Annabelle Chevrier continues proud tradition of gridiron glory for the Montreal Blitz

As the greatest football team in the modern history of La Belle Province, the Montreal Blitz has consisted of a remarkable number of women that have graced the gridiron. As the last few seasons have represented a transition towards a new generation of players, the Blitz has an exceptional building block in wide receiver Annabelle Chevrier.

Having first played football at the CEGEP level, with John Abbott College, Chevrier could not have asked for a better introduction to the sport. Learning at the feet of one of the greatest players in Blitz history, whose exceptional career also included the opportunity to wear Canada’s colors at the IFAF Women’s Worlds, she would quickly become Chevrier’s most profound influence,

“Well first of all, the quarterback at the time for the Montreal Blitz and my coach at flag football during my first year at John Abbott was Saadia Ashraf. She obviously took a very big part to introduce me to this beautiful sport and the most amazing adrenaline rush this sport could give me.

I guess she saw a potential in me for tackle football, which I thought at the time any women’s tackle football teams existed! I will always remember that one time Saadia said: Hollywood makes a lot of sport movies but mostly about football, and there is a reason why football is their number one pick… Because they know it is the best sport in the world! She was right and still is.”

Part of Chevrier’s gridiron journey involves building on the remarkable legacy established by the older players who shaped the Blitz into a perpetual champion at the IWFL level. Although such a legacy involves a degree of pressure, the challenge is one that Chevrier has accepted with tremendous vigour.
From the outset, Chevrier looks at the Blitz and sees a tremendous amount of pride. The chance to following their footsteps represents an important coming of age in the game for her, while only solidifying her appreciation of such amazing women,

“I am very proud to follow the footsteps of the older fellows and teammates because I had the chance to play and learn from the best during my first year and now I am building experience, confidence and growing my knowledge year after year.”

In reflecting on the unfolding narrative that is her gridiron career, Chevrier must begin with the inaugural experience of playing her first game with the Montreal Blitz. Undoubtedly, the reality of the game and the possibility of getting hit become exceptionally visceral.

“Before the whistle blows, it is nerve-racking to know that in a couple of seconds, girls will be “legally” hitting each other on the field. Can you imagine?

Hitting some girl at full speed and the harder you hit the better! Knowing (that in) my first year, I was only 120lbs at the time; it was very stressful to be playing against girls (including bigger girls) that were literally the double of my size and weight!”

Despite the challenge presented, Chevrier overcame such doubts, displaying a determined character that set the foundation for the confident glories to come.

Among such glories included a podium finish with Team Quebec at the 2016 Canadian Women’s Nationals. Adding to the jubilation is the fact that Team Quebec (and Montreal Blitz) quarterback Maude Lacasse has a remarkable familiarity with Chevrier. Of note, both were teammates on the Quebec provincial team that captured the 2012 Canadian national women’s flag football championships.

With the dream of emulating her mentor, Saadia Ashraf, and one day donning the Team Canada colors, Chevrier’s efforts culminated with a spot on the Tournament All-Star team, which included fellow Wide Receivers Alex Black (a two-time Team Canada veteran), Carly Dyck and Marci Halseth from Saskatchewan, along with fellow Team Quebec member Laurence Pontbriand.

Considering that longtime friend and teammate Lacasse, plus seven other Blitz teammates earned spots on the All-Star Team, it makes them all one step closer to achieving the dream of competing on the world’s biggest football stage. Undoubtedly, the dream has served as the raison d’etre for Chevrier, bringing the heart of a giant and the ambition that shall serve the future of the game well,

“Fear never crossed my mind, excitement of the unknown and playing the sport that I loved dearly were the reasons why I even started playing such an uncommon sport for women in this case. I was ready to play and focused on my initial goal; to one day make the national Canadian team. That is how much I took football seriously.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

Photo credit: Erika Ranger Photography


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