Xplosion building block

Rookie sensation Ikeda a key building block for future of Xplosion franchise

Having finished her rookie campaign with the Halifax Xplosion, Dianne Ikeda proved to be a key addition to the franchise. With goals of competing for a championship in the near future, Ikeda is an integral component of such ambition. While she has a love of the gridiron, Ikeda is also a highly accomplished hockey referee in the Halifax area.

A tireless worker, her efforts paid remarkable dividends. In addition to be named an MWFL Defensive All-Star, she also earned the Xplosion’s Defensive Player of the Year Award. Having grown up in Manitoba and attended university in Calgary, her love of football was cultivated at a young age.

“My interest in football came from when I was little. I grew up playing sports with the boys (hockey and baseball in particular) and my parents always watched the CFL. I remember being little and watching football with my parents and constantly saying “I want to play!”, but I never had the opportunity, plus I thought I was too small to play a sport like that with boys twice my size.”

Of note, the Maritime Women’s Football League was not Ikeda’s initial exposure to women’s football. With her residence in Calgary a few years ago, she was introduced to the Calgary Rockies of the former Western Canadian Female Football League (now known as the WWCFL).

“My first season in the MWFL was great. I had played in Calgary with the Calgary Rockies (now the Calgary Rage), but got injured on the first play of my first game, so I was extremely upset that year that I could not live out my dream of playing tackle football.

So moving to Halifax, where I had another opportunity was so exciting. Playing with this team and being a key part of the defense was so much fun. Making multiple tackles each game, scoring a defensive touchdown, being named as a MWFL Defensive All-Star and being named our team’s Defensive Player of the Year were all dreams come true.”

As a rookie, she was part of two exciting events in Halifax franchise history. From the outset, she had the opportunity to compete in the MWFL’s Tenth Anniversary Season, a tremendous milestone for the league. In addition, she also made history by competing in the first indoor game in league history. As the game was held indoors due to inclement weather, she keeps the moment in perspective.

“Playing in the first indoor game in league history honestly was not a huge standout part of my season. To me it was just another game. It was great to be able to play indoors on that day since it was hurricane-like weather and I would not have wanted to play outside. Yet a game is a game, and I will play my best regardless of the location we are in.”

One of the highlights of the franchise’s off-season was marching in the Halifax Pride Parade. Ikeda was one of several Xplosion members that proudly participated in the Pride Parade. Not only was it a great team building event, but a tremendous landmark moment in franchise history.

“I am very proud of our team for being involved in the community and supporting the LGBT community. I think it is important for us to get involved to get our name out there and find more recruits for future years and to let everyone know that we are an accepting and open team where every person is welcomed and taken under our wing.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

Photo credit: ADRIEN VECZAN, Halifax Chronicle

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