I’m interested in, which is nutrition and foods and becoming a dietician, my school didn’t offer that on P.E.I.,” explains Newson.
Newson and Haakman, both Grade 11 students at Moncton High School, made the football team this season and even scored starting spots.
But their dream was short-lived.
“We started practising every day and then two days before the first game, we were told that we couldn’t,” says Haakman. “I was really upset.”
“Everything we worked for to get here has now been shut down,” says Newson.
Under the New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association, students who transfer into the New Brunswick public school system without parents or legal guardians are ineligible to participate in NBIAA activities for 12 months from the first day of attendance at their new school.
Haakman and Newson are under the legal guardianship of one of the football coaches and his wife. As a result, they are ineligible to play until next season.
“If the parents are not living here from P.E.I., the guardians that they’re living with, even though they’ve signed legal guardianship, they have to wait a year before they’re eligible to play,” says Mike Belong, the principal at Moncton High School.
Belong says it’s a lost opportunity for the students and the school.
“The rule here hurts these kids. I have kids that come from immigration, Rotary exchanges, and those players are allowed to play, yet these kids can’t,” he says.
Belong says he will be revisiting the issue with the NBIAA and hopes changes will be made.
As for Newson and Haakman, they say they will continue to train over the school year and pick up with the team next August when they are eligible to play.