The Star-Herald

Speaker details local football team history

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Probus Club of Central Aroostook met Sept. 20 at Reed Commons, Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle.  

President Dave Maxcy called the meeting to order. Dana Crory introduced guest speaker Stu Wyckoff, who started the Aroostook Huskies Football back in 2003 along with Dick Engels. Wyckoff came to Presque Isle as a psychiatrist in 1990, after having had many years of football experience as a player in Dallas, Texas, Brown University and the University of Texas.

In 2003, Wyckoff said, they borrowed money from a local bank and bought the very best equipment, and maintain that standard today. Their first team consisted of only 13 players, with seven on one team and six on the other, and they played against each other. Later they created a team in Madawaska and a team in Houlton. The Houlton team received much local support and it is now a part of the school program.

This year the Huskies had over 100 players from age 6 to high school. The team has funded itself independently by selling raffle tickets and putting on talent shows, and even held an arm wrestling competition. The organization has also received some grant money.

For several years the group used local playing fields for their practices and games, when they were available, but they are now in the process of building their own football field on Highway 1 on the Caribou Road.  Much of the work has been donated, for which the team and coaches are extremely appreciative, Wyckoff said.

Until the field is completed, NMCC has offered the use of its own athletic field.

The coaches for the present five teams in the league are all volunteers who love the game of football. Ages 12 and under play flag football, the middle-schoolers play tackle football and the seniors play full football.

According to Wyckoff, parent participation is gratifying.  Every spring a coach speaks to local schools in the area to explain the Aroostook Huskies program.

More than the fun of the game, Mr. Wyckoff emphasized team members learn such values as responsibility, accountability, reliability, courage and sportsmanship—all critical for successful lives.

In addition, he said, many players were able to achieve better academically from playing the game because football can build strong character traits.

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