A mainstay in Calgary football, Chris Rudd brings a decade of coaching experience. Helping to coach defense for the Calgary Rage of the Western Women’s Canadian Football League, he helps provide direction to an ambitious roster looking to fulfill its championship dreams.
While the women of the WWCFL are the main attraction, coaches such as Rudd comprise the group of unsung heroes that ensure quality coaching is in place for the fearless-feminine warriors of the gridiron.
“I have been coaching minor football in Calgary for 10 years. Originally, I was with the Calgary Falcons for seven years. I have been with the Rage for three and a half years. (Head coach) Rob Perry asked me to help when they were short a coach on their staff.”
For women new to the sport, competing on the gridiron can present its own series of adjustments. As a coach, it is Rudd’s responsibility to ensure that they are prepared to compete. Having coached both male and female football players, Rudd is quick to acknowledge the energy and enthusiasm that women bring to the game.
“They have so much desire to learn because they could not play this game at a young age. Sometimes it is funny, because when you tell them to do something, they ask why instead of just doing it like 90 percent of guys.”
Seeing the enthusiasm of the players on the Rage, Rudd is highly motivated to help them succeed. As the WWCFL has added two expansion teams (Grande Prairie Northern Anarchy and Okotoks Lady Outlawz), Rudd is excited with the direction that the WWCFL is heading.
As the sport continues to grow, his analysis on the current state of the game draws parallels with the role women’s hockey had a generation ago.
When the IIHF staged the first Women’s World Hockey Championship in 1990, the game was a fringe sport at best. Today, hundreds of thousands of women compete in rinks throughout North America.
Rudd is optimistic that the future may hold a similar outcome for female football.
“I think the league has made great leaps and bounds this year. Adding two teams in our division has been great. I hope more women try football and realize it is 10 times the sport that hockey is."
"The WWCFL is just the beginning. I hope one day that we just have the WCFL (Women's Canadian Football League) and are across this great nation. I know some people will say that it is a pipe dream. Yet, 20 years ago, people thought women's hockey was nothing and look at the press it gets now.”
While the Rage missed qualifying for the postseason by one game, Rudd is still very proud of the effort his players put forth out on the field. When an injury cost one of his players the rest of the season, Rudd was truly impressed at the ability of his team to unite together and play for a fallen teammate. As a coach, it was a satisfying moment that embodied perseverance, teamwork and sportsmanship.
“It is hard to just pick one moment. This team has had some great moments. If I had to pick one, it was seeing the team get stronger as a group after we lost our defensive leader Alana Doyle for the season."
"It was great to see them try to win for Alana. Even though we did not get the results we hoped for, I can say that I have never been more proud of a team in my life. I am truly honored that these great women let me be a part of their lives.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”