Hamilton Wentworth Panthers, who have provided community based minor football since 1982, are getting some big league help.
On Monday (March 21), three organizations will donate new Xenith X1 football helmets to the Hamilton Wentworth Minor Football Association’s varsity Panthers. The Panthers compete in the Ontario Football Conference and are an affiliate of the junior Hamilton Hurricanes.
Stevie Baggs, a linebacker with the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats and representing Stevie Baggs Foundation Gives Back to the Community, will be joined by Tim Fleiszer, of Xenith Sports Equipment and a former defensive lineman who played 10 seasons in the CFL, and Paul Bowman of Marchant’s School Sport Ltd.
“This donation of helmets could not have come at a better time,” said Samuel Preston, media relations officer for the HWMFA. “The Varsity Panthers have their spring/summer season starting on May 29, and they will be put to great use.”
Baggs CFL experience includes stops with the Edmonton Eskimos, Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He was originally signed by the Detroit Lions of the National Football League in 2004 as an undrafted free agent and was subsequently inked to a contract by the Arizona Cardinals for the 2010 season but was released before the team’s 53-man roster was finalized.
He played his college football with Bethune-Cookman Wildcats in Daytona, Fla.
Fleiszer won Grey Cup championships in 1999 with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 2002 with the Montreal Alouettes, 2005 with the Edmonton Eskimos, and 2007 with the Roughriders.
The helmet donation will take place at Michelangelo Banquet Center, 1555 Upper Ottawa Street at 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend.