Rugged determination

Pontbriand part of new generation for marvelous Blitz

As the most successful internationally-based team in the history of the Independent Women’s Football League (IWFL), the Montreal Blitz are poised to retain such status with the impact of Laurence Pontbriand. Also a rugby player with the University of Montreal Carabins program, she brings a rugged determination that is without compare.

Like so many of her colleagues on the gridiron, Pontbriand excelled at multiple sports before donning the helmet and shoulder pads. She discusses the other sports that entailed her athletic background, “I started playing flag football in high school. Coming from track and field, an individual sport, i fell in love with the team spirit (of football).

Then, our coach organized a team that would compete in a flag football semi-contact tournament in Florida. I remember appreciating the fact that the receivers could block the defensive backs.

Finally, some of my friends started to play for the Blitz and I joined them later because I wanted to compete at a high level…like I used to when I was a track athlete.”

In addition to her growing career with the Blitz, Pontbriand had the opportunity to compete on the world’s biggest stage. As a member of the Canadian contingent that claimed the silver medal at the second-ever IFAF Women’s Football Worlds, it would prove to be a treasured moment in her career.

One of the five leading receivers for the Canadian contingent, she started the games against Spain and Finland. In addition, she also contributed on defense. A four-reception performance against Finland on July 4, 2013 was tied with Marci Kiselyk for the best single game effort for Canada during the 2013 Worlds.

“Representing my country in an international competition was a huge honour. I worked really hard the year before the championship to be able to represent my country the best I could. I still remember how proud I felt when I put my jersey on for the first time.”

The opportunity to don the Canadian jersey was enhanced by the fact that Pontbriand was not the only Blitz player involved with Team Canada. Over a dozen Blitz players and coaches also comprised the squad. The element of familiarity, complemented by a familiar face on the offensive side of the game, helped to provide confidence.

“It was amazing to have them around. If something was going wrong, I knew I had a good friend to go to. And since my Offensive Coordinator was there, I knew the offensive system and felt comfortable to ask any questions.”

Upon her return to Canada, Pontbriand’s season had not yet finished. The Blitz were set to travel to Rolling Rock, Texas for the opportunity to play for the IWFL Tier II championship. While it was a bittersweet moment due to the fact that the Blitz were not able to defend the Tier I title gained in 2012, the strong sense of family and friendship makes this a labor of love for Pontbriand.

“Once again, it is a great honour to be part of the Blitz family. Our coaching staff is so good and I keep learning year after year. I also have the chance to be around players with over 10 years of experience which makes a huge difference on and off the field.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

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