Carly Dyck’s career reaches new heights with double gold

Among a rare group of women to have played in both the Prairie and Western Conferences in the Western Women’s Canadian Football League (WWCFL), Carly Dyck is a distinguished competitor who has contributed to a pioneering era for female football. In a career where she has established herself as one of the WWCFL’s premier kickers, while showing tremendous versatility as a wide receiver, 2016 has proven to be the year that Dyck has risen to an unprecedented pinnacle.

In her second season with the Saskatoon Valkyries, Dyck contributed to a historic outcome in league lore. Scoring a touchdown in the WWCFL championship game against the Edmonton Storm, an 81-0 final, Dyck experienced the euphoria of her first championship, while the Valkyries became the first franchise to win five titles.

Carly Dyke

“Winning the league championship is what I have been working towards since my very first season of football, and after going four years without winning it almost didn’t seem real. I am so blessed to be a part of a team that deserves to earn a championship title. I love my team, and I’m so grateful to have been a part of our victory this year.”

Following such a proud achievement, Dyck was recruited to compete with Team Saskatchewan at the Canadian Women’s National Championship. Competing as a kicker and receiver for the team, Dyck would deliver on all accounts as Saskatchewan captured its first national championship.

Dyck would score 12 points in the national championship game, highlighted by a 79-yard receiving touchdown from Aimee Kowalski in the second quarter. As a side note, Kowalski and Dyck connected for a 55-yard scoring pass in the semifinals against Team New Brunswick. Along with Valkyries teammate Samantha Matheson, who would also record 12 points for Team Saskatchewan, who also served as host province for the event, their collective efforts were crucial in propelling the team to a 34-22 triumph against a highly competitive Team Quebec, consisting of many players from the IWFL’s Montreal Blitz.

While home field advantage added to the sense of achievement and euphoria for Team Saskatchewan at the national championships, the 2016 WWCFL championship game supplied a unique sense of home field advantage for Dyck. Of note, the WWCFL championship game was hosted in Lethbridge, Alberta, home of the Western Conference’s Steel.

Having spent the first three seasons of her WWCFL career with the Steel, it was the team where Dyck first established herself as an elite competitor, appearing in the 2013 WWCFL championship game.
Surrounded by many other strong women that would be her mentors, those formative years with the Steel not only helped shape her confidence, it was the introduction to an intriguing chapter in female sporting Canadiana. Undoubtedly, the Steel shall always hold a special place in her heart and to be able to return to the scene of so many of her initial gridiron glories represented a special homecoming, bringing her career full circle,

“I was happy to just get to play another game of football, happy to be home to see my family and friends, happy to play on my home field, and extremely happy to be kicking with the Lethbridge wind at my back. I received many hugs and hellos from my former teammates and coaches of the Lethbridge Steel, and I think they were all rooting for us to win, so that was really heart warming.”

As meaningful as capturing an elusive WWCFL championship meant to Dyck, joining a rare sorority of gridiron goddesses that have appeared in a WWCFL final with two different teams, there was another unique element that enriched her glorious return to Lethbridge. Having kicked one of the longest field goals in league history as a member of the Steel, the field at Lethbridge would allow Dyck to experience a proud personal milestone, embodying the empowerment of the game,

“My favorite moment of the season actually happened in our Specialists warm-up on the day of the championship game, before the majority of my team had even stepped on the field yet. I had been talking quite a bit about how windy it is in Lethbridge, and how the wind there always made me feel like a much better kicker than I actually am. I suppose my coaches wanted to see how much the wind-aid would do for me, so I was told to back up to the 47-yard line during field goal practice.

My first attempt was a little to the left, which is not uncommon for me, but had enough air under it to reach the uprights. Coach HB said to go again, so I grinned and lined up for attempt number two. I put my plant foot beside the ball; three steps backs, two over, took a breath; looked at the uprights, looked at my holder, nodded, watched the snap, and then boom! And it went in! I could not believe it.

Saskatoon Valkyries 2016

That was definitely the happiest moment of my entire season this year. I wanted to hug everyone after I saw it sail between the uprights. I wish I believed in myself as much as my coaches do, year after year, both teams that I have been on has had coaches that truly believed in me and helped make me a better football player. I hope they know how much I appreciate their support.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

Photo credit: Darren Steinke

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