Collection of memories

Blitz star Arpin proud to be part of Canadian contingent

As one of eleven stars from the Independent Women’s Football League’s Montreal Blitz franchise, Annie Arpin provided maturity and leadership to a Canadian contingent that earned a silver medal at the 2013 IFAF Women’s World Championships. Competing at the linebacker position for Canada, she also had the opportunity to don the same number 40 that has adorned her Blitz jersey for many glorious seasons.

Hailing from Mascouche, Quebec, the articulate Arpin is a proud member of the Blitz since 2002. Competing at the running back position, she helped the club grab three IWFL championships as the Tier 2 level (2008, 2010, 2013) and one IWFL world championship with a defeat of the Sacramento Sirens in 2012. In addition, she has also served in an administrative capacity as the assistant to the head of Football Operations.

Competing for Team Canada was an opportunity to compete with women from other regions of the country that she had never played with before. Playing alongside members of the Western Women’s Canadian Football League and the Maritime Women’s Football League, new friendships were forged.

While Arpin and her Blitz teammates are accustomed to four down football in the IWFL, the other members of the Canadian contingent competed under the traditional method of Canadian football, which uses the three-down system. As the IFAF Women’s Worlds employed the four-down method, Arpin was impressed with how quickly the other players adapted.

“To be able to play with ladies from outside of Quebec was an experience that was very enriching. They have techniques that are very different as they play with Canadian rules (three down football). All the ladies were very well prepared and in good physical shape.”

The biggest test for Arpin and her teammates came in a July 4 contest against Finland. After a 50-0 whitewash of Spain in their inaugural contest, a 12-6 halftime deficit at the hands of Finland was unforeseen.

“Before the start of the match against Finland, we were very confident. We had just dominated against Spain and anything seemed possible. Our goal defensively was to not allow one point. After a few minutes, the Finnish had scored and the nervousness spread among us.

The stress had become more and more evident. The momentum had been on their side and they played with a lot of heart. The moment we entered the locker room, at that time, we were nervous and exhausted. Nervous to the point that we had difficulty executing plays that we had done so well in practice.”

While the halftime deficit caused distress, it would serve as the moment of truth for Aprin and her teammates. During an inspirational locker room speech, four words would help to inspire and restore the confidence for the proud team.

“During our training camp, we had chosen four words that represented what we wanted to demonstrate and who we were going to do it: Trust, discipline, passion, victory. Our coaches talked to us and reminded us of those key words. We then returned to the field with confidence and in control of our destiny. We were able to execute and get back on top.”

For Arpin, the opportunity to don the Canadian jersey was a defining moment in her athletic career. Having not competed with Canada at the inaugural IFAF Women’s Worlds in 2010, it was a dream come true for the 37 year-old.

“The first time our team was introduced as Team Canada and we ran onto the field with the fireworks was very moving also. On top of that, to have had the privilege of playing with players that were talented, and to be treated like professional athletes by a great group of coaches and support staff during our time was a memorable accomplishment.

It was very impressive to see how quickly everyone succeeded in comprehending the coaching system and putting it into execution. I hope to have the chance to play with them again!”

Statistically, Arpin tied for tenth on the Canadian contingent in tackles, while earning the starting nods in Canada’s games versus Spain and Finland, respectively. The long awaited opportunity to earn a well-deserved roster spot provided her with a series of memories that shall last a lifetime.

“The two full weeks were completely unforgettable! The match against Finland in which we mounted a second half comeback will always be one of the greatest matches in my career. For a team that played together for such a short time span, to be able to come back was not easy.”

Carrying the momentum of the Team Canada experience, Arpin would finish a memorable summer of football with her Montreal Blitz teammates in Round Rock, Texas on August 2. Competing in the Founders Bowl (the name of the IWFL Tier 2 Championship), she would help the Blitz to a convincing 55-8 victory over the Arlington Impact.

“My experience at the heart of Team Canada made me a better football player; not only technically but as a leader. I believe that all the players came back with an exceptional collection of memories and experiences that will benefit to the success of the Blitz upon our return. Leaving for Texas three weeks later brought back a lot of memories. I am certain that all the teams benefitted from the experience acquired by our players.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

Leave a Reply