BC Angels Reflect on Inaugural Pacific Cup Experience

Mark Staffieri@@MarkStaff100Contributor IIJanuary 2, 2013

(Left to right) Ashley Hamer-Jackson, Mary-Anne Hanson and Katie Marshall were all leaders for the BC Angels in a valiant effort Photo by Ric Ernst, PNG http://www.theprovince.com/news/story.html?id=7136355
(Left to right) Ashley Hamer-Jackson, Mary-Anne Hanson and Katie Marshall were all leaders for the BC Angels in a valiant effort Photo by Ric Ernst, PNG http://www.theprovince.com/news/story.html?id=7136355

During 2012, the BC Angels emerged as the premier franchise in LFL Canada. With a growing fan base and a championship in the league’s inaugural season, the Angels' remarkable run culminated with their appearance in the LFL’s first ever interleague match, the Pacific Cup.

Although the Seattle Mist (with Hopkins and Moore) claimed the first Pacific Cup, an annual border battle that promises to be a great holiday football tradition for LFL, the newly born rivalry between the Seattle Mist and the BC Angels is also one that is built on friendship.

Christine Moore, a Washington state resident, was the BC Angels second-leading receiver during the 2012 LFL Canada regular season. While she suited up for Seattle in this contest, she had amicable feelings at the end of the contest: “Yes, I did talk to them [afterwards]. I gave each one of the BC girls a hug after the game.”

The intrigue surrounding Canadian homegrown talent like Stephanie Manou and Katie Marshall helped to generate interest in the first annual event. Marshall commented, “I think we really were just lacking game experience as well as personnel. Having just come off our season, we had a lot of injuries and didn't have many players that could fill positions throughout the game.” Emerging as one of the elite defenders in LFL Canada, Marshall benefited greatly from the mentoring of Jessica Hopkins.

Despite playing for her home team the Seattle Mist, the aforementioned Hopkins was a key figure in helping make LFL football popular in British Columbia. As a contributor to the Angels' LFL Canada title (and the leading tackler in the league), she had only kind words in her assessment of BC’s efforts in the Pacific Bowl: “I am extremely proud of how the BC girls played against us this weekend. Anyone that has played the Mist at home knows it is not an easy thing to do to come into a packed ShoWare Center and perform at the top of your game.”

Starting quarterback Mary-Anne Hanson of the BC Angels showed great determination in the loss, a quality that was noticed by Jessica Hopkins, who said, “Mary-Anne kept her composure very well and kept the game closer than we expected for a while, especially with Manou out with a concussion. It was nice to see some other girls stepping up and making plays like Ashley Petrie and Janette Jackson.”

Hanson’s outlook on the game displayed great maturity and acumen: “It was a great experience playing in front of a large crowd at the ShoWare Center.  Despite the loss, there were valuable lessons learned and will definitely be putting in the work this off season.”

Ashley Hamer-Jackson was also very gracious in the defeat: “The Seattle game was a great experience! All good on the loss as it only makes you work harder in the offseason!” Despite the loss, she is determined to help the Angels win in 2013. “To win next year, all we need to do is gain depth and work like demons in the offseason. Building our new rookies is key!”

With a determined leader like Hamer-Jackson eager to help the Angels improve, the defending LFL Canada champions promise to elevate the intensity of the rivalry.

Franchise player Stephanie Manou (the LFL Canada rushing champion) is ready to regroup while learning from the loss:

Now that I have gained the experience of playing an LFL US team, I can definitely say I am more prepared to play the Mist or any team for that matter again. How could I not be? It is always tough to go up against a team that you have zero game footage on and know almost nothing about, so the experience of playing them has shown me a lot about what I can expect in future battles against the Mist and what it will take to win.

Hopkins is working towards transforming the Seattle Mist into a championship squad. She added, “I am already looking forward to facing them again next year after they have gotten more experience under their belts; they will grow a lot between now and then.”

While the year ended on a losing note for the BC Angels, their proud players have reflected on their experience in the first Pacific Cup with optimism and a belief that the future can provide an opportunity to win.

“Preparation would be the biggest lesson learned from that game. The opportunity to play in the US in a stadium with 'the best fans in the league' was an unforgettable experience. I do not have one doubt in my mind that we would be able to take home the Pacific Cup next year,” remarked Katie Marshall.

With Hanson, Marshall and Manou as some of the prime building blocks of the Angels, there is a great chance that the lessons learned from the loss will bring about great improvement. Manou stated, “The Mist took four years to get their team to where it is. If the Angels can continue to learn from every game and every experience, I have no doubt that we can get there in two. You can definitely expect to see a stronger and more confident BC Angels team for the 2013 season.”

All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated.