Series of achievements adds to Adrienne Zuck’s legacy with Regina Riot

Back for her eighth season of Regina Riot football, Adrienne Zuck returns with an amazing sense of momentum. Donning a new number in 2017, adopting 36 over the 24 that she made familiar in Riot red, she is a multi-talented individual whose glories on the gridiron have made her one of the greats in franchise history, she also holds a Master’s Degree in Nursing. Having also experienced the milestone of becoming a mom, Zuck embodies the pioneering and empowering spirit of female football, helping to set a shining example that may encourage the next generation to follow in her football footsteps.

With so many tremendous personal milestones, it complemented an amazing year that saw Zuck reach new pinnacles on the gridiron. In addition to contributing towards the Regina Riot capturing a second WWCFL championship, defeating the Calgary Rage by a 53-0 in the 2017 WWCFL finals (which saw Zuck and Emilie Belanger record quarterback sacks), she was named to Canada’s contingent that competed at the 2017 IFAF Women’s World Football Championships.

Zuck (#36) holding the WWCFL championship trophy after a victory against the Calgary Rage (Image from the Darren Steinke Collection)

Undoubtedly, the jubilation of a championship is one that supplied Zuck with a tremendous confidence. As the Women’s Worlds were being hosted in Langley, British Columbia, marking the first time that Canada served as host country, it was part of an unforgettable season for Zuck, one that already saw her make history twice. With her club team, the Riot, they challenged the Saskatoon Valkyries for the WWCFL’s Prairie Conference crown at iconic Mosaic Stadium, which was the last-ever football game contested in the vaunted venue.

“Going into the (IFAF) World Tournament, coming of a WWCFL championship was like a kick start to the tournament. Being able to share the experience with so many of my home teammates was something special.

I felt like the eight or nine of us knew that hard work win(s) and we were prepared to enter the tournament ready for a battle. It was something special and having a large number of your mates with you through a challenging situation creates confidence towards the unknown.”

Adrienne Zuck (#14) making a tackle versus Team Spain at the 2013 IFAF Women’s Worlds (Image from the Manon Migner collection)

Worth noting, this was the second time that Zuck experienced the thrill of being named to Team Canada, having also donned the Maple Leaf at the 2013 edition of the Worlds. Sharing in the national team experience with multiple teammates from the Riot, including quarterback Aimee Kowalski, Carmen Agar, Claire Dore, Alex Kowalski, Ashley Viklund, plus fellow defensive players Emilie Belanger, Katie Hungle and Artemis Kouropoulou, the club’s philosophy of “Hard Work Wins” definitely served to influence the national team’s culture.

Considering that a large number of participants on the most recent Team Canada having experienced the prestige for the first time, players such as Zuck simultaneously took on both veteran and strong leadership roles. Traditionally a linebacker, Zuck lined up as a defensive back for Team Canada, testament to both her maturity, which embodies the essence of leadership, and her versatility. Possessing the familiarity of competing on the world’s biggest stage for female football, it was a privilege that Zuck accepted as a personal challenge, looking to bring out the best in her teammates.

With countries such as Australia and Mexico making their debuts in the IFAF Worlds, there was the feeling of a shared victory for Zuck, proud to witness history unfolding. The theme of history is one that would also cement Zuck’s international legacy, as Australia’s first-ever game actually took place against Canada.

In action with the Regina Riot (Photo credit: Living Light Photography)

“Compared to the first experience, I would say that I came more skilled and prepared, the team and a whole was more skilled and prepared (too). It was exciting for me as a female football player to see the sport grow and have new countries enter the tournament, showing up ready to rock.”

In spite of the fact that the victorious ambitions were not realized for Canada on home soil, bested by their American rivals for the third straight time in the gold medal game, the belief that a world title is within reach was surely realized. Undoubtedly, there were still many memorable moments that defined this brush with Canadian female sporting history.

As Zuck reflects on this breakthrough moment, it was one that not only reinforced the sense of teamwork, with national pride deeply instilled, it helped to cultivatre confidence while introducing a newfound assurance for the Canadian team that the US is beatable.

“It was true patriot love to represent Canada in Canada and on the 150th celebration. The most memorable moment of the tournament was (the) wait in the tunnel…right before the game…getting pumped and knowing that we can win gold. I truly believe WE CAN WIN GOLD.”

With the proud belief that the women of Canadian football can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the world’s finest, Zuck’s golden outlook has surely set the tone for a proud program. Considering that Regina endured four straight Prairie Conference title game losses before capturing an elusive WWCFL championship, Zuck’s presence on Team Canada was one defined by character and buoyancy. Certainly, it is the type of poise that will enable the Riot to count on this defensive cornerstone for confidence as the challenge of claiming a third championship is the next fait accompli to achieve.

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

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