"A great opportunity for all of us to have a spot at the Super Globe" - Alexis Bertrand

 
Alexis Bertrand Photo credit: Canadian Olympic Committee

Alexis Bertrand
Photo credit: Canadian Olympic Committee

Alexis Bertrand is one of the most respected handball players in Canada. He is from Quebec City where he works as a personal trainer and is co-owner of one of the only fitness gyms in Canada to provide specific training programs for handball players.

He is also a father of four,  which means his hands are busy. Lucky he is good with them.

We chatted with Alexis who will lead Team Quebec in their quest to qualify for this years Super Globe.

How did you fall in love with the game of handball? Please share some of your most memorable moments that kept you in the game? 

Alexis Bertrand: I fell in love with handball the first time I played. When I was 10, we moved to Lévis during the summer and there was a summer camp. That’s where I was first introduced to the sport. Then I played club, provincial team and national team. I always loved playing in tournaments all over the world (Italy, Spain, USA, France, etc.) and handball was the ideal sport in Quebec to go abroad in big tournaments. I would say that always having an objective or the chance to play in something big regularly was something that kept me in handball and made me an “addict”. 

At 20 years old, I left for France where I started as a student athlete, then a semi-pro, then a professional player.  

I have many great memories as a player, but these are some of the most memorable ones.

My first official tournament with the junior national team in Puerto Rico in 1999. I was 16 years old. Still remember that day. 

The Chile trip in 2004 where we (Canada National Team) played qualification games for the senior World Championship. For the first time in 27 years we were able to qualify for the World Championships in Tunisia. The biggest achievement of my career.  

Playing for the title in the French 2nd division. That meant we were moving up to the 1st division to play guys like Karabatic, Omeyer, Kervadec, Guigou, etc.

I also enjoyed playing one year in the French 1st division. Many memories that I certainly will never forget. 

First ever to qualify to the Super Globe from NorCa region. What do you think about it? What are your chances to qualify to the Super Globe?  

Alexis Bertrand: I think that’s a great opportunity for all of us to have a spot at the Super Globe. The challenge will be huge for the team that qualifies, but we need this stimulation to keep handball alive and develop it further in North America. Many, for different reasons criticize the IHF, but one thing the IHF is doing well, at the moment, is giving many opportunities for NorCa countries to grow and develop the game.

As for our chances to qualify, that’s a tough question! We have a good team, a mix of younger and more experienced players. The fact there are only 4 clubs participating makes it more doable, but we’ll see once we get there!

By qualifying to the Super Globe 2019 you would become a part of a group to represent a CANADA club for the first time in a large global event like this. How does this notion keep you motivated?  

Alexis Bertrand: I would say that it’s as motivating as it is scary! During my 20 years career, I’ve been playing Brazil and Argentina’s national team and it’s been tough but playing the champion of the Champions League is a completely another level.

I love challenges, so we would go there to do our best and hope to win at least a game. Lots of players never had the opportunity to play in international official tournaments so they are extremely motivated by this project.  So, we will go there to have fun and play handball, what we’ve been doing for decades!