RIOT SHUT OUT VALKYRIES IN FIRST MEETING

It was a cold evening in Saskatoon on Saturday, May 13th, but the action on the field was red hot as the Regina Riot took on the defending WWCFL champion Saskatoon Valkyries. It was the first of two meetings this season between the rivals, a series that could decide home-field advantage in the WWCFL playoffs.

It was a tightly contested game throughout, but in the end Regina came home with a 16-0 shut out victory. It was the first time in league history that the Saskatoon Valkyries finished a game without scoring a single point. It was the second straight shut out that Regina has recorded this season.

“The defense focuses on playing with confidence and being well prepared,” said Riot defensive coordinator Morgan Bunce. “The players made big plays when it counted most. The effort on and off the field this past week really shows the player’s dedication to the team.”

Head Coach Olivier Eddie gave some perspective on the Riot’s offensive performance, noting that the team gained over 400 yards on that side of the ball. “You expect to produce more than 16 points when you do that,” said Eddie. “We made a couple of crucial mistakes in the red zone that allowed them to stay in the game. We have to do a better job of capitalizing and taking the pressure off of our defense.”

With the victory, the Riot have taken a 4-2 series lead over their last 6 matchups with the Valkyries, further solidifying the Riot’s entry into the elite of Canadian women’s tackle football. The rematch takes place next week in Regina, but home field advantage provides no guarantees.

“Neither Saskatoon nor Regina has swept the home and home series since 2014” said Coach Eddie after the game. “That’s how evenly matched these two teams are.”

When asked what the key is to changing that trend, the head coach emphasized avoiding complacency. Bunce added, “We know each week will be a greater test than the week before. We’ll adjust our game plan to correct any issues and continue to work on building our fundamental techniques.”

The rematch takes places on Sunday, May 21st at Historic Mosaic Stadium. Kickoff is at 7:30pm. It is the Riot’s 3rd Annual Teal Game, in support of the Ovarian Cancer Society. Tickets are available online at the Regina Riot website.

Riot Roll Past Fearless, Look Towards Valkyries Double-Header

May 7th has come and gone, and with it another season of Regina Riot football has officially gotten under way. Let’s take a look back at what happened last weekend, as well as look forward at what challenges face the Riot over the upcoming weeks.

 

WEEK 1 RECAP

The Riot kicked off the regular season at home this past Sunday, when the visiting Manitoba Fearless visited Historic Mosaic Stadium. It was great day for football (they all are, aren’t they?) with a bit of wind being the only possible complaint. The Riot matched these great conditions with an even better performance, defeating the Fearless by a score of 41-0.

The day’s events began with a special tribute to Paige Mitchell, a former Riot player who passed away suddenly in the fall of 2016. In honour of her memory, team members who played with Paige presented the Mitchell family with Paige’s former game jersey. It was also announced that Paige’s #79 will be retired by the Riot going forward. It was a touching tribute, which also included a musical performance of one Paige’s favourite songs, “Hey Jude”.

Following the pre-game ceremony, the Riot took to the field for the first time in their new uniforms. Adding to the excitement of the new jerseys was the home crowd. “It was great for us to get out there and play in front of our home fans for the first time this year” said Head Coach Olivier Eddie following the game. “Seeing how large the crowd was and how involved they were with the game was a great positive for us. It means a lot to our athletes to see this kind of community support.”

It didn’t take long after the opening kickoff for the Riot to take the lead, one which they wouldn’t relinquish for the duration of the contest. “We started off very explosively and put points on the board fast” said Eddie. “It helped us control the game from the onset.”

Particularly impressive was the Riot defense, who posted a shutout in the victory. “We were relentless and really got after their Quarterback” said the first year Head Coach. “This allowed us to snag four interceptions. Anytime you play defense like that, good things are bound to happen.”

 

WEEK 2 PREVIEW

Next on the docket for the Riot is a trip to Saskatoon on Saturday, May 13th to challenge the defending WWCFL champion Saskatoon Valkyries. This is the first in a back-to-back series with the Riot’s fiercest rival, as the series will return to Regina for a rematch on Sunday, May 21st.

The Valkyries and Riot have become the premier western Canadian women’s football teams over the years, with Saskatoon in particular earning five WWCFL championships since the league’s inception. The Riot, meanwhile, have shown steady improvement over the past number of years, on the way to putting together their own championship season in 2015. Despite the disparity in championships, the series has been more even as of late, with a 3-3 split between the two teams over the past three seasons.

The Riot recognizes that these games with the Valkyries are important in playoff seeding, and plan to prepare accordingly. “We have a short week of practice this week, so it will be important for us to be diligent in order to be prepared for Saturday night.”

The action starts this Saturday, May 13th in Saskatoon at SMF Field. Kickoff time for the game is at 7:00pm.

Week 1 Preview

After 10 long months, which have included a grueling training camp and a pre-season road trip, it has finally arrived. The Regina Riot will open their regular season this Sunday afternoon at Historic Mosaic Stadium when the visiting Manitoba Fearless come to town. Let’s take a little look at how we got here:

 

TRAINING CAMP

After months of offseason training, the Riot finally took the field for training camp on April 19th. Practicing for four days at Historic Mosaic Stadium, this was the first opportunity for the team to get the pads on and participate in some full contact drills.

“We had a very successful training camp, where veterans and rookies alike got a chance to scrimmage and show off their skills” said first year Head Coach Olivier Eddie. “The staff is pleased with the progress of the team so far. It was exciting to see a second year player like receiver Kyla Krenbrick take what she learned last year and have an explosive camp.” Eddie noted that defensive lineman Ashleigh Henrion also put together strong camp.

Perhaps the most important news coming out of training camp, however, was the lack of injuries. “Anytime that you’re able to get through camp without any injuries, that starts the season on a positive note.”

 

PRESEASON GAME

On Saturday, April 29th, the Regina Riot travelled to Brandon, MB to play a neutral field pre-season game against their Week 1 opponent, the Manitoba Fearless. The final result of the game saw the Riot walking away with a 55-7 victory.

“The Fearless were great hosts to us in Brandon” said Coach Olivier. “It was an excellent opportunity for the staff to evaluate players, and we were generally pleased with what we saw.”

Mallory Starkey and Chantal Vogel, both returners to the team this year, contributed on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, respectively. Speaking about the two, Olivier mentioned how important he thought it was that they set the tone early. “We’re expecting the same thing from them next weekend in the home opener.”

 

HOME OPENER

And so, we’ve arrived at the regular season. While fans look forward to the opening kickoff of every Riot season, this year does bring a little extra excitement. And a lot of that excitement is surrounding the team’s new uniforms.

“The jerseys look great” confessed the Head Coach. “And as cliché as it sounds, I think looking good is going to help the team perform at a higher level.” Explaining his comments further, Eddie went on to say, “The jerseys are sleek and comfortable. There won’t be any more dragging our players down by the stretch of our jerseys. These are the real deal.”

But it’s not all about the jerseys. Eddie believes the team is ready for regular season action. “We’re having a good week of practice, and our athletes are confident going into the home opener. Our staff has been putting in a lot of hard work as well, and I’m exciting for it all to be put on full display this weekend.”

It all happens this Sunday afternoon at Historic Mosaic Stadium. Kickoff between the Riot and the visiting Manitoba Fearless will happen at 1:00pm, but if you’re planning on attending make sure to arrive early for the special pre-game ceremony, which will include the unveiling of the new uniforms.

Tickets for the game are available online at our website or at the door.

Coaching Staff in Place for 2017

As the regular season continues to inch closer, the Regina Riot have finalized their coaching staff for 2017. With the retirement of former Head Coach Shawn McCall, there was the potential for significant turnover with this year’s staff. Former Offensive Coordinator and new Head Coach Olivier Eddie was able to prevent that from happening.

“Continuity with the coaching staff is important and always tells a positive story,” says Eddie. “Having 7 returning coaches shows that we are a committed group. It allows us to continue to build on what has been a great success story for our team the past two years.”

While the majority of the staff remains unchanged, there will be some new faces roaming the sideline this year. New members of the Riot coaching staff are Co-Offensive Coordinator Jeff Bolen, Running Back Coach Dillon Dawson & Defensive Line Coach Brent Blakley. The three bring with them a wealth of previous coaching knowledge at the CJFL and High School level.

“Bringing in 3 new coaches will help us grow this team” says the new Head Coach. “Fresh perspectives are important as it helps us to avoid complacency.”

With the addition of Bolen, Dawson & Blakley, the Riot now have an individual position coach for each area of their roster, something Eddie feels is very important to the development of another championship team.

“As a Head Coach, you try to surround yourself with people that can bring a skill set that you don’t have to the group,” says Eddie. “I think this group of coaches does just that.”

 

The full list of this year’s coaching staff is as follows:

Head Coach/Co-Offensive Coordinator – Olivier Eddie

Co-Offensive Coordinator – Jeff Bolen

Defensive Coordinator – Morgan Bunce

Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator – Brenden Bennett

Quarterback Coach – JD Mack

Running Back Coach – Dillon Dawson

Receiver Coach – Thomas Retzlaff

Defensive Line Coach – Brent Blakley

Linebacker Coach – Rob Pyne

Defensive Back Coach/Special Teams Coordinator – Kris Hadesbeck

Riot Recruiting Class Taking Shape

A busy offseason is coming to a close, and with it the Regina Riot’s 2017 recruiting class is coming together. Head Coach Olivier Eddie, who took over the position from the retiring Shawn McCall in February but had served as Offensive Coordinator and Special Teams Coordinator previously, has been busy working with his staff to bring in the best prospects available. This year that included adding some recruits from less-than-conventional recruiting areas, including a few from out-of-province.

“We were fortunate enough to host the 2016 Women’s National Championship in Regina this past summer” said Coach Eddie, speaking about the recruiting process. “During the championship, we were able to build relationships with coaches and players from other teams in the tournament. Afterwards, we ended up fielding multiple calls from athletes in other regions.”

This lead to the Riot landing two key recruits – Megan Lowry from Guelph, ON, as well as Emilie Belanger from Montreal, QC. “When someone calls and says they want to move across the country to play for you, what else can you say but, ‘yes’” said Eddie. Belanger is a two-time Team Quebec athlete and two-time Team Canada athlete in women’s football, who also played rugby at the University of Concordia. Lowry is also a former rugby athlete, playing for the University of Guelph and as a member of Team Canada.

The Riot also landed many new recruits from closer to home. This list includes numerous U-Sports (formally CIS) athletes, as well two recruits from in-province rival Saskatoon Valkyries. “These are exactly the type of athletes that we aim for,” said Coach Eddie, when describing his ideal recruit. “We want women who have played at a high level and understand the level of commitment it takes to become elite.”

While there are many fresh faces in this year’s recruiting class, the Riot are also happy to welcome back some more familiar names. Adrienne Zuck, Angie Douville, Bonnie Riffel & Ashleigh Henrion are all returning to the team after taking some time off to fulfill other commitments. “Welcoming back four veterans who missed the 2016 season is going to make a significant difference for us,” said Eddie. “They add to an impressive list of returning players, and the depth this creates allows us to elevate the way we operate.”

 

The full list of recruits to date, in alphabetical order, is as follows:

Emilie Belanger

Aly Bell

Jylelle Carpenter-Boesch

Jennilea Coppola

Stacey Dolter

Angie Douville

Tasleigh Dutchyshen

Kelsie Graham

Savanna Haniak

Ashleigh Henrion

Karlie Jackson

Jenna Koller

Caitlynn Lovett

Megan Lowry

Megan Onstad

Keisha Pelletier

Bonnie Riffel

Kelly Shackleton

Robin Schchyschuk

Adrienne Zuck

 

If you’re a current or former female athlete interested in playing for the Riot this year, it’s not too late. Connect with us by going to the Contact page on our website and sending a message, and we’ll be sure to tell you when and how to try out.