2023 Lt. Colonel W.D.C. Holmes Awards

The third annual Lt. Colonel W.D.C. Holmes Awards were  presented at the awards banquets at the U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Championship in Victoria, BC and the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship in Langley, BC.

The Lt. Colonel W.D.C. Holmes Awards are presented by Foundation Chair Michael Holmes in memory of his late father Lt. Colonel W.D.C. Holmes, who won the sword of honour at RMC in 1942 before embarking on a distinguished career in the British Army during and after World War II.

A total of 16 rugby student-athletes from the qualifying women’s and men’s rugby teams were recognized for their off-field contributions to the game of rugby at their university and community in the past year, with their tuition accounts or Athletic Financial Awards (AFAs) enhanced with $500 cheques from the Canadian Rugby Foundation’s W.D.C. Holmes Award Fund. Examples of factors to be considered could include organizing community events involving the team, mentoring younger players, volunteering with their home rugby club or at the community in which the university is located, volunteering as a club executive or an official at any level, and providing off-the-field leadership on the university team.

November 2, 2023 – Women’s Rugby

The following women’s rugby student-athletes were honoured at the 2023 U SPORTS Women’s Rugby championships hosted by the University of Laval (Colette McAuley, Canadian Rugby Foundation Board member shown making the presentations):

GUELPH – Emily Clark

Year: 4, Program: Marketing Management, Hometown: Mississauga, ON

Emily is an exceptional athlete that has been identified for both 15s and 7s at the National level. Her contribution to the program on and off the field with community and youth programs is indicative of her passion for the game.

LAVAL – Corinne Frechette

Year: 4, Program: Sports Intervention, Hometown: Nicolet, QC

Au-delà de ses performances comme athlète, Corinne s’implique dans la promotion du rugby et sport aux filles de la région. Dans la dernière année, elle a travaillé avec Fillactive, un organisme visant à promouvoir l’activité physique chez les filles de 12 à 17 ans. En plus de cela, elle aidé à coordonner les activités de l’Académie Rouge et Or pour des jeunes de 6 à 17 ans à l’été 2023 en plus d’être entraîneure-chef de l’équipe de rugby du Cégep Limoilou à l’automne dernier.

QUEEN’S – Siobhan Sheerin

Year: 5 , Program: Arts & Science, Hometown: Toronto, ON

Siobhan is the heart and soul of our program – she is the kind of teammate that will push you to be your best every single session.

I couldn’t think of a more worthy recipient from our squad.

OTTAWA – Teri Davis Ewan

Year: 2, Program: Sociology, Hometown: Mississauga, ON

Teri Davis Ewan, is a second year student-athlete currently taking sociology and part of the University of Ottawa’s women’s rugby team. She is originally from Mississauga, Ontario where she graduated from Streetsville Secondary School. In her community, she worked at an early child development daycare where every day aiding toddlers in their cognitive development while also keeping their constantly fleeting minds entertained. She has continued to work with young children and finds it very fulfilling working with kids and supporting crucial development at such a young age. Teri is a constant supporting force in university and club rugby, bringing big smiles and positive energy to every practice and game no matter her role within the team.

St Francis Xavier – Katherine Culligan

Year: 4, Program: Health Sciences, Hometown: Halifax, NS

Katherine is a co-captain of our team and was the 2023 recipient of the AUS Student-Athlete Community Service Award. She is a three-time U SPORTS academic all-Canadian, and volunteers her time both on and off campus, running an Intro to Rugby clinic in Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation in northeastern Nova Scotia and running a family literacy program through the Antigonish County Adult Learning Association at the local public library.

She has also been involved with fundraisers for KidsFirst Antigonish, a non-for-profit organization supporting women and children in need, and she has volunteered time helping coach the Halifax Tars Rugby Club minis program. On campus, Culligan is president of the STFX Health Society which she has volunteered with in each of her four years at the university. She is the co-chair and student-athlete representative for X-Women rugby on the STFX Athletics Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. A member of the Elite Leaders program with the STFX Leadership Academy, she has volunteered weekly at the STFX Learn to Skate program for the past two years, and she led a clothing drive across campus as part of an X-Women rugby alumnus’ initiative.

UBC – Payton McNeill

Year: 5, Program: Kinesiology, Hometown: St. Albert, AB

Payton is a deserving student athlete for this award. She provides countless volunteer hours running the Vancouver Thunderbird mini program out of the University of British Columbia. She builds the curriculum, provides guidance and mentorship to other mini coaches, coaches and organizes jamborees/play days. She is instrumental in building a community culture where these mini players attend UBC home games and engage in on field half time shows. Payton is also a strong leader in Indigenous education participating in this work within the UBC Women’s Rugby Program and beyond.

UPEI – Mia Fradsham

Year: 5 , Program: BSc., Hometown: Marshfield, PE.

Mia plays the scrum half position and was a co-captain of the Panther this season. This is well-deserved recognition as she is one of the most dedicated Panthers I have and has been very active within her community to help grow the game at the grass roots level.  Mia dedicates almost all of her spare time to rugby, whether it’s as a player or coach.

Mia is involved in rookie and junior rugby on PEI.  She volunteers her time coaching with the Charlottetown RFC rookie rugby program, the Charlottetown Rural High School AAA girls team, helped coach the girls PEI U17 Abbies at the Atlantic Championships and has been assisting at the Canada Games 7’s training sessions.

 VICTORIA – Morgan Warner

Year: 5, Program: Political Science, Hometown: Lacombe, AB

Morgan is a 5th year student graduating this year with a degree in Political Science.  Morgan has been an incredible teammate during her years at UVIC, giving back to the team, university and community. She is involved in rugby at the high school level and community level, looking to make rugby more inclusive for people with mixed abilities and young female athletes. At the university Morgan took on a fundraising role and worked with all the varsity teams to raise money for the Vikes Championship Breakfast. Morgan is very deserving of this award and we cannot wait to see what she does next.

November 16, 2023 – Men’s Rugby

 The following rugby student-athletes were honoured at the 2023 Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship (CUMRC) hosted by Trinity Western University in Langley, BC (Mike Holmes shown making the presentations):

CALGARY – Zane Clark

Year: 4, Program: Arts, Hometown: Calgary, AB

Zane has quickly asserted himself as an integral part of our club culture and executive. While Zane has always been a contributor on the field, he unfortunately suffered a concussion early in the year which cut his season short. Zane turned this into an opportunity for him to quickly become one of our most important members. Zane does everything behind the scenes that makes our program a success. Whether it be booking travel, dealing with the logistics of organizing a large club or just filing paperwork with the school, Zane takes on every job, no matter how difficult or non-glamorous it might be and tackles it with incredible enthusiasm.

 GUELPH – Adam Ford

Year: 4, Program: Marketing Management, Hometown: Rockwood, ON

Adam has grown into a tremendous leader for our program serving on our leadership team and as one of the forward captains. As a local to Guelph, Adam has grown up playing for the Guelph Rugby Club and has recently began coaching at the U18 level and his former high school JF Ross, hoping to help players like him fall in love with rugby and follow in his footsteps.

MEMORIAL – Simbarashe Mandoza

Year: 4, Program: Engineering, Hometown: Harare, Zimbabwe

Simbarashe came to Memorial as a result of an exchange of Tweets, having played on the Zimbabwe U20 team. This year he represented Memorial as part of Engineers Without Borders, and in addition works with, and cares for autistic children.

 OTTAWA – Ali Awada

Year: 3, Program: Criminology, Hometown: Ottawa, ON

This athlete has been selected for his contributions to the local rugby community through officiating. Often, Ali is asked to officiate junior/2XV games before he plays his own club games; and at uOttawa he steps in to ref our 2XV matches throughout the year. Additionally, Ali is a standing member in our leadership group at uOttawa.

 QUEEN’S – Eric Godden

Year: 5, Program: MSc Electrical & Computer Engineering, Hometown: Toronto, ON

Eric is our Captain this season and has played on the first team since his first year. He has been a member of our leadership group for the past three years. He is an outstanding leader, rugby athlete and an incredibly mature young man. This year Eric spearheaded our indigenous engagement initiative which consisted of education session for the team with our indigenous initiatives department and we engaged a local Mohawk artist to design a jersey for us based of our values. This jersey was worn for our game v Guelph which was on the day of truth and reconciliation, and these jerseys were then auctioned with all profits going to the Quinte Mohawk School meal program. This program is ongoing with the athletes led by Eric going to engage with the local community starting with the Quinte Mohawk school.

TWU – Fynn Murphy

Year: 3, Program: Human Kinetics , Hometown: South Surrey, BC

In being such a student of the game, Fynn Murphy not only gives his time to his teammates and his program, but he is also able to share his knowledge and love of the game by coaching the D.W. Poppy Secondary Junior Boys team, training his team 3 times a week, along with games from January to June. He also has been lending his wealth of knowledge to the D.W. Poppy Rugby Academy. Fynn was also an outstanding leader in the TWU Rugby Program’s Mission Trip to Paraguay last Spring.

UBC – Relmu Wilson-Valdes

Year: 3, Program: Kinesiology, Hometown: Nelson, BC

Relmu has proven to be an outstanding assistant coach for Grade 9 students at St. Georges, exhibiting noteworthy qualities in his role. His proactive approach in following up with both coaches and athletes underscores his commitment to the young athletes. Notably, he has displayed clarity, patience, and inclusivity in his coaching style, contributing to a positive and supportive environment for the team.

VICTORIA – Andrew Easson

Year: 6, Program: Geography, Hometown: Oakville, ON

Andrew has been an unbelievable team captain for his last year as a Vike and consistently demonstrates all of the characteristics you would want to see from your program’s leader. A moment that stands out is when our first years joined us for the first day of camp this year, Andrew made a point to go and greet each one and introduce himself. Andrew is the first to volunteer when we need support, and has also organized a number of community initiatives over his university career. On the field, Andrew is the type of rugby player that through relentless effort, makes every player around him better. Although Andrew leaves us this year, through his leadership he has made an impact on this program that will be felt for a long time to come.

Posted in Awards News, Funds, University.