Over the course of the last week, an interesting topic has circulated in the city of Saskatoon. Saskatoon has had a history of upstart sporting leagues dropping franchises into the city, and some have been successful (for a time) while others have been complete failures. The list is quite long and starts way back in the 1970s when Bill Hunter, hockey aficionado and promoter, bought the St. Louis Blues and tried moving them to Saskatoon. At the time the NHL board of governors voted against the move.
Since then there’s been the Continental Hockey League that never got off the ground. Basketball has come into the city in the form of the Saskatoon Slam, Saskatchewan Storm and the Saskatchewan Hawks. Baseball even made an appearance here, as several semi pro leagues tried starting up, all the while the Saskatoon Yellowjackets kept plugging away.
Now, the city, along with management of the Credit Union Centre which is home to the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, are trying to attract another league into the city. But this league is different than the others. While the others have all been male dominated sports, this is a female “sport”. Though many don’t want it, and others say why do we need it when we already have a proper women’s football team.
This “sport” is the Lingerie Football League. Women’s football where the players wear revealing uniforms and pads along with hockey helmets (not football helmets) with full face shields. Members of the Affiinity Credit Union, which has naming rights of the arena where the LFL team would play, are not happy.
There’s out cry that it’s nothing more than the sexualization and objectification of women. And I tend to agree with that side of things. Canadian University Press has already stated that this is the sexualization of violence, because football is, as Chris Schultz from TSN says, controlled and violent chaos.
Meanwhile, Saskatoon already has a women’s football team, and are champions of the 2011 Women’s Western Canadian Football League. The league consists of 7 teams, and other cities across the west are interested in starting teams. There has even been interest in Eastern Canada for an eastern league, and winners of east and west would play in a national championship game. To date, the teams include the afforementioned Valkyries, the Regina Riot, the Manitoba Fearless, the Winnipeg Wolf Pack, the Calgary Rage, the Lethbridge Steel, and the Edmonton Storm.
The Saskatoon Valkyries are a legitimate football team. They play full contact, observe the rules of the Canadian game (110 yard long fields, 65 yards wide, 12 players per side, three downs) and have a lot of fun doing it too. Maybe in the future development of women’s football programs can be looked at like the development of women’s hockey. Who knows, maybe in a few years there might be a women’s version of Canadian Inter-university Sport’s Vanier Cup.
But right now, any steps forward in progression thanks to groups like the Women’s Western Football League will only get set back thanks to groups like the Lingerie Football League.
- LFL comes to Credit Union Centre (cucsk.wordpress.com)