The West Haven Seahawks of the Southern Connecticut Pop Warner League may have to wait until the spring of next year to hit the field. The league announced last week it is suspending operations this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The league, which operates teams in New Haven and Fairfield Counties, had been watching for guidance from the state as to what path to take.
The deciding factor was the letter sent by Acting Dept. of Public Health Diedre S. Gifford, MD to the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, a week earlier. The letter counseled against teams playing football and volleyball.
“I don’t see how we get around this letter,” Rich Photos said in announcing the decision to league representatives.
There was hope that a spring season could be fitted into the calendar, but that possibility was made even more difficult by the fact the CIAC’s Board of Control is going ahead with a revised fall plan, rather than moving the football and volleyball seasons to spring. The CIAC’s own Football Committee recommended the move, only to be vetoed by the organization’s Board of Control.
The West Haven Seahawks are sponsored by the Ray Tellier Midget Football League, and field teams in several different age and weight categories. They play their games at Veterans Field on Bull Hill Lane.
This is the first season the league will not field teams. Originally founded in 1966 as the West Haven Midget Football League, it was began with four teams and played for several years at Bailey Middle School. It originally entered Pop Warner play as an eighth grade travel team in the mid-1970s.
The league adapted to the reality the city’s numbers could no longer field an intra-city league and opted to join the SCPWL with travel teams in several classifications. It has won several league and regional tournaments, playing championship games in Orlando Florida’s Walt Disney World.
Since that time, the league has developed flag teams to teach the fundamentals of the game for younger players, while still offering tackle football to older youngsters.
The cheerleading division of the league, which was begun with the formation of the league in the 1960s has been as award-winning as its counterparts on the field. The West Haven girls have won several league and divisional titles, also competing for national championships.