“Stan’s a thinker: he’s not overly loud, he’s quiet,” said men’s rugby head coach Craig Beemer about what he’s observed of fullback Stanislas Blazkowski his first year as a Stinger. “Obviously, he’s a really talented rugby player. He’s still young so even though he’s already got all these accolades, you can see that he still wants to learn and continue to improve.”
The 21-year-old started playing rugby for the Montreal Rugby Club when he was 11. Before that, Blazkowski played a variety of other sports: hockey, judo, boxing, and soccer among them.
After spending the first few years of his life in Melum, France, Blazkowski’s parents, who had visited Montreal when they were younger and always wanted to live here, finally made the move when Blazkowski was five years old.
“When I [became] a teenager, I didn’t know what culture I should refer to the most, between the French one and the Canadian one, especially while I lived in Montreal and all my family was in France,” said Blazkowski about how it felt living in both countries at various points in his life. “It was kind of tricky, but now I feel Canadian and French at the same time.”
In 2016, Blazkowski moved back to France and played for the Racing Club de Narbonne Méditerannée U22 team. It was a competitive environment and, even though Blazkowski enjoyed it, it unfortunately didn’t work out. This is in part – Blazkowski explained that it was a complicated situation – because the age group he was playing in was lowered by one year, and, despite still having one year of eligibility left, no one recruited him, opting instead for younger players.
Last summer, Blazkowski decided to come back to Montreal to play for the Stingers and attend JMSB as an international business student. “I love traveling, I speak three languages, I want to discover the world,” Blazkowski said. “If I can do this through my job, this would be perfect.”
Coming to Concordia wasn’t a hard decision. During his time in Montreal playing for Team Quebec over the summers while he was still living in France, Blazkowski met coach Beemer. He reached out to the head coach, knowing that Concordia was hosting the 2019 Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship (Nov. 20-24) and that the men’s rugby team had been successful in past seasons.
Blazkowski also previously played with many other players on the team from Team Quebec and from when he played for various other clubs, such as RC Montréal, Beaconsfield and Town of Mount Royal RFC.
“[Rugby] is the kind of sport where you go to war with people and, after a game, it’s all friends,” Blazkowski said about the sport’s culture, noting the chemistry and bonds he’s built over the years. “What you share on the field, you’ll share off the field too.”
And what they’ve shared on the field is a third consecutive all-win season, claiming the 2019-20 RSEQ Provincial Rugby Championship title on Nov. 9. With a successful year for the Stingers, Blazkowski also had an epic rookie year, and was named to the RSEQ first all-star team.
“He has really high standards. He wants to be improving all the time,” Beemer said of Blazkowski. “He already is a good player but in the two, three years he’s going to be here, he’s going to be a much better player just purely based on his own drive and his willingness to be really really good.”
Despite his obvious talent, for Blazkowski, it doesn’t matter. “I don’t really care about that kind of thing. I just want to play rugby and do my thing.”
Being a full time student isn’t an easy feat for anyone and requires a lot of time management. Playing as a varsity level athlete on top of student obligations doesn’t make things easier. On top of studying international business, rugby training and practice can take up to four hours a day, four days a week, with games on weekends. All this leaves little time for much else, but Blazkowski still manages to enjoy some leisure activities such as reading, watching sports and “hanging out with the boys.”
At the end of the day, regardless of the time and work it takes, or the honours received, Blazkowski just wants to play rugby and wants to try to make it to the highest level he can.
Photos by Laurence B.D.