Leduc Comp High School Girls
For many it was a day just like any other day in 1994. For 16 girls it was the beginning of a team, a family, and a legacy in the LA Crude Rugby Club. Jody Becker, Kerri Crerar, Deb Hangartner, Terri Pinkoski, Lisa Sanders, Sheryl Chamulka, Tracy Fiala, Nicole Hopner, Shelly
Mushynski, Wendy Van Twuyver, Lindsay Quinney, Janelle Telawski, Amber Clark, Tania Corothers with the coaching of Denny Luck and Shane O’Conner, all stepped onto the rugby pitch together for the first time and from that an era was began.
Like most women’s teams in 1994 the beginning was fun and challenging. There were many games played short players with not many wins to speak of. The Crude Women’s first team try was scored on tour in Penticton by a recruit from Cold Lake. It was a very exciting moment for everyone! The team was a close knit family of women that enjoyed every moment together on and off the pitch. This was made apparent on every tour they went on as the Crude Women were the receivers of the Social Team award at every tournament entered. The team used to pick a small town before every play off stretch to engage in some serious team bonding. Devon, Hay Lakes and Sunnybrook were just a few towns chosen to have team beers and recruit new players. This resulted in player representation from Warburg, Thorsby, Devon and Beaumont.
The team thrived over the years and celebrated Crude Representation on the Gold team from Melissa (the Hof) Hofer and Lindsay Yurokowski.
After many years of a successful LA Crude Women’s Program, there was a change in the program. In 2009 the Women’s team combined forces with the NorWester’s Women’s Program to form CrudeWest. These two programs joined their families in efforts to keep the women’s programs strong and competitive in the Edmonton Rugby Union. They enjoyed tremendous success over the next 7 years as two clubs joined together as a fiercely competitive team family on and off the field.
In 2009 the team enjoyed success winning games in playoffs having their season end in 5th place in their division. The winning continued over the next few years, eventually resulting in an Edmonton Rugby Union City Championship in 2013.
CrudeWest remained an incredibly social team off the field and maintained their reputation of playing with their hearts right to the end of every single game they played regardless of the scoreboard, year after year. Many a tour was enjoyed together in Abbotsford, Jasper, Stampede 7’s, Missoula’s Maggotfest and of course Edmonton’s RugbyFest.
The group has seen many players come and go but familiar faces remain with the likes of Melanie Hofstetter, Jacqueline LeBlanc, Sheila Farrell, Keryl Billen, Diane George, Suzie Zimmerman, Karen Zimmerman, Amber Clark, Leanne Martin Lindsay Cook.
In the 2016 season the CrudeWest Rugby program grew in numbers and strength such that they were able to field 2 teams in the first and second divisions. Both teams performed incredibly well this year resulting in both teams making the playoffs. It was the strength of all of these women combined in the 2016 season that has allowed for the Norwester’s and the LA Crude rugby clubs to regain their women’s programs. Life long friendships and families have been forged between this group of amazing women that continue long after their rugby days have finished.
Suzie Zimmerman, Lindsay Cook, Melanie Hofstetter, Jacqueline LeBlanc
The 2017 Rugby season will see the LA Crude Women’s team returning to their roots and
continuing their legacy. An exciting 2017 rugby year is awaiting everyone that will be guaranteed to be full of friendship, camaraderie, sportsmanship and competitive rugby. The Crude Rugby family has been re-united. The Crude Women have come home.
The devil whispered in my ear, “You’re not strong enough to withstand the storm.” Today I whispered in the devil’s ear, “I am the storm.”