A new women's sports league is headed for the capital.
The Central Canadian Women's Football League (CCWFL) is set to play its inaugural game on Saturday May 14, in Saint-Léonard, Quebec, just north of Montreal.
The league provides the opportunity for women in Québec and Ontario to compete in tackle football.
"It gives me so much hope and it's so inspiring for everybody whether you're an athlete, coach, or fan," said Andreanne Dupont-Parent, commissioner of the CCWFL and general manager of the Montréal Blitz. "I think football is way behind as a sport in terms of integrating women at all levels."
There are three teams in the league so far including the Montréal Blitz, a team that has existed since 2001 and was part of the Independent Women's Football League, an American football league that had its last season in 2018. The two other teams joining the CCWFL are the Quebec City Phoenix, and the Ottawa Capital Rebels.
The season consists of six games played between the three teams in May and June, but there are no playoff games or championship because the league wants to focus on growth and expansion.
"We really want to focus on the growth of the athletes, the growth of the coaches, and keep it going from there," said Dupont-Parent, who is a former CCWFL player. "We're hoping to get approximately three to five more teams per province in a five year range."
Some strategies Dupont-Parent highlighted when it comes to growing the league include hosting camps outside of the season in the markets they are targeting. Dupont-Parent said when it comes to expanding, the league wants to host teams in Toronto and Sudbury.
The CCWFL wants to focus on markets in Quebec and Ontario only because of the existence of the Western Women's Canadian Football League (WWCFL) and the Maritime Women's Football League (MWFL) in eastern Canada.
According to the commissioner, teams are open to arranging tryouts for those wanting to play, and Dupont-Parent encourages those interested in joining the league to attend some of the games this summer to get a feel for what this league is all about.
"This is a statement for everybody to be out there and think, women can do this too," said Dupont-Parent.
The first game in the capital is scheduled for May 21, at Matt Anthony Field at the University of Ottawa between the Ottawa Capital Rebels and the Montréal Blitz.