New gridiron chapter

Halifax Xplosion great Arthur embarks on new adventure

Among the strong women that have helped put female football on the map in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Holly Arthur was a tireless worker whose efforts on and off the field helped strengthen the role of women’s sports in the Maritime city. After five years with the franchise, Arthur made the visceral decision to move with her family across the country to Alberta.

Although the budding franchise may have struggled in the standings, the strong sense of friendship and family served as its backbone. It was something that Arthur fondly reflects on with a sense of pride,

“The thing I enjoyed most about my 5 years playing for the Xplosion was the people! There was just such a good group of girls with such big hearts. Even though we were not the best team in the league, everyone tried their best and supported each other both on and off the field.”

Teammate Lyndsay Corbin had a special connection to Arthur. As a relationship developed between Arthur and her brother, it forged an unbreakable bond of friendship on the gridiron, reinforcing the theme of strong friendship that defined the Xplosion.

“What I enjoyed most about playing with Holly….. I guess I would have to say spending the time with her. It really allowed us to get to know each other better and become closer. It is one thing to see your brother’s girlfriend at family events, it is totally different to be able to tackle her for fun (smiles).”

An MWFL All-Star selection in 2010, Arthur’s work ethic and commitment would pay positive dividends two years later. Among the Canadian female football elite participating at the 2012 National Challenge Cup in Laval, Quebec, she played alongside fellow MWFL stars on Team Atlantic, with the number 8 proudly adorning her jersey, whose bright gold jerseys and teal blue lettering shone with pride.

Team Atlantic obtained from Football Canada facebook page

Team Atlantic obtained from Football Canada facebook page

One of Arthur’s greatest legacies off the field was helping to organize the Xplosion’s involvement in the 2013 Halifax Pride Parade, which supported a noble cause, while helping raise the team’s profile. In reflecting on her favorite moment with the franchise, it stood out as the one she treasured the most,

“It is hard to pick just one favourite moment with the team, we had so many great ones together. Between our long drives to games, team and league events and fundraising there was no shortage of laughs.

My favourite moment was our attendance in last year’s Pride Parade. Unfortunately, I was in the process of moving during this year’s parade but last year was our first time in the parade. It was such a fun community event. We had a blast attending and it was great to get our name out there as well.”

Her organizational skills and off-field commitment were part of a remarkable poise that made an impression on Tasha McMaster. An MWFL All-Star selection in 2012, McMaster is the heartbeat of the team’s administrative functions. Proudly contributing to the team in numerous capacities, McMaster looks back fondly on Arthur’s presence,

“For someone who was small in size, she had a huge presence on the team. Holly was my “partner in crime” on the exec for the last few seasons and I could always count on her help. She fits into the small but mighty category! Holly has a big heart and makes big hits (smiles).”

While Arthur looks towards the next chapter, there is a strong feeling of optimism that accompanies it. The first aspect involves the possibility of continuing her football career in the Western Women’s Canadian Football League. Of note, Ferne Lavers once played for the MWFL and is currently a member of the Calgary Rage. It is a path that Arthur may emulate, “Now that I have moved to Calgary I am hoping my work schedule will allow me to continue in this great sport and play for the Calgary Rage.”

Although Corbin will miss being to call Arthur her teammate, she is happy to see her take a bold step, “I was actually very excited that we (myself, my husband and brother) were able to convince her to make the move. It was total selfishness (smiles). I am hoping that we will once again be able to play football together,”

There is no question that the Xplosion in 2015 will not be the same without Holly Arthur. As the club continues to work towards accomplishing its championship dreams, her role as a female football pioneer in Nova Scotia will certainly not be forgotten. McMaster comments on what she will miss most, “What I will miss is most is her big personality and her help! She will missed greatly on and off the field!”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

Photo credits: Halifax Pride Parade by Ashley Humboldt Photography
Team Atlantic image obtained from Football Canada facebook page

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