Queen’s powderpuff football team arrived in Waterloo last Friday looking to defend its title in the 24-team Ontario Powderpuff Tournament, hosted by Wilfred Laurier University.
On Sunday afternoon, the Gaels came out victorious after beating the Waterloo Shockers 14-7 in a dramatic final. Women’s soccer defender Katie Dalziel, one of the team’s cornerbacks, picked up the Gaels’ MVP award.
The Tricolour were represented by a team of 24 players, many varsity athletes in other sports, and coached by football players Jimmy Allin, Devin Sheahan, Blaise Morrison, Pat Corbin and Ross Corley.
Katie McKenna, who stepped out of her role as varsity soccer’s goalkeeper, served as a linebacker and kicker on the day. She’s said she’s played in all five Powderpuff tournaments during her time at Queen’s because it gives her an opportunity to play a sport she doesn’t normally get the chance to play.
“I love it,” she said. “It’s a sport that I never had the chance to play growing up and I really love it. There’s so much aggression and energy.”
McKenna said the team has been preparing for the tournament since the varsity football team’s shocking loss at the hands of the Ottawa GeeGees last fall.
“We started practicing in late October, every Sunday until the tournament,” she said. “We ran a week or two into the exam period, then stopped. As we got closer to the tournament, we squeezed in an extra practice at 7 a.m. on Sunday mornings.”
As for the strength of the team, McKenna put it down to their athleticism.
“Our athleticism sets us apart from other teams,” she said. “We have a lot of varsity athletes. We’re also very strong on both sides of the ball. On offence, we run where most teams throw.”
Though many of the teams competing in the tournament have humourous names, the Shockers and Victorious Secrets being some examples, McKenna said most teams approach powderpuff with tenacity.
“Most teams take it very seriously, although they joke that we take it most seriously of all,” she said. “One of the coach’s dads has a print shop, so we have real jerseys made up. It’s harder to grab a jersey than it is to grab a sweatshirt.”
Although fun, the tournament serves a very important purpose as it acts as a fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Society of Canada. Overall, it brought in $7,150 for cancer research. McKenna said the team raised above the minimum for the cause.
“It cost $350 to enter, plus we collected pledges and donations,” she said. “I don’t know how much extra we collected, but my guess would be well over $200.”
Although this was McKenna’s last powderpuff football tournament, she said she would definitely keep going if she could.
“I’d love to keep playing if the opportunity existed.”
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