As the Maritime Women’s Football League heads into its tenth anniversary season, it celebrates the growth of women’s sports. Currently the longest running women’s sports league in Eastern Canada, the MWFL is creating more than just elite athletes, it is forging strong women and shaping them into role models.
While the women of the MWFL (like the competitors in the Western Women’s Canadian Football League) are pioneers in the sport, they are also providing talent for the Canadian National Team. The squad will attempt to help Canada claim its first ever gold medal at the 2013 Women’s Tackle Football Championships.
The defending SupHer Bowl Champions (the championship in the MWFL) Moncton Vipers have three players named to Team Canada, including Justine Barter, Marie-Noelle Beaulieu and Tara Keohan. The Saint John Storm will be sending two players (while two others were named to the roster). Sending a league-best four players will be the Capital Area Lady Gladiators.
A great sign that the league is experiencing growth in this breakthrough season is signified by the sponsors. Papa John’s Pizza, a sponsor of the National Football League, is on board as the title sponsor to SupHer Bowl X on July 20. Moosehead Breweries will also be supplying prize packages for a Fan of the Game event to be run during every MWFL regular season and playoff contest.
During the last two seasons, the Lady Gladiators finished as the runner-up in the SupHer Bowl. In 2011, they were bested by the Saint John Storm, while the Moncton Vipers claimed their second title in 2012 in a high scoring 49-42 showdown. Should the Lady Gladiators qualify once again this season, they are aiming to have third-time luck.
In her role as quarterback for the Capital Area Lady Gladiators, Alex Black is the league’s premier star. A seven time All-Star selection (2006-12), she was also the circuit’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2006 and its Most Outstanding Player in 2008, respectively. In terms of consistency and leadership, Black could easily be considered the Peyton Manning or the Tom Brady of the MWFL.
Her skills as a leader are testament to what makes the women of the MWFL not just remarkable athletes, but remarkable people. “I strongly believe in demonstrating a positive character that is committed to training and dedicated to my team and I hope that philosophy extends to my teammates.”
As the MWFL Rookie of the Year in 2007, Tara Keohan is very passionate about the game. “Football is more than a sport. It is a lifestyle, an inspiration and a goal.”
Always putting the team first, Keohan’s positive attitude is a key reason why she is one of the elite talents in the MWFL. “I am more inclined to praise the quarterback’s pass and my teammates blocking than to say I had a great touchdown.”
Trina Graves, a three-time MWFL All-Star (twice on defense–2009, 2011, once on offense–2012) is entering her sixth full season in the MWFL. In addition to her great presence on the field, Graves is a strong leader off it. In assisting the MWFL executive as a Treasurer, Graves is eager for the 2013 season to be the best ever in MWFL history.
“With this season being our (MWFL's) 10th Anniversary, even more "man" hours are being put in to make sure it's the best season yet. I can say without a doubt that the finals in Saint John on July 20th, hosted by the Saint John Storm, should be the best show the league has seen in some time!”
Their tenth milestone season kicks off on May 25 with the Saint John Storm visiting the defending champion Moncton Vipers. In the late game, the Capital Area Lady Gladiators will visit the Halifax Xplosion. Having never won a SupHer Bowl, the Xplosion will be looking to start with a win as they attempt to claim the elusive championship dream.
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”