Marie-Claude Vincent embodies the fighting spirit of the Montreal Blitz

As the Montreal Blitz embark on a new chapter, competing in the Women’s Football Alliance, there was one player that bridged multiple generations, whose spirit for the game defined the landmark years in the Independent Women’s Football League (IWFL). Between 2001 and 2016, Marie-Claude Vincent spent 14 seasons with the Blitz, experiencing the jubilation of an IWFL world championship in 2012 and a Founders Bowl title in 2013.

Photo credit by Isabelle Bergeron

Having first graced the gridiron as a member of the Blitz at the tender age of 18, Vincent has grown into a franchise for the cornerstone, whose relentlessness at the running back position complemented elite quarterback Saadia Ashraf for a generation. Despite being 5’3”, she brings the heart of a lion to the gridiron, fearlessly taking on larger players with a courageous tenacity, setting a positive example for the younger players to emulate.

During her time with the franchise, Vincent has admirably juggled off-field responsibilities. Successfully gaining a degree in respiratory therapy, she is also the mother of two children. Through it all, football still provides the same adrenaline rush that it once did in her nascent years in the game,

“For me football is a drug. It is super stimulating to wait for the ball to rise and wonder how to beat the girls in front of us to reach the touchdown zone. Plus, this is a moment for me, without the kids, the work and everything around.”

Over the last few seasons, the team has transitioned in several ways. Highlighted by the move to the WFA, which also consisted of financial and travel reasons, there has also been a new generation of young stars, such as Maude Lacasse, Annabelle Chevrier and Rose-Amelie Brunet, that have carried on the proud legacy of Blitz football. Considering that the Blitz emerged victorious in their first-ever WFA game, a 32-8 win over the New York Sharks, along with 10 players named to Team Canada 2017, the future shines brightly.

The impact of veteran players such as Vincent and this new generation is reciprocal. While Vincent feeds off their high energy, finding motivation and a renewed love of the game, her presence and acumen provides the young players with a leader to look up to, and someone to seek guidance from.

“It is always good to have the next generation. Young people are full of energy and super motivated. Football careers rarely last very long, so it’s great to recruit new players every year. In a few years I will be able to say that I was part of the beginning of this family.”

Undoubtedly, Vincent’s career is a combination of inspiration and uniqueness. Considering that so few careers last a decade, her durability and longevity is testament to a game that she loves. With so many years of service as one of Vincent’s lasting legacies in this game, there is a strong sense of pride to have been involved with some of the greatest moments in franchise history.

Considering that the Blitz have won four championships during their IWFL years, highlighted by a 28-27 triumph against the Sacramento Sirens in 2012 for the top tier championship. One of the most stirring and riveting championship games in league history, it stands as one of the greatest moments in Montreal’s female sports, an element that she shall treasure for years to come.

As proud as Vincent may be of the championships, it is only half of what made her career so enjoyable with the Blitz. The other hallmark in her career is definitely her longevity. With an exceptional character that served as a key contributing factor in the long-term success of the only Canadian-based team in the IWFL, she provided a major league presence while remaining young at heart.

”It’s about winning championships and the team is always among the best in the league, it’s great, but personally, to be part of the starters and to perform on the field with girls who are half my age is pretty cool, no?”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

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