Longtime Regina Riot competitor Claire Dore walks away a winner

A charter member of the Regina Riot, the second WWCFL championship in the illustrious career of Claire Dore helped bring her career full circle. Making the decision to retire from the game, hanging up her cleats following the championship confrontation with the Calgary Rage, it marked the end of a pioneering career, one that saw Dore helped bring the game to unprecedented heights.

With an athletic background consisting of a broad range of activities, Dore’s decision was far from easy. Influencing such a decision was the physical limitations endured, the mind and body no longer synchronized for peak performance. While Dore shall always remain close to the game, its glories clearly engraved in her memory, the opportunity to walk away from a sport she loved dearly as a champion signifies that rare privilege so few athletes ever experience.

“Playing sports for as many years as I have, retirement has been dictated by age or years of service. In this case, knowing when to retire has not been easy. In the moment of playing sport, it is exhilarating as anything. Yet, it is all the time spent outside of sport to make the body work; that tells you it is time to retire.

There is also a moment when you realize you can contribute in greater ways, in other capacities than as an athlete. Then you know it is time to retire. That time has come for me.”

Among the landmark moments experienced during the 2017 Riot season, there is one that may bring with it more luster than the championship win itself. Having graced the gridiron since the first WWCFL season, Dore remembers vividly the germination of the intense rivalry that would dominate the Prairie Conference for more than a half decade.

As the first team in WWCFL history to defeat the powerhouse Saskatoon Valkyries, occurring in 2015, it represented a turning point in franchise history. Taking into account the lopsided losses suffered against their provincial rivals in those early seasons, a significant sign of how far the Riot has risen took place this season. Of note, the first match between these two Prairie Conference titans 2017 resulted in a 16-0 shutout in favor of the Riot.

“We have had to come a long way from our first year and a 62-2 loss, to this season and a 16-0 win this season. The Valkyries have always been a fierce adversary and for our Riot defense to shutout the formidable Valkyries offense may be landmark to the league. Yet for us, it is a clear indicator of the elite effort our team has put forward.”

The Prairie Conference Championship game represented another chapter in the storied rivalry between the Riot and the Valkyries. With the match taking place at Mosaic Stadium (formerly known as Taylor Field), it held tremendous significance for Dore and all the competitors who graced the gridiron on that day.

While the contest held its own stakes, determining who would capture the Conference Crown, every one played for something bigger. With the Riot and Valkyries participating in the last ever match at Taylor Field, there was a shared sense of history, while adding an amazing luster to the growing history of WWCFL football.

As Dore reflects, the chance to be part of history that way presents more than a lifetime of memories, it represents how far the female game has evolved, holding an important place in Saskatchewan sporting lore,

“Mosaic Stadium is a fierce piece of Saskatchewan history. To have even a small piece of this history is something any part of the Riot can share for a lifetime.

To end Mosaic Stadium’s history on a win, and a win for the home team is a proud piece for the Riot family and for all parts of football in Saskatchewan.”

Handily defeating the upstart Calgary Rage in the challenge for WWCFL supremacy, it allowed Dore the privilege of walking away from the Riot as a champion. While the chance to win a championship in one’s final game represents a pinnacle that so few athletes can ever experience, Dore savored it with great appreciation.

Although the decision was not an easy one for Dore, the outcome of the Riot’s championship victory provided great solace. Seeing how the team’s new crop of young talent, headlined by Game MVP Payton Kushter, made their presence felt, such performances represented a bigger victory. Although the game was certainly an emotional transition, Dore sees only a promising future.

“In all the years I have played Riot football, whether we have won a title or not, I have always felt like part of a passionate program. Being a part of a championship team does not change that, but it does mean that there was not anything for me to leave on the field.

Being able to pass the torch to the future of the Riot is a gift. The future of the Riot is dynamic, energetic and promising. I can only hope that I can be a part of the ongoing growth of the organization.”

Before Dore hangs up her helmet, there is one more facet to her gridiron odyssey. With Canada serving as host country for the 2017 IFAF Women’s World Championships in Vancouver, the chance to compete on the game’s biggest stage on home soil represents an unforgettable milestone.

While players from numerous WWCFL rosters, including the Rage, shall be competing with Team Canada, Dore is quick to recognize that any rivalries shall disappear once everyone wears the red Canadian jersey. With a mutual respect helping to define the team’s culture, she looks at the chance to stand alongside her fellow footballers, regardless of whether they are Rage, Riot or Valkyries players, with a great sense of national pride,

“The opportunity to play with any other women who are dedicated to football is incredible. In a very short time, it is not about the Rage or the Riot, or anything in between.

It is about coming together as Team Canada. Finding our place on the team and representing our country. The Rage has outstanding talent, and playing alongside them, and any members of Team Canada will be an honour.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”


(Thumbnail photo: Clair Dore FB, Living Light – Fine Art Photography)


Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

Leave a Reply