Saskatoon Valkyries prepared for championship Saturday at SMF Subject – Saskatoon

The pandemic halted the Saskatoon Valkyries’ run as the Western Women’s Canadian Football League’s most dominant franchise.

However, after two years without league play the Valkyries are back and better than ever.

The team rode a perfect 6-0 record through the regular season and playoffs to qualify for Saturday’s league championship game as the squad looks to collect its league record seventh title.

“It’s really exciting,” head coach Pat Barry admitted. “You look forward to these moments, a championship game at home — it’s pretty special. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

“I’m not sure what to expect,” defensive back Makayla Sader added. “But, we’ve played them once already so we’ve kind of got a little under our belts, but it’s going to be a super fun game.”

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“The anticipation is definitely growing,” veteran linebacker Emmarae Dale beamed. “We’re super excited because we’re coming off of COVID years and we’re just ready to hit the ground running.”

Being the most decorated team in the league, the Valkyries are no strangers to playing at their best when the stakes are highest. However, this year’s title bout brings with it challenges that most players on the team have never faced.

Playing for the championship on their home field is something the franchise hasn’t done in eight years.

“2014, my first year with the club, so it’s been a long time,” Barry recalled. “It’s pretty exciting to have a chance to win your last football game; (it’s) quite rare.”

“The word you used was ‘perfect’. It’s electric,” Dale echoed. “I think having the opportunity at home, having all of our friends and family here, it’s definitely special because I’ve only ever been on the road when we’ve (won).”

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The Valkyries are set to face the Manitoba Fearless in the championship game, a team that they thumped handily 43-14 back in week one in early May.

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However, the Fearless have gone undefeated since that season-opening loss, and the Valkyries aren’t taking them lightly.

“You can’t disregard the growth that they’ve had this season. They’re definitely a strong team, probably the strongest they’ve been in years,” Dale said.

“We could tell in (week one) that they’re a very talented team, they played for the entire 60 minutes,” Barry added. “They have some very talented players that we make sure that we’re ready for.”

Kickoff is set for 7 pm Saturday at SMF Field.

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