MWFL releases 2014 schedule

Excitement builds towards new season

Building on the momentum of a fantastic tenth anniversary season, the Maritime Women’s Football League is prepared to write a new chapter. With the 2014 season schedule released, excitement builds as to whether the Fredericton Lady Gladiators are able to defend their crown and emerge as league champions for a second straight year. As the host for the 2014 playoffs, expectations will be high.

April 26 signifies the start of opening weekend as the Saint John Storm has the honour of hosting the season’s first game. Having hosted the 2013 playoffs, they will look to build towards a run for the title in 2014 after a heartbreak loss in SupHer Bowl X. Hosting the rival Moncton Vipers in the opening game; the Storm will look to start their season with a win.

The Lady Gladiators enter the 2014 season with the loss of Robyn Neill to retirement. A member of Canada’s offensive line during the 2013 IFAF Women’s World Championships, she shall prove to be difficult to replace. The defense of their title begins on the road in Nova Scotia. Competing against a Halifax Xplosion franchise looking to emerge as championship contenders, the first game shall be a crucial test for Halifax.

Home-and-home series comprise Week 2 (May 3) and Week 3 (May 10) of the 2014 campaign. Fans will be treated to a rematch of SupHer Bowl X when the Storm travels to Fredericton on May 3. Of note, the match shall also serve as the home opener for the Lady Glads. The intensity should only increase in the second match on May 10. As that match shall be held in Saint John, site of Super Bowl X, it will mark Fredericton’s first match on the Storm’s turf since the championship game. As it is also the Storm’s home opener, the pressure to win shall only increase.

Geographically, Moncton is the closest opponent for the Halifax Xplosion. Their series begins in Moncton as the Xplosion will be looking to make a statement on the road. With Halifax hosting the Vipers one week afterwards, a home win would be essential for the roster’s morale. As it marks the final game before the bye week, no team wants to have the sting of a loss linger.

Plenty of activity will be evident during the bye week as the weekend of May 17 signifies a landmark moment for the league. A Jamboree shall be hosted in Richelieu, Quebec. The Pirates de Richelieu, a newly formed female football team is going to be on-hand.

League play shall resume on May 24 for all franchises as another pair of home-and-home series comprise Weeks 4 and 5 in the season. The Xplosion shall host the Saint John Storm on May 24. Considering that Saint John is one of the league’s signature franchises, an upset win on home soil would mark a season highlight. One week later, Saint John shall host the Xplosion as playoff seedings will begin to take shape in the standings afterwards.

The May 24-31 series consisting of Fredericton and Moncton could emerge as a series where first place is determined. With Moncton hosting the opening game, a home loss to Fredericton may set a bad tone. As success on the road separates winning teams from losing ones, Fredericton will be looking for the road win as a way of gaining confidence heading into their home date on May 31.

Playoff previews could be highly likely on June 7 as the final weekend of the regular season takes place. Saint John visits Moncton in a match where the winner will likely have a higher seeding. A win shall also serve as a key factor in beginning the push for the playoffs on a strong note. Fredericton enjoys the home field advantage as their regular season closes with a visit from the Halifax Xplosion.

First and second place teams shall host first round games on June 14. Traditionally, home field advantage has been essential in postseason play and this season should be no different. Of note, all four franchises shall be in Fredericton for championship weekend the following week.
The vanquished clubs from the first round of the postseason shall compete in the first match on June 21; the Friendship Bowl. Of note, the 2013 winner of the Bowl was Moncton. The remaining clubs shall compete for the Judy Upward Trophy during SupHer Bowl XI. Of note, this shall not be the final football event in Fredericton for 2014. Before the players hang their cleats for the summer, the second and final jamboree shall take place on June 28, closing out the league’s eleventh season just in time for Canada Day.

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