Blitzing impact


Belanger key contributor to growing impact of Montreal Blitz in female game

Having competed for the Canadian contingent at the 2013 IFAF Women’s World Football Championships in Vantaa, Finland, Emilie P. Belanger is aware of what it takes to be a world-class athlete. As one of the stalwarts on the Montreal Blitz, the most successful international team in IWFL history, Belanger has helped forge a strong legacy for female sports in Montreal, along the same lines as the famed Montreal Mission ringette women’s hockey club.

Growing up with a love of sport, the enthusiasm for football was injected at an early age. With a family friend that competed on the gridiron, it would serve as the catalyst towards crafting her own storied career.

“I have always love sports and football has always been “special” to me. When I was little, a family friend played for Universite Laval (Quebec City), and I used to go see all his games with my dad. I can honestly say that having the opportunity to play tackle football has always been one of my dreams so when I heard about the Blitz, I had to be a part of it.”

Although the gold medal game in Finland would prove to be a visceral loss to their American rivals, there were many lessons learned. For Belanger, it would prove to only further fuel her motivation and increase her will to win.

“Even if we lost, my favourite moment is still the Final against Team USA. Like every athlete, I hate losing. Especially that way, but that game taught me a lot. I learned that the only limits you have are the ones you put on yourself, and that it is very important that you always push yourself to be better.

That game made me want to work even harder, to learn everything possible and to really be the best football player I can be.”

The opportunity to represent Canada on the world’s biggest stage in 2013 had a strong sense of family to it. With over a dozen players and coaches from the Blitz organization contributing to Team Canada’s success, the chance to compete in Finland only strengthened the unbreakable bonds of friendship that exist between Belanger and her Blitz sisters.

“Sharing the Team Canada experience with many of my Blitz teammates was amazing. I am close friends with many of them and it brought us even closer.

It was also helpful to have people who played the “same football” as I did. Sharing that experience with players from out West was amazing too, but it would not have been the same without the players from the Blitz.”

Upon her return to Montreal from Finland, there was still plenty of football left for Belanger. With the IWFL postseason looming, the Blitz were eager for another strong finish. Having earned the 2012 IWFL Tier I world championship, the first international team to do so, the opportunity to capture another title provided Belanger with the chance to add some more hardware to her growing collection of accolades.

Competing in Rolling Rock, Texas, Belanger gained greater understanding of the value of teamwork from her Team Canada experience. Her efforts would contribute to the Blitz emerging from postseason play with the IWFL Tier 2 title.

“Going to play in the IWFL Tier 2 final was special for all of us in a different way compared to when we played in the Tier I final the year before. We really wanted to prove that the Blitz deserves to play in Tier I, so it was important that we play our best football possible. It was also the first championship of many of our players so it was very meaningful for them.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

(Left to right) Belanger, Laurence Pontbriand, Mike Alfonso and Alia Palmer. Image obtained from Facebook

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