Proposal for Restructuring the Maritime Football League  

MFL Team Executives,


Compared to other “post high school community based football leagues” operating in Canada the MFL is unique. For example, in Alberta the Alberta Football League operates with 10 teams fed by close to 200 high schools that have football programs. Leagues in Ontario and Quebec have a similar number of teams fed by a similar number of high schools.  

In 2006 the 9 teams in the MFL drew from a total of 36 high school teams (N.B. 18, N.S. 15, P.E.I. 3). The percentage of players in the Maritimes that continue on playing beyond high school is therefore much higher than elsewhere in the country. We should be very proud of fielding 9 teams from such a tiny player pool!  

However, the downside is that we have a vast drop off in terms of talent from top to bottom in the MFL. In fact we sort of have two tiers of teams in the MFL. The top four teams (Wanderers, Mustangs, Knights and Shockers) did not lose a single game to the other five teams during the 2005 and 2006 seasons.  

I suppose this might be an argument for splitting into two separate leagues or conferences based on strength . In Quebec City this has already happened. The upper league (the LFMQ) has five teams and the lower league (LFQ) has five teams.  

However, with a few exceptions our teams are NOT in favour of tiering. Consequently I am proposing a restructuring of the MFL that attempts to address the lack of parity in the league WITHOUT resorting to tiering.  

Elimination of Conferences and Expansion of Regular Season Schedule  

For the last two years we have organized ourselves into two conferences, the 6 team NBFC and the 3 team EFC. A seven week regular season allowed each team to play 6 games without any real allocation of games based on conference. This was followed by a three weeks of playoffs to determine conference champions and a Maritime champion.  

The results of the first round of the playoffs were, for the most part, a foregone conclusion. The final four teams have been the same for the last two seasons and there really is no reason to believe that this will change in the foreseeable future. Also the conference structure of 6 and 3 teams has lead to some problems, most notably the 5th place NBFC team filling in as the 4th place team in the EFC playoffs. It has meant a long trip to Halifax for the N.B. team to lose the game by a lopsided score.  

Also some would argue that due to the conference structure the two best teams have not met in the Maritime championship game. As well depending on scheduling, teams in the “middle” of the league can have very good or very bad seasons based on who they end up playing. The 2005 and 2006 Marshals and the 2005 and 2006 Gladiators would be examples of teams affected by this problem.  

Because many teams get their gear from high schools we can’t play beyond August 11-12. Access to fields and the minor football spring leagues mean we can’t reliably start our regular season until the first weekend in June. With an odd number of teams being the reality of the present situation somebody must be idle every week during the regular season.  

Looking forward to 2007 we can start play on June 3 and need to finish by August 11. That is 11 weeks.  

I propose that (assuming 9 teams) we begin play on June 3. (This would be preceded by a jamboree on May 26, most likely on an all-weather field.)  The regular season would run a total of 9 weeks: June 3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, June 30-July 1, July 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 28-29. This would give every team 8 regular season games, ie one game against every other team compared to 6 games each of the last two seasons.  

The NBFC and EFC would no longer exist. Instead the MFL would be a 9 team league.  

Tiered Playoffs  

With a 9 week regular season the MFL would have two weeks left for playoffs. In order to have more competitive games I recommend that the playoffs be tiered. The top four finishers in the regular season would play for the “competitive” championship. The fifth through eighth place teams would play for the “developmental” championship. The ninth place team would not advance to the playoffs.  

Maritime Bowl Saturday  

I would recommend that the MFL seriously consider having both championship games back to back on the same field in the same city. This could be followed by the MFL Awards Banquet in the evening. In order to properly organize the day, I believe the league should seriously consider selecting the location before the start of the regular season. Maybe teams could submit proposals to the league to host the event. Perhaps a portion of the gate receipts could go back to the participating teams as well as to the MFL, ie all the teams. The details of this need further discussion if the format above is adopted.  

By selecting the location ahead of time (like the NFL, CFL, CIS and N.B.High Schools already do) the ability to promote the championship day and the league is greatly enhanced. Certainly the opportunity to have a well organized and well attended Awards Banquet is much improved. Under the present system the location of the Maritime Bowl is only known one week in advance. That leaves little time to get organized. Having the awards banquet after the season usually means it is not well attended.  


With no conferences the question arises as to what we do with the venerable Burchill Trophy and the EFC Cup. Because the regular season is a single round robin the Burchill could be awarded to the highest finishing N.B. team in the regular season. The EFC Cup could go to the highest N.S.–P.E.I. team in the final regular season standings.  

The McIntyre Cup would go to the “competitive” champion. We would need a trophy for the “developmental” champion. I have an idea for this which could be discussed at a later date.  

Please note that the terms “competitive” and “developmental” are only being used in this proposal to differentiate the two championships. If we go to this playoff format it probably would be advisable to have “Maritime Bowl Saturday” consist of say the  Mariner Bowl Game for the  “????? Cup”  and the Maritime Bowl Game for the “McIntyre Cup”. The two games would be followed in the evening by the “MFL Awards Banquet”.  

With the elimination of the conferences we would select outstanding players and all-star teams for the MFL only. Also medals would likely only go to the two teams meeting for the “competitive” championship.  We spent $3,400 on awards in 2006. That should drop to less than $1,500 in 2007 under the restructuring.  


Under this proposal the regular season would grow from 6 games to 8 games for each team, ie a 33% increase. If this takes place it is likely unrealistic to also try to go from playing 10 aside to 12 aside in the same year. That would be too much to ask taking into account our small player pool. I believe that we can eventually get to 12 man football and I have some thoughts on how to do it but that can be left for later.  

The $3,000 per team deposit should still suffice under the new structure. We would be moving from a 34 game season to a 42 game season. At a conservative $400 per game for officials our costs would go up by $3,200 or $355 per team. Each team was refunded $550 in 2006 so there is enough to cover the increase in officials’ costs. With a drop in awards costs plus perhaps the MFL getting a share of the gate on “Maritime Bowl Saturday” we should be able to keep the team deposit at $3,000.  


This proposal represents a significant change in direction for our league. Therefore I felt it was very important to get it out for discussion well in advance of our AGM. Feel free to circulate it to others for their feedback. Please send back your comments, suggested modifications and constructive criticisms. A good exchange is very much needed on this in order to get it right.  


Terry McIntyre, Deputy Commissioner
Maritime Football League
December 9, 2006