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

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

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Nanaimo hospital appears to be contained, says Island Health

Chief medical health officer urges patients to meet scheduled appointments

Beef to the person in the little car who tailgates me with high beams along Kilpatrick and Jingle Pot in the morning and lays on the horn when I turn left onto East Wellington. If following the speed limit is not going to get you where you are going on time please do not take it out on me. May I suggest you leave a bit sooner.
Beefs & Bouquets, Jan. 27

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

(News Bulletin file)
COVID-19 affects student enrolment and funding for Nanaimo school district

More distance-ed students leads to yet-to-be divvied out money, says SD68 secretary-treasurer

An Island Health graph showing COVID-19 cases in the central Island by local health area between Dec. 27 and Jan. 23. (Island Health image)
Central Island’s COVID-19 case spike shifting, says Island Health

Cowichan Valley has seen the highest number of cases, but Nanaimo and south Island seeing upticks

Cash and drugs allegedly found in a suspect’s possession following an arrest earlier this month in downtown Nanaimo. (Photo submitted)
Accused drug dealer arrested in downtown Nanaimo carrying $20,000, fentanyl, crack and meth

Terrance Virus, 39, being held in custody, scheduled to appear in court Feb. 1

An Island Health graph showing COVID-19 cases in the central Island by local health area between Dec. 27 and Jan. 23. (Island Health image)
Central Island’s COVID-19 case spike shifting, says Island Health

Cowichan Valley has seen the highest number of cases, but Nanaimo and south Island seeing upticks

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

This coming Thursday, Jan. 28, is Bell Let’s Talk Day, and conversations about mental health would serve many of us well as the pandemic persists. (Zackary Drucker/The Gender Spectrum Collection)
Editorial: Let’s talk about our mental health in a pandemic

Bell Let’s Talk Day is Thursday, Jan. 28

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Worker at Swartz Bay terminal on Monday, January 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Former BC Ferries employee alleges he was fired because of his race

Imraan Goondiwala has been granted a BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing

A concrete seawall built to prevent erosion on a property on Driftwood Drive on Mudge Island. (Islands Trust image)
Appeal Court says Mudge Island homeowners’ seawall has to go

Court decides right to guard against erosion isn’t a ‘privileged’ property right

B.C. Ferries is in the midst of gathering support from local governments for a plan that would fully electrify Island-class ferries. A pair of hybrid ferries are slated for the Gabriola-downtown Nanaimo ferry route for 2022. (News Bulletin file)
Hybrid vessels just a start as B.C. Ferries works toward fully electric sailings on Gabriola route

Ferry corporation seeking support from local governments for electrification plan

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Most Read