The expansion Calgary Fillies and what might have been

As a new chapter in the history of LFL Canada unfolded, the Calgary Fillies were ti join the sorority as the newest franchise for 2013. Playing out of the Stampede Corral, the expansion Fillies should have hosted the Regina Rage on September 14 in their inaugural game. Instead, a September 16 announcement from LFL Canada stated that the season would be postponed to 2014. These quotes were taken before the visceral announcement to postpone the season.

A collage of Fillies players. Obtained from:

A collage of Fillies players. Obtained from:

Prior to the announcement, an interview was held with head coach Jarrod Neufeld. A longtime football coach in the community, he was looking forward to seeing the Fillies in action. During the first series of evaluating talent, the aspiring members of the Fillies came from many unique sporting backgrounds. From baseball and soccer to lacrosse and rugby, even one with a figure skating past, there was no shortage of athletic women.

In shaping the roster, two competitors, Jennifer McLean and Kora-lee Vidal have experience in competitive tackle football. Their teamwork skills and knowledge of the game shall prove invaluable in bringing a strong presence to the locker room.

“Experienced players do a lot for our team and it helps so much.” Neufeld continued, “Having some players who have been through practices in the past, as opposed to a group of girls who have no idea what to do, only adds to the leadership.”

While the final roster is still not in place, some of the players on the team bring tremendous potential to the LFL gridiron. “There are quite a few athletes who can become stars. They will definitely show up and do really well. Tonia Henderson should have a big season, Cheyenne Rusk is another,” remarked Neufeld.

Despite being an expansion team, Neufeld is confident that the Fillies have the ability to contend for a playoff spot. In discussing the elements necessary to qualify for the postseason, he stated, “The team gelling and making sure they pick up their playbooks as soon as they can will be important.”

Although the quarterback situation is not determined at the moment, the level of competition for the position only adds to the excitement of LFL football coming to the city. “Across the board, the reaction to the team is pretty good,” declared Neufeld. With the city of Calgary being selected as the host city for the second annual LFL Canada championship game and awards night, there is certainly a strong vote of confidence.

For Neufeld and his team, the litmus test shall come on opening night. Like any expansion team, winning will make a tremendous impact on the early success of the franchise. In discussing the September 14 match, a feeling of excitement surrounds the entire Fillies organization,

“It is going to be a different experience compared to anything I have done. It will also be a different experience for the girls. There is definitely anticipation and an excitement for it.”

With the announcements that Angela Rypien, Tamar Fennell and Teresa Petruziello were LFL US free agents that joined the club, the potential for the team to win a championship was strong. Regrettably, various factors such as logistics and preparedness shattered the opportunity to compete in 2013. While Calgary fans will have to wait one more season for LFL football, it will likely be well worth it.

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