Historic win adds to Kessie Stefanyk’s strong legacy with the Lethbridge Steel

Earning a win in her WWCFL coaching debut, Kessie Stefanyk made history twice in one day. From the outset, Stefanyk became the first female head coach in the history of the league. Roaming the sidelines with the Lethbridge Steel, their narrow 7-6 win over the Calgary Rage secure Stefanyk the honor of being the first female head coach to win a WWCFL regular season game.

A former quarterback for the Steel, Stefanyk led the squad to multiple appearances in the WWCFL championship game. With Christina Wipf (returning to the squad after missing 2014 due to maternity leave) inheriting the starting quarterback’s position, the purple and silver are hoping that 2015 shall be the year where they claim the elusive championship.

Also acting as the Steel’s offensive co-ordinator, Stefanyk remains humble about breaking the gender barrier. While she would like to be seen as just a coach, the reality is that she is setting a standard for other women in football to emulate. As a side note, University of Regina Tyler Mantyak alum is joining the Steel as assistant head coach

Perhaps her biggest luxury this season is the amount of players on the squad. In years past, the Steel had some of the lowest number of roster players throughout the WWCFL. It was a situation that Stefanyk was very familiar with, as the Steel overcame many odds to capture the Western Conference championship year after year.

This season, 33 players comprise the season roster. Despite almost half that number consisting of rookies suiting up this season (roster turnover tends to be 50 percent), Stefanyk can depend on key veterans. Players such as Jessica St. Goddard and Donnelly Sellers, who pulls double duty as team President, will be counted upon to provide encouragement and support in what promises to be a landmark season for Stefanyk and the Steel.

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Author: markstaffieri

A proud supporter of women in sport. My influences in covering women's sport include Andria Hunter and Jaclyn Hawkins. Both are former women’s hockey players who created their own websites, providing a deeper insight for their respective sport. Unable to identify with multi-millionaire male athletes, the role of women in sport is one that provides inspiration while preserving the spirit of sportsmanship. My first exposure to women and sport came through Geraldine Heaney and her legendary goal at the 1990 Women's World Hockey Championships. By composing player profiles on women from all sports, it is my opportunity to give back to the female sporting community by showing gratitude for their hard work and effort. While women's hockey opened the door to a larger yet remarkable world of sport, the quantum leap in women's football and global growth of women's basketball have only helped to fuel my interest in the female game. Some of the athletes that I admire include Caroline Ouellette and Natalie Spooner (hockey), Lolo Jones (track), Connie Fekete and Sami Grisafe (football) plus Anne Erler and Heather Furr (LFL football). Other athletes consist of Sue Bird and Katie Smith (basketball) along with Barbara Mervin and Heather Moyse (rugby). In addition to my efforts on WordPress, I have also contributed to Bleacher Report, the Canadian Women's Hockey League, Hockey Canada, LFL Canada and Women's Hockey Life.

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