Team New Brunswick among Robyn Richardson’s proud milestones

One of the most influential and devoted women in the history of the Maritime Women’s Football League (MWFL), Robyn Richardson has assembled an exceptional body of work, one that simultaneously contributes towards an exceptional time of growth for women’s sport in Atlantic Canada. Gracious and articulate, Richardson has also served in an executive capacity with the MWFL, testament to her remarkable leadership.

Such leadership proved to be invaluable for Richardson as she experienced a new career milestone. As one of the greatest players to grace the gridiron in league history, Richardson’s seemingly never-ending dedication to the game transformed her into an impact player for Team New Brunswick, approaching the 2016 Canadian Nationals with aspirations for a podium finish. As a side note, such a finish would complement her glorious achievement of winning the 2016 SupHer Bowl with the Saint John Storm.

Of note, the Canadian nationals and the opportunity to don Team New Brunswick’s sharp burgundy colors represented one of several proud milestones for Richardson. Traditionally a defensive player, Richardson transitioned to an offensive line position this season, gracing the gridiron for Team New Brunswick in this role. Making such a transition represents Richardson’s team-first approach, defined by her positive attitude, continuously setting a positive example through hard work.

From a personal standpoint, Richardson has also experienced the proud euphoria of becoming a mom. Having given birth to a son, Richardson is now part of a new sorority in female football, a growing number of proud women that have graced the gridiron while happily raising a family.

Proud mom Robyn Richardfson in her Saint John Storm jersey

Proud mom Robyn Richardfson in her Saint John Storm jersey

“I am so thankful that I am able to continue playing football even after becoming a mom last year. It was challenging being a part of two teams this year, Saint John Storm and Team New Brunswick, but luckily I have a lot of support from my family that allowed me to do so. I hope my son will be proud that I never gave up on my goal of competing at Nationals despite its challenges.”

Despite a visceral outcome in the bronze medal game against Team Alberta, which included a valiant comeback effort by New Brunswick, there were many positives to build on. Of note, Olivia DeMerchant established herself as an elite running back, providing the MWFL with an elite franchise player for 2017. With New Brunswick displaying remarkable heart throughout the contest, it proved to be an encouraging output of team effort.

Such effort embodied Richardson’s approach to the game. With Richardson having helped established an exciting foundation for women’s football in Atlantic Canada, working tirelessly towards brining the game to greater heights and perpetual growth, it was only fitting that she was rewarded for her valour and perseverance by being named to the 26-player Women’s National Championship All-Stars. Joining Richardson on the list of players honored as All-Stars included two-time Team Canada alum Alex Black and DeMerchant.

”It was a surprise to have been named to the Women’s National Championship All-Star team, especially as part of the offensive line as I have always considered myself more of a defensive player. I am excited to focus on this position and see how much I can learn and grow before the next try-out.”

Robyn Richardson in action against Team Saskatchewan at the 2016 Nationals (Photo credit: Living Light Fine Art Photography)

Robyn Richardson in action against Team Saskatchewan at the 2016 Nationals (Photo credit: Living Light Fine Art Photography)

Despite the competition for a podium finish, the four teams in the medal round displayed a remarkable show of sportsmanship. As Richardson recalls, the gathering of players from all four teams (Alberta, New Brunswick, Quebec, Saskatchewan), working in collaboration in drills was a treasured moment.

Regardless of which team’s jersey that they donned, competition was not the theme of said drills. Instead, it was a feeling of sisterhood and support, as all players encouraged each other, unified in the sense that all players were stronger when working together.

“My favourite part of Nationals was on the second-to-last day of the tournament when all four teams from across the country came together to go through positional drills. In my defensive line group everyone encouraged one another on no matter what team they were on…it was a great feeling!”

As the next chapter in Richardson’s gridiron journey involves a Team Canada tryout camp in December, part of the preparations in anticipation for the 2017 IFAF Women’s Worlds, there is also a strong sense of Atlantic Pride. Since the inaugural Worlds in 2010 (which featured Team New Brunswick head coach Larry Harlow taking on the road of Canada’s head coach in a silver medal finish), the MWFL has proudly provided a remarkable array of talent.

Undoubtedly, such an influence was evident for Richardson while donning the Team New Brunswick colors. In addition to playing alongside Black and Storm teammate Trina Graves (another two-time Team Canada alum), the New Brunswick coaching staff served as another extension of the proud connection between MWFL and Team Canada.

“Since seeing my coaches Lisa Harlow, Lisa Rogers, and Melissa Daley go off to Worlds for the first ever women’s tournament in 2010 it has always been a dream of mine to one day be on Team Canada. I’m honoured to have been noticed at Nationals this year and it gives me more motivation and determination to work towards that dream.”

”All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

Images supplied by Robyn Richardson


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