Hope Jordens joins sensational sorority of receivers with pair of championship rings

Hailing from Regina, Hope Jordens has emerged as a local hero for the Regina Riot. With TJ ATM proudly serving as her season sponsor, she has blossomed into one of the key components of the Riot’s passing game, simultaneously extending a fascinating, yet empowering journey in the game.

Played flag football from 2013-16 in the Regina Youth Flag Football system, along with a season with the Regina Mounties minor football program, Jordens also excelled on the hardcourt, competing in varsity basketball during high school. During those formative years, Jordens joined the Riot at the tender age of 16, while still a student.

Running parallel to her time in the Riot colours, Jordens also played tackle football at the high school level. In 2016, she graced the gridiron with Campbell Collegiate. The following year, she not only suited up for Caronport High School, she also served as the Girls Flag Football Coach for Campbell, establishing a solid sporting legacy of gridiron greatness.

In her third season with the Riot, the youthful Jordens was certainly among the leaders of the receiving squad. With four seasons of service, Rachelle Smith, the pride of Abernathy, Saskatchewan, plus Team Canada alum Alex Kowalski, among a rare handful of players with six years of service, comprised the only receivers with more experience than Jordens. Certainly, the combination of Jordens, Kowalski and Smith provided leadership through example, inspiring the other four receivers on the Riot to reach their own ambitions.

Undoubtedly, Jordens’ best performance this season was the WWCFL championship game. Prior to opening kickoff of the prior championship game, Jordens was privileged to participate in the club’s pregame ritual. Along with Payton Kuster, they followed behind Claire Dore, carrying the team flags as enthusiastically Dore led the team out onto the field.

Gaining the opportunity to make key contributions in the 2018 edition of the championship certainly signified how far Jordens had come since the last. From the outset, there was the historical context that defined it as the game of a lifetime for all players involved. With a new playoff format introduced, the traditional Conference Championship games were replaced by an inter-conference format.

The WWCFL’s biggest stage resulted in the top two clubs from the Prairie Conference opposing each other for bragging rights. With the Riot facing their archrivals, the Saskatoon Valkyries, for the eighth consecutive postseason, there was a higher level of intensity as the first-ever All-Saskatchewan Final saw both teams highly motivated to emerge victorious.

“It was really cool to be a part of that; it put the pressure on to win just a little bit more. This year our team took part in making a lot of history for not only the league but our team franchise as well. It is cool to know that we left our mark.”

Amasssing several first downs in the championship game, Jordens emerged as a key component in the Riot’s remarkable come from behind victory. Along with Carmen Agar, both combined to keep the Riot’s offense moving efficiently in the first half, supplying the opportunity to remain within reach.

Of note, Jordens made three key receptions that resulted in first downs each time. Displaying a remarkable dependability, Jordens shone in the second quarter. After an interception by Amanda Tafelmeyer, which proved to be one of the game’s defining plays, the offense marched into the end zone as Mallory Starkey scored the Riot’s first touchdown of the game.

During the possession, Jordens crucial reception placed the Riot on the Valkyries 25-yard line, inching closer to the red zone. With the Valkyries punting with 41 seconds remaining in the half, Jordens was crucial in maintaining the Riot’s confidence.

As time ticked away, Jordens caught a pass from Kowalski with 19 seconds left, placing the Riot at centre field. A successive pass was then pitched to Starkey, grabbing a third straight first down for the Riot. Despite an incomplete pass ending the first half, there was a strong sense that the Riot offense would become even more productive as the game progressed.

Emerging victorious against the Valkyries in a 14-10 final, Jordens’ contributions made the jubilation of winning the title that much sweeter. Although she remains humble in reflection, quick to acknowledge the entire team effort involved, she holds the potential to become a key player in the seasons to come.

“I think winning the title whether I got the first downs or not is still amazing. While the stats may say that I got a few first downs, it was 100% a team effort, as everyone on the field had to do their job in order for us to be successful. I think the fact that everyone had a part in it is what makes winning the title so much better as we all worked very hard this season to achieve this goal.”

While fellow receiver Alex Kowalski serves as a role model for Jordens, there is another member of the Kowalski family just as prevalent in her football odyssey. Alex’s older sister, Aimee, is not only the Riot’s quarterback, she has also enjoyed the opportunity to compete for Team Canada at the IFAF Worlds.

Among the marquee players of the WWCFL, and the Riot’s franchise player, Aimee has allowed Jordens to develop her confidence. Feeling a tremendous sense of pride, understanding the privilege of progressing into a highly effective receiver under the guidance of such an accomplished signal caller, it embodies the team philosophy of how hard work pays off. In discussing the opportunity to play with such an iconic player, she is quick to point out how it has provided her with the motivation to be a better player on offense, developing an assiduous approach,

“It definitely does for me, I want to be the best that I can be, and being on such an elite team with so many elite players, it really pushes me because you can see your hard work pay off and the places it can get you. As well, for me personally I do not want to disappoint my teammate, so that also pushes me to get into my playbook, know my assignments and put in the time.”

Besides the championship, there was another point of pride that made the 2018 season one that shall be savored in the years to come for Jordens. Reflecting on a key milestone in her young Riot career, it was also an indication of her commitment to continued improvement, an apt pupil determined to learn to find ways to perfect her game while giving her team further opportunities to excel on the gridiron.

Gaining her first touchdown of the season was one that brought with it an essence of redemption. Throughout game preparations, Jordens struggled with the slant route. Used primarily in pro football’s innovative West Coast Offense, the pattern sees the receiver run up the field at an angle of 45 degrees.

Such strategy attempts to exploit the gap between the defensive linemen and the linebackers, especially if the defensive backs are positioned further behind, enabling for a quick pass. As Jordens details, the feeling of unease, knowing the slant would be called in the game, quickly dissipated, serving to boost her confidence,

“Getting my first touchdown was really exciting for me, as that week in practice I had not been catching slants very well. So, I was nervous when the play got signaled in and knew that I had to run a slant.

The ball came to me and I made the catch, a few yards short of the goal line. I was determined to make it in and when I got up and saw my teammates coming to celebrate the touchdown, I was so excited!”

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“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

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