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.