Among the players of the Western Women’s Canadian Football League who compete on the offensive line, very few are as accomplished as Jessie Buydens. Having won the first two league titles with the Saskatoon Valkyries, Buydens provides a key role for the club’s offense. Her presence on the offensive line is invaluable as the Valkyries have never lost a contest in WWCFL history.
In addition, Buydens is one of the finest players to protect the line of scrimmage in all of Canada. As a member of the Canadian National Team that will compete in the Women’s Tackle Football Championships, it marks the second time that Buydens will compete at the event.
A former student-athlete with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, Buydens was a two-time Canadian Interuniversity Sport Academic All-Canadian and a Huskies First-Team All-Academic. It is a great point of pride for Buydens to see so many Huskies alumni compete with both the Valkyries and with the National Team. Such alumnus includes Carisa Polischuk and Marci Kiselyk, who played Huskies basketball.
“I think it's great that so many elite athletes are getting the chance to continue on with their athletic endeavors by achieving success in a second sport. It has also been very beneficial to the Valkyries to be able to recruit so many players who have an athletic background and the associated skill sets.”
Prior to football, Buydens had a diverse athletic career with rugby, and track and field. Currently, she serves as the North Sask Rugby Union President and is a member of the Saskatchewan Rugby Board of Directors. In addition, she is a registered athlete with the Canadian Sport Centre Saskatchewan.
“Growing up in Saskatchewan I've always been exposed to football. I also watched a lot of local football as my brother played for both the Hilltops and the Huskies. The initial interest in playing came by accident when I was invited to attend Team Canada tryouts in 2010 and then it just grew from there.”
In looking to improve on the silver medal that Canada gained at the 2010 Women’s World Tackle Football Championships, Buydens is working toward a golden redemption. As one of eight players that competed on the 2010 squad, the experiences of the past are a key learning tool heading into the 2013 Worlds.
“Winning the tournament is always the end goal for any team. To win the tournament this year would be a great redemption after our defeat at the World Championship in 2010. This time around we have a better idea of what the competition will be like and hopefully that knowledge will help us to succeed in reaching the ultimate goal.”
As the leader of the Valkyries offensive line, Buydens is proud of the fact that the squad has never allowed a sack in two seasons of WWCFL play. She will be the first to emphasize the importance of the offensive line.
“The offensive line is an integral part of any football team. If you're not able to provide security for the quarterback then it will be difficult for the team to be successful. The Valkyries have had a lot of success offensively because we have a great quarterback and an offensive line that has never allowed a sack. The Valkyries offense is complemented well by our defense. We have great coaching, which means that we're a very well rounded team and are strong both offensively and defensively.”
As the Valkyries look toward the 2013 campaign with the goal of winning a third consecutive WWCFL title, the opportunity to create history is not lost on Buydens.
“It would be great. We were the first team to win the WWCFL title and then we were the first team to win back to back titles. I'd love to be the first team to 'three peat.' The WWCFL is making history and I think the Valkyries organization is very fortunate to be such a big part of that history.”
Perhaps the most impressive fact about the highly accomplished Buydens is that she is also a lawyer. In addition to her work in the legal field, she has also participated in lectures at her alma mater, the University of Saskatchewan. These accomplishments off the field make Buydens a tremendous role model. Despite the great success in her career, Buydens approaches it with humility.
“I don't spend a lot of time thinking about that, it's my job. I really enjoy practicing law and lecturing at the university. I'm very fortunate in that my employers are quite accommodating of my sporting activities.”
Despite her busy schedule, Buydens also engages in charitable work. She serves on the Board for the Core Neigbourhodd Youth Group. In 2003, Buydens won the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for volunteerism with youth in Saskatchewan. As the mother of a son that also participates in sport, her focus on giving back to the community focuses on youngsters. Her ability to reach out in the community is of great reward.
“I do most of my charitable work in youth related areas and I really enjoy seeing the end results. When you can develop and/or implement a program that provides tangible benefits to today's youth it's always a great feeling. I particularly enjoy being involved in my son's sporting activities as I'm able to watch him enjoy and succeed at sport while spending quality time with him and getting to know the friends he has made through sport.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”