Paull an integral part in Blitz’ rise

As the Montreal Blitz has contributed to a proud female sporting legacy in Montreal, one of the results is the creation of new sporting stars. Among the remarkable women that helped transform the Blitz into one of the IWFL’s premier franchises was multi-sport star Georgina Paull.

Although it seems difficult to fathom that such a young star has decided to hang up her helmet, she was part of an exciting era in which the Blitz were continuously part of the championship conversation.

While former Blitz quarterback Saadia Ashraf was the franchise player, its heartbeat on offense, she was surrounded by a remarkable supporting cast that included Paull. In reflecting on Paull’s early years, Ashraf comments how her athletic gifts were evident early on,

“Georgie is a gifted athlete and has gone through her athletic career excelling in the sports of soccer, basketball, and football. She started playing touch and flag football in high school and then continued playing flag football at John Abbott College.

In her first year at the college, she was a double varsity athlete playing both basketball and flag football. She won several team awards at the high school and college level. In her first year at John Abbott, she won the Outstanding Performance by a Female Rookie and then in her graduating year, won the most prestigious award an athlete can receive at the college, the Jeff Mills Memorial Award.”

Such skills as a flag football player translated instantly to a strong performance on the gridiron. Despite her rookie status, Paull was an iron woman, playing on both sides of the ball. Ashraf remarked that Paull not only had a strong rookie campaign, but was able to deliver in clutch situations. Such ability instantly making Paull a welcome addition, a player that could be a significant part of the team’s future,

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“When Georgie turned 18, she started playing for the Montreal Blitz. In her rookie year, she became a key player on the Blitz. Her most consistent position was WR and kick/punt return, but she was also a DB (she even had a stint at Outside Linebacker). When the game was on the line, we put Georgie in. She would come up with key interceptions when most needed. She is a terrific ‘all-around’ player.”

Among Paull’s most notable moments with the Blitz, one that stands out involved a legendary 2010 campaign. With Nick Kalaidopoulos at the helm as head coach, the club experienced its first-ever undefeated season, going 8-0 in regular season play.

Qualifying for the IWFL Tier II championship for the third time in franchise history, the results was a closely contested match against the Bay Area Bandits, prevailing by a 9-2 mark. The outcome would prove to be very satisfying for Paull,

“My favourite moment with the Blitz was definitely going to the finals in 2010. We had an undefeated season and every playoff game we had was close. Then, the finals ended 9-2. It was just such a great season.”

Over the years, a key legacy of the Blitz revolved around the fact that so many of its greats suited up for Team Canada at the first two IFAF Women’s World Football Championships. Led by Ashraf, who competed in both events, it was testament to the world-class talent that was part of the Blitz roster.

Throughout these formative and important events in the development of women’s football, Paull never had the chance to don the Canadian colors. Despite Paull’s absence from the world’s biggest stage, the strong work ethic and enthusiasm for the game that defined her career was highly admired by Ashraf.

“Georgie would never accept less than the best from herself and her teammates. She was motivating and encouraging, and when needed, she would tell them when they needed to be better. Sadly, Georgie was unable to participate in any of the World Championships but definitely should have been there.”

Through it all, Georgie has remained upbeat and positive, embodying the spirit of the growing sport. In a career that has helped place the Montreal Blitz among the elites in the game, the aspect that always defined her love for the game was the camaraderie among her teammates. Resulting in new friendships that are poised to last, it contributed to a remarkable culture,

“The best thing about playing with the Blitz was definitely the atmosphere of the team. The people / friends that I ended up meeting I still keep in touch with until this day. It is hard to meet a bunch of girls that enjoy talking about and playing football. So, when it is a passion of yours, meeting a group that you know it is their passion too is fantastic!”

In the aftermath of her playing career, Paull has remained an essential part of the Blitz. Contributing as a member of the coaching staff, her acumen and friendly demeanor are providing the positive influence for a new generation of Blitz players, ready to follow in her footsteps. Ashraf could not be prouder, as she recounts how Paull’s potential as a coach were evident early on,

“Even when she spent a season being injured, she would be at practices and games, helping on the sidelines. She was part of the 2008, 2010, and 2012 Championship teams and is now giving her time as an offensive coach.”

As the next frontier for female football represents women taking on coaching opportunities, it is only fitting that Paull is part of such an exciting time, “I definitely enjoy coaching, it’s great to see the team evolve from the first practice to the last game. It’s also quite challenging. Things I assume they knew, sometimes they do not. So, I need to find a way to show them or teach them.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Images provided by Georgina Paull

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