Lori Boyles Brings Tremendous Athletic Skill to Canadian National Team

Mark StaffieriContributor IIJune 7, 2013

Boyles breaking a tackle with the Saint John Storm (Image by Topher Seguin)
Boyles breaking a tackle with the Saint John Storm (Image by Topher Seguin)

As an All-Star selection on both offense and defense in the Maritime Women’s Football League, Lori Boyles has emerged as an elite athlete. For the second time in her career, she was named to the Canadian National Team. Possessing a great athletic background, Boyles will be looking to help the Canadian contingent claim the gold medal at the 2013 Women’s Tackle Football Championships.

While other women in football had backgrounds in rugby or soccer, Boyles took a different route. Proficient in numerous sports, her preference was hockey. Starting her teens, Boyles would excel at all levels of hockey. While competing in ball hockey, a chance encounter would lead to the introduction of a new athletic endeavor. 

“I played just about every sport in high school, with hockey of any type (field hockey, ice hockey and ball hockey) being my first love.  After high school I continued to play ice hockey at the University of New Brunswick for a couple of years and played in the Saint John Metro Ball Hockey league for over 10 years. A friend of a friend heard I was athletic and asked if I wanted to play touch football with her team about 13 years ago.”

“This was my first experience with playing football and I immediately loved it.  I did not know there was a tackle football league for women until I was asked to play six years ago by another friend.  It seemed to be the perfect combination of my two favorite sports; the toughness of hockey and my love of touch football.”     

During the summer of 2012, Boyles had the opportunity to compete in the now historic 2012 National Challenge Cup in Laval, Quebec. Hosted by Football Canada, it marked the first Canadian national championship for women’s football.

Teams from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec were among the five participating teams. Boyles competed on a squad composed of MWFL stars from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia called Team Atlantic. Donning gold jerseys, it was a rare opportunity for Boyles to call rivals from the MWFL her teammates.

“Playing with Team Atlantic was an excellent opportunity to get to know the other players in the league.  It gives you a chance to up your game, to compete with the best in your region, as well as gain a whole new respect for the players that you usually line up against.” 

“I am very grateful to have had the chance to participate in that tournament.  There have been many lasting friendships formed and it has helped to transform the MWFL into a more respectful and enjoyable league.”

While Quebec emerged with the title, the true legacy of the event was the opportunity to forge friendships and to meet other women’s players from throughout the country. As the Western Women’s Canadian Football League enters its third season, the nationals truly helped to unite the sporting landscape of women’s football in Canada. The chance for Boyles and her MWFL peers to play against many of their Western counterparts at the 2012 Nationals was a new, yet valuable, experience. 

With the MWFL entering its landmark 10th season, Boyles is once again at the hub of Canadian women’s football history. As the first women’s football league in Canada, the opportunity to compete during such a remarkable year represents a celebration of the game, and the hope that the future will be prosperous while continuing to cultivate an environment of sportsmanship, good natured competition and mutual respect.

“I am honored to be a part of the 10th anniversary season of the MWFL.  I believe it shows that the sport of women's football is continuing to grow and I look forward to seeing the league develop even further.”

Always looking to improve her superlative game, Boyles displayed great character by providing an extra effort on the defensive side of the ball during the 2012 campaign. Accepting it as a personal challenge, her selection as an MWFL Defensive All-Star speaks for itself.

“My greatest moment is hard to narrow down. Yet, I would say the moment I am most proud of in my MWFL career was being named a Defensive All-Star last year in 2012.  Being mainly an offensive player my whole career, it shows that I have worked hard to understand the defensive side of the ball. It also shows that my coaches see my versatility and have the confidence in me to be utilized in many different positions to help the team succeed.”

In a stellar career that has featured numerous All-Star selections and SupHer Bowl Championships, the defining legacy of her career might be the opportunity to represent her country on the international stage.

She participated in the first Women’s World Football Championships in 2010. As part of a silver medal effort with Canada, she ranked third on the team in receiving yards. The opportunity to be part of a historic moment in women’s sporting history is a cherished one.

“It was a privilege to represent Canada at the 2010 World Championships.  It is fantastic that I was a part of the first ever World Championships and helped to pave the way for up and coming athletes.”

“The experience gave me more confidence to attain my goals, not only in sports, but in everyday life.  It shows you that hard work and determination go a long way and you should never give up on what you have your sights set on.”

As one of the 11 members on the 2013 Canadian contingent that participated in the inaugural women’s worlds, her experience makes her a leader on the roster. A proven winner and a remarkable athlete, Boyles brings a presence of strong character and determination which gives her team an opportunity to win. In determining the factors necessary to win a gold medal, Boyles offered the following,

“We will all have to do our prep work and arrive in shape, outwork our opponents on every play and understand our responsibilities. It is important to win one-on-one battles, be able to adjust quickly and above all, we have to come together as a team and believe it is possible.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”