Palmer an integral player during Blitz glory days

Having made the visceral decision to hang up her helmet, Montreal Blitz wide receiver Alia Palmer leaves behind a proud playing legacy. After a dozen seasons, crafting a standard of excellence for future wide receivers to emulate, the native of Ste. Anne de Bellevue was one of the unsung heroes for elite female sport in Montreal.

Establishing offensive synergy with quarterback Saadia Ashraf, the result was one of the most successful quarterback-wide receiver duos in female football history. A key component in the ascent of the Blitz as an elite club in the IWFL, such effort culminated with an IWFL Tier I world championship in 2012, testament to their talents.

Of note, Palmer’s football association with Ashraf is also defined by friendship and guidance. Their football ambitions also intertwined in touch football, constantly refining their skills, committed to the highest level of performance possible.

“The most influential person throughout my football career has to be my QB, Saadia Ashraf. Without her, I would never have even began to play tackle football and would never have come to love the sport of football as much as I do.

She coached me in touch football throughout high school and college and I have had the opportunity to play both touch and tackle football with her for the past 17 years!”

The two would duplicate their on-field successes as members of Canada’s national women’s football team. Their international pinnacle was defined by a valiant silver medal finish at the both the 2010 and 2013 IFAF Women’s Worlds. During the 2013 edition of the Women’s Worlds in Vantaa, Finland, which saw 12 Blitz players named, Ashraf found Palmer for a 12-yard reception in the gold medal game, showing strong signs of fight against the powerhouse United States squad.

“Playing for Canada was an over-the-top experience. I am so honored to have had the opportunity to play a sport for my country and am very humbled by the experience.

Football is the ultimate team sport and it was awesome to come together with girls from everywhere in Canada to play at such a high level of competition.”

Having also occupied the position of kicker for the Blitz, Palmer showed remarkable versatility, testament to her proud devotion to the team. Compared by her Blitz teammates to Montreal Alouettes’ received Ben Cahoon, Palmer was synonymous with dependability.

Currently working in physiotherapy, Palmer has not abandoned the football field. Still prevalent with the Blitz in a coaching capacity, her post-playing football career has been defined by a strong rapport with Ashraf. Both working on the coaching staff with the John Abbott College Islanders, their gridiron legacies are helping to inspire a new generation of girls to take up football. Among the receivers that Palmer is working with on the Islanders includes the likes of Kayla Audet, Kelly Chiavaro and Marie-Li Lapierre.

While Palmer is dedicated to their success, hoping that they can create a wonderful set of football memories, akin to her own, she is also fond of the team-building experiences that defined her time as a player. In reflecting on her remarkable body of work, Palmer recalls how an unexpected play by an unexpected hero constituted one of her most treasured moments with the Blitz,

“There are honestly too many great memories from my twelve years with the Blitz to choose one! Yet, I would have to say, that our 2012 championship game in which our center blocked a point after attempt with less than a minute to go (allowing us to keep a 28-27 lead, and ultimately win the game) is atop the list! At the end of the day though, what I remember most is the bus rides and pre-game locker room routines!”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

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