Lynne Leclair will join her Mardi Gras touch football teammates in the B.C. Football Hall of Fame. - Michael Briones photo

Meet the women who broke B.C.’s pigskin hall of fame ceiling

Mardi Gras dynasty the first women ever inducted into B.C. Football Hall of Fame

Lynne Leclair will be joining a Mardi Gras parade this weekend.

The Parksville resident will join her Mardi Gras touch football teammates as they become the first women to be inducted into the B.C. Football Hall of Fame. The Vancouver-based Mardi Gras team won six national titles from 1986 to 1991 as well as seven consecutive B.C. championships.

“It’s an amazing honour but I think it’s really deserving,” said Leclair. “We were dedicated. It wasn’t just weekend football. We trained all year round. We took it very seriously to become national level athletes. It was the highest level that women can play football at that time anywhere. We wanted to win championships.”

Leclair was introduced to the sport by a friend in 1983 when Touch Football BC started a women’s league that had 16 teams registered in the Lower Mainland. She was a former student athlete with the Simon Fraser at the time having competed in the sprint distance in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and felt she could play the sport well.

“I was just learning the game when I saw this quarterback, Laura Stewart,” Leclair recalled. “I wanted to play with her. She was just phenomenal. She could fire that football like nobody I have ever seen. I really had good hands and was learning the game. I was a sprinter and was very fast. I said, ‘if I connect with that quarterback, we’re going to score a lot of touchdowns. And we did.”

RELATED: Legendary broadcaster Pascall set to enter B.C. Football Hall of Fame

Being new to the game, Leclair said she was too shy to ask to join the team that had already been playing together for a couple of years.

“It was my husband who approached the coach and he told him, ‘I’ve seen your wife play, we want her,” said Leclair.

Leclair joined the Mardi Gras in 1986, the year they started their dominance in the league. They won their first national titles and five more after. They became a sports dynasty.

“We went on winning like crazy,” said Leclair. “We won six national titles in a row.”

Mardi Gras consisted of members who are accomplished athletes nationally who have had success in other sports such as soccer, basketball, softball, hockey and athletics. LeClair played hockey and rugby. She was a member of Canadian rugby team that competed in the World Cup in 1994 and 1998.

Leclair said she totally fell in love with touch football because there is no tackling.

“Once you’re tagged or touched by a defender, the play is dead,” said Leclair. “So if you have speed and moves, you can evade the defenders and that’s what I really like.”

Leclair, who is already in the B.C. Touch Football Hall of Fame, said to get inducted into the B.C. Football Hall of Fame was a big surprise and huge honour.

RELATED: Island teen faces tough choice between modelling, football

She will be part of the presentation during Saturday’s CFL game in Vancouver between the B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts. Also being elected is local resident Bernie Pascall, who will also be inducted into the B.C. Football Hall of Fame for his contribution to the sport as a commentator on CFL telecasts over five decades.

Members of the Mardi Gras who will be inducted include: Devona Adams, Miekel Aichele, Berni Batchelor, Andrea Brauner, Marla Britton, Cathy Bultitude, Cori Campbell, Tiffany Chester, Laura Houle, Debbie Huband, Annie Hutchinson, Lynne Leclair, Monique Lizee, Trudy Lyons, Diane Materi, Robyn McDonald, Cathy Morgan, Calli O’Brien, Debbie Osborne, Diane Perry, Sharon Staples, Laura Stewart, Dawn Storey-Gray, Bett Watt, Cindy Whieldon and coach Mike Millar.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

Like Us

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

COVID on Central Coast prompts call for information sharing

At least four cases have been identified on the central coast

NAALS receives funding for new child care centre

This project incorporates a longhouse design and reflects a Nuxalk architectural approach.

Lorena Draney celebrates 100th birthday in Bella Coola

She still knows how to enjoy a good party!

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Most Read