(WINDSOR, ON) – The Essex Ravens, of the Ontario Varsity Football League, have been evicted from their home at the Sun Parlour School, in Essex, by the Greater Essex County District School Board. In a letter sent to the team, the Board gave the Ravens until the end of 2014 to vacate the clubhouse where they’ve operated from since 1997.
During renovations at the school, the Ravens last year split their age groups between Villanova in LaSalle, while the varsity team played at Alumni Field at the University of Windsor. Now the team has been left without a home due to the eviction notice from the School Board.
“This has been our town. This is where we chose to play,” varsity coach Glen Mills told the Essex Free Press. “I don’t think we will be playing in Essex any more. We had to move out of the school.”
Mills met with the School Board in October but couldn’t get a guarantee that the team could return to the clubhouse after the renos had been completed. Yet the Board wanted the Ravens to kick in money to complete the construction. Then, in the middle of December, an email was sent by the Board demanding that the Ravens vacate the premises by the end of the year.
Where the Ravens will play is anyone’s guess, but they may come home to roost in LaSalle. However, that would mean a number of costly renovations to the field including the installation of lights and the construction of a clubhouse.
“We’ve approached Essex Town Council on numerous, numerous occasions and haven’t been able to get any support there,” Mills said. “The most frustrating part is that there’s no rhyme or reason for this. No explanation. Nothing.”
The Ravens have been a mainstay in Essex for 17 years. The coaches have nurtured aspiring players at every age level, some of whom have gone on to bigger and better things. For instance, LaSalle’s Luke Willson is a graduate of the Ravens program and has earned himself a Super Bowl ring as a member of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.
In the meantime, Mills will be coaching Team Canada in Dallas, TX, during the International Bowl on January 30. Canada’s Under-18 National Team will compete against Team USA at AT&T Stadium, site of the Detroit Lions’ loss to the Dallas Cowboys, while the U-19 Team will play the US February 7 at Maverick Stadium at the University of Texas-Arlington.