The Saskatoon Valkyries and their provincial rivals, the Regina Riot, took to the gridiron for a three-game “season series.”
The teams opted for the games after finding out that they would be allowed to play and certain COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted.
The Valkyries swept the series, winning by scores of 34-0, 42-7 and 32-7.
“I’m very proud of the team. The success of the team is completely owed to them and the coaching staff. They work so hard, and give up a lot to be here,” said Valkyries head coach Pat Barry.
“Obviously, we were just excited to play the game again. But as we kept practising through the month of June, we could tell that this group was really special,” added Valkyries running back Sarah Wright.
The results for the defending Western Women’s Canadian Football League (WWCFL) champs kept their momentum going as a team for next season, but it was also important to keep the momentum going for female football which is one of the faster growing sports in the province.
“The support is still there,” said Valkyries receiver Kelsey Murphy, in reference to the team’s return after a break for a year and a half due to the pandemic.
“We still had new players coming out, and young people and players coming from those flag leagues, and those building leagues.”
“Getting back and saying that we are here, we’re back — there is tons of football to be played, and any woman can come and try out,” Wright added. “It’s a great experience and we hope even more will come out next season.”
Even though it was only three games, the Valkyries feel it was vital to return to the field for this group of players and future members of the team before they moved on from football or took up something else.
“It gives some hope for the future that more girls will choose to stay in the sport,” said first-year player Arden Kliewer.
“I think we definitely needed this year to keep people’s spirits up and that hope alive to keep playing. I know it allowed for some girls who hadn’t played in a while to come back.”
“You also want to have something for young girls to aspire to,” Barry said.
“When you get young athletes to come play on your team, it always adds to your team. We do have a lot of rookies on the team that have been outstanding and helped us a lot.”
The Valkyries hope to continue their winning ways when they return for a full season in May 2022.