OTTAWA - Examining how to get women and girls involved in football in Canada and keeping them in it will be on the agenda for Football Canada's first-ever Football Weekend in Canada.

The program, which will be held virtually, kicks off Friday and will continue through Sunday. Those interested in participating can do so on Football Canada's website (www.footballcanada.com).

“Football means many things to many people across Canada,” said Jim Mullin, the president of Football Canada. "In the midst of a challenging time, we wanted to create a digital event where Canada can take in stories, understand the diversity, challenges and triumphs of our participants, and have a national discussion on what the sport we love looks like today and in the future."

The women and girls conference will be held Saturday and Sunday. The aim is for those attending to see what opportunities exists for women and girls to not only get involved in the sport in Canada but remain in it.

Workshops will be held Saturday with a closing panel to follow Sunday evening.

Other events slated for the weekend include:

— Football Canada film shorts festival on Friday night. Featured subjects include Yol Piok, a former University of Saskatchewan Huskie; the late Gary Linthorne, a longtime football volunteer from Nova Scotia; Reina Iizuka, the first female to play on a university men’s team in Canada; and the Fort McKay Northern Spirits, a team of Indigenous girls from Northern Alberta.

— The RougeZone: Mullin and co-hosts follow amateur football action from across Canada on Saturday between 1p.m. - 6 p.m. ET.

— Interviews with Football Canada's national award winners. As well, footballcanada.com will officially become the online home of the Jon Cornish Trophy, presented annually to the top Canadian player in NCAA football.

— On Sunday, Football Canada will announce the two national flag teams that will compete in a number of competitions over the next year.

Merchandise featuring the alternate Football Canada logo, created by Indigenous artist Kolten Khasalus Grant, will be on sale. The proceeds will be directed to Indigenous and northern football development.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 14, 2021.

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