MWFL on strong footing on eve of 10th Anniversary kickoff

As May 25 marks the beginning of the 2013 Maritime Women’s Football League season, it also brings with it greater meaning. With the MWFL entering its Tenth Anniversary, it is providing women with the opportunity to shatter barriers while experiencing the thrill of gridiron glory.

Complemented by the rise of the Western Women’s Canadian Football League, the MWFL is gaining in popularity and increasing its impact among competitive sport for women. With three franchises in New Brunswick and one in Nova Scotia, the MWFL has a lot of room for positive and sustainable growth.

Its sponsorship for the 2013 season provides great signs of encouragement. Papa John’s Pizza, a sponsor of collegiate and professional football in the United States is onboard with the MWFL. The pizza magnate will serve as title sponsor for SupHer Bowl X.

Well-known Maritime brewery Moosehead is also throwing its support behind the MWFL. A proud sponsor of sport in the region, the brewery will be involved in fan promotions throughout MWFL regular season and playoff matches.

While women’s tackle football is looking to become part of the larger sporting conversation among Canadian sports fans, the MWFL certainly has its share of stars to prop up the interest. Led by quarterback Alex Black, she is the face of the league. By the end of the 2012 season, Black had earned her record setting seventh consecutive All-Star nod.

Black is one of 11 women from the MWFL (three were named to the Reserve Roster) named to Canada’s national team that shall compete in the World Championships in summer 2013. Three of her teammates from the Capital Area Lady Gladiators will also be joining Black; Kristen (Shot) Chatterton, Robyn Neill and Emma Hicks (the first woman to play in both the MWFL and the WWCFL).

Based out of Fredericton, the Lady Gladiators are the most intriguing franchise in the anniversary season. A talent heavy roster led by franchise player Black, the squad has lost the last two consecutive SupHer Bowl Games. With the legacy that Black continues to build, a championship will solidify her standing as the greatest player of the first decade.

Defending SupHer Bowl champions, the Moncton Vipers shall host the inaugural game of the anniversary season. As an underdog in last year’s title game, the Vipers defeated the Lady Gladiators by a 49-42 score. Tara Keohan (also a member of the Canadian National Team) would score two touchdowns for the Vipers to claim its second SupHer Bowl in franchise history. Entering 2013, the Vipers are hoping their winning ways shall continue.

As the MWFL writes the next chapter in their growing history, it can proudly reflect on the building of a strong legacy of women’s sports in Canada. Although their stars are not household names like soccer’s Christine Sinclair or hockey’s Hayley Wickenheiser, they are strong women of great character. Their dedication and sacrifice make them tremendous role models for the MWFL’s next glorious decade.

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