Football gets in on the action
FSI dinner/auction: Aitken Centre site of 29th
annual fundraiser slated for Saturday
By Dave Ritchie
Published in the Fredericton Daily Gleaner on Thursday December 3, 2009.
Appeared on page B1
Kent Murphy wants people to know that first and foremost, he's a
football guy. He's got a passion for the sport and he wants to see it
grow in the capital region.
He's also a special teams kind of guy who has made the commitment to
take the offensive in the pursuit of paydirt in the end zone as it
applies to the support of the sport in the area.
Instead of points on the scoreboard, though, Murphy's game is all
about dollars and cents. And the end zone is the bottom line return for
the newly formed Capital Area Football Association.
Murphy's calls himself the chair of the dinner and auction committee
within the new group. He's the point man, if you will, for the group as
it begins its first year as a full-fledged partner in Saturday's 29th
annual dinner-auction put on by Fredericton Sports Investments Ltd.
FSI is an organization made up of local sports/business people formed
originally in 1981 to oversee the fortunes of the Fredericton Junior Red
Wings team that operated in the day.
When the team ceased to exist, the FSI became a fund-raising
organization for any number of local sports groups who were willing to
participate in securing items for an annual dinner-auction, with the
monies raised distributed to the specific groups proportional to their
input (bid items).
FIS secures a guest speaker for the dinner portion, with the live
auction featuring auctioneers Frank and John Jardine and Troy Whittaker
immediately following. There's also a silent auction.
According to its website, the FSI has raised some $1.6M with its
dinner-auction since the inception, all for the benefit of the local
groups which includes many of the city's AAA hockey teams plus the high
There are the full-fledged partners, and other groups operating more
on the periphery. The FSI also oversees the annual Fredericton Wall of
Fame induction and ceremonies each May.
This year's dinner-auction goes Saturday beginning with a reception
around 4 o'clock. Dinner commences at 5 o'clock with the live auction
portion beginning around 6:45. Festivities can go as late as 11 p.m.
Fredericton's Marianne Limpert, who won a silver medal in swimming at
the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and is a three-time Olympian for
Team Canada, is this year's guest speaker, scheduled to speak around
6:15. Tickets go for $75.
Murphy, who coached in the Capital Area Minor Football Association,
says the formation of the CAFA stems from the desire of the various
football constituencies in the area to have a more concerted and
collective approach to its fund-raising and promotional efforts.
"You had the high school groups going in one direction and the
people in minor football going in another direction, and it just seemed
like the time was right to get all these groups working together,'' says
"The interest in football in this area is increasing all the
time, and there's more priority being placed on fund-raising and things
He says the formation of the Fredericton-UNB Red Bombers and the new
Atlantic Football League featuring junior-aged players between the ages
of 18-24 provided a catalyst for the footballers to pool their resources
under the one group.
Hence, the CAFA including representatives from both the Fredericton
High School Black Kats and Leo Hayes High Lions, Capital Area Minor
Football and the Red Bombers. Partners for football, says Murphy.
"We're a lobby group, and a fund-raising group interested in
promoting football in the area,'' says Murphy. "That's why it's
such a big deal for us to become a full-fledged partner with the
dinner-auction. It's all about football having a presence at the dinner
as well. You're going to see a lot of the football people there at the
Murphy says committees were formed from each of the groups to go out
and solicit items for the auction and sell tickets to the events, which
is part of the deal for the FSI partners.
"We had eight weeeks to put it all together, and it's amazing
the amount of items the groups were able to gather. Our goal is to raise
between $12-$15,000 from the auction and it's all going to go back to
support football in the area.''
He mentioned such items as a helmet autographed by Josh Sacobie, the
former Leo Hayes graduate who set all sorts of passing records with the
University of Ottawa Gee Gees in Canadian University football. There's a
football autographed by the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos.
NFL fans can bid on an Earl Campbell-autographed Houston Oilers'
jersey. There's a Black Kats' helmet autographed by members of the B.C.
Lions. And Murphy's company, Accreon, is sponsoring a UNB Red Bombers
Lunar Rogue Keg Party and a Moncton CFL package for four.
In all, Murphy says there's 12-16 items for the live auction and some
40-50 available in the silent auction.
"I see this group working together like a football team, with an
offence and defence and special teams", says Murphy.
"It's all about giving back. You see kids involved with the high
school programs giving back to minor football".
"You see the minor hockey kids going up to Chapman Field and
supporting the Red Bombers. You see guys who played at the high school
level now giving back either coaching or doing clinics for the kids and
things like that. They appreciate what they got and want to give
Murphy see CAFA's role as a facilitator.
"Dave Blanchard (of Football New Brunswick) put on a football
camp involving some 80 kids last summer and you had guys like Dave
Skillen, Josh Sacobie, Jake Thomas (former high school players in the
area playing at the CIS level) helping out these kids. That's what it's