The Fort McMurray Monarchs are preparing for one of the biggest games in franchise history.
This Saturday they will be traveling to Red Deer to meet the Central Alberta Buccaneers in the championship game of the Alberta Football League.
“We’re pretty excited, we put in a lot of hard work in to this over the past two years and to reach the championship two years in a row it’s gratifying,” said Head Coach, Dave Spence.
Last season, the team made the championship game only to lose to the Calgary Gators 37-24. This year they got their revenge with a semi-final win at home, which from the beginning they knew it meant a lot more than just a trip to the final.
“We debated on if we were going to continue this season, we were contemplated taking the year off with everything that happen with the devastation with the fires and a lot of guys used that as fuel,” said Head Coach Dave Spence. “The city, the community, a lot of our players have been greatly affected by what happened with the fire and we rallied together, try to become a family, fight together and go to war together and put our minds to ease.”
“You don’t really know how to say how hard it was, not knowing if your house is gone and it’s devastating for everyone else who lost their houses, it’s mind boggling, it’s the hardest thing ever,” said Safety, Skylor Letcher.
With the atmosphere at an electric feel for the semi-final match, they were able to come away with the victory, one for the development of the team and for the community.
However, if they win the Championship Game, Shell Place could once again bring the electric feel back to Fort McMurray.
“If we win this one, there will be another game in Fort McMurray, September 10th against the NFC Champions which is the GTA’s all-stars,” said Spence. “If we can have that game here, the atmosphere would be electric, it would be great to have a National team here and that would put you number one in Canada.”
But before the team can think about that goal, there still stands one team in their way.
“We have to play Monarchs Football is what we gotta do, we just have to continue doing what we’ve been doing, taking nothing away from the Central Alberta Bucs, they’re a great team and they’ve come along way, they’re playing outstanding football and we know what they bring to the table and we know what we bring to the table.
The Championship game is scheduled for this Saturday. The team has practiced for three days this week ahead of the game, a game that could give the Monarchs their first ever AFL Title.
“It’s awesome, that would be amazing for everyone in the community,” added Letcher.