The Saskatoon Hilltops have made history in the CJFL again, welcoming the first female athlete to a CJFL team. Emmarae Dale joins the six-time defending champions after an incredibly successful career with the Saskatoon Valkyries, helping the organization win the Western Women’s Canadian Football League (WWCFL) title in 2016 and 2019.
“I am extremely honoured to be joining the Hilltops,” said Emmarae Dale. “It’s definitely been very surreal so far and I still can’t even believe it’s really happening, but I’m so grateful or the opportunity to play football at a higher calibre and challenge myself as an athlete. It has been an awesome experience so far. I have received a lot of positive feedback and support which has really helped me keep my composure on the field. Coming from the Valkyries, things haven’t been all that different other than the obvious fact that I’m playing against men now. The pace is definitely quicker but I’m excited to keep learning and growing as a football player.”
“This is an incredible day for the CJFL,” says league Commissioner Jim Pankovich. "We have always pride ourselves allowing 18-22 year old athletes a chance to continue their football careers and to have Emmarae become the first female athlete, we couldn’t be more proud. She joins a storied franchise, who once again has found a way to make history for our league.”
“I have watched Emmarae grow into a dominant football player with the Saskatoon Valkyries,” commented Jeff Yausie, Defensive Coordinator for the Hilltops. “She has great quickness along with strength and athleticism. We are looking forward to her contributing to our Hilltops defense on the field. She has a great attitude, and no one works harder than her.”
The addition of Emmarae to the team marks the first time in CJFL history that a female athlete has been a member of a team’s roster.
“Emmarae is joining a long list of Dale family members who have been great players and leaders for the Saskatoon Hilltops,” said head coach Tom Sargeant. “She has a great work ethic and brings a very physical element to her play. She is joining us for our 2020 practice schedule, and we can’t wait to see her in the Hilltops uniform at linebacker in 2021!”