New Don Ennis Award Fund in Central Okanagan Announced

We are pleased to announce the establishment of the Don Ennis Award Fund.

The Don Ennis Award Fund was established in April 2024 by Glenn Ennis, former National team player and Captain and BC Rugby Hall of Fame member, Glenn’s partner Gillie, a former rugby player who was coached by Don at KSS, and the Central Okanagan Rugby Enthusiasts (CORE).

Fund Purpose:
The Don Ennis Award Fund is intended to provide funding from its endowment for annual awards that further the broad objectives and purposes of Rugby Canada and the Canadian Rugby Foundation to develop and grow rugby across Canada, and that meet CRA requirements.

The Don Ennis Award is named for Don Ennis, a highly-respected Central Okanagan rugby player and coach. Don was also an advocate for rugby in his role as school Principal in the Rutland, Kelowna, and Okanagan Mission areas of the Central Okanagan.

Don Ennis Obituary

In its initial form, the Don Ennis Award Fund will be used to provide educational assistance to rugby players graduating from a Central Okanagan high school and admitted to the University of British Columbia (Okanagan). In the future, the Fund may be used to support other youth-oriented rugby initiatives in the Central Okanagan. These may include player development camps and/or competitions that improve rugby skills and experiences for local high school and/or university youth players.

Initial Award Criteria:
In its initial form, the Fund will be used to award one male and one female graduating Central Okanagan rugby player the funds to assist in the costs of playing rugby and attending school at the University of British Columbia (Okanagan). In the case that no eligible players are heading to UBCO, the award(s) will go to a local grad going to play rugby at a comparable BC post-secondary institute. Award recipients must demonstrate the following attributes to qualify for the award. They include:

  • Graduating or graduated from a Central Okanagan high school;
  • Accepted into a program at the University of British Columbia (Okanagan) or a comparable BC-based post-secondary institution;
  • Intent to play rugby for their post-secondary or club rugby team in the next year;
  • High-quality rugby potential, as judged by the Fund Representatives; and
  • Leadership skills, as demonstrated in at least two leadership experiences.

For more information on the awd process or to donate to the Don Ennis Award Fund and help support its aims, go here

Caelyn Huebner Named 2023 Winner of Courtenay Taaffe Award

The winner of the 2023 Courtenay Taaffe Award is Caelyn Huebner, who was also named as one of the George Jones Award winners for 2023.

The Courtenay Taaffe Award is presented by the Canadian Rugby Foundation (in conjunction with the Charlton L. Smith Foundation and the Taaffe family)

Courtenay Taaffe was vibrant, determined, talented and dedicated; she had endless energy and enthusiasm for her passions in life, one of which was the sport of rugby. The award was created in 2005 to honour Courtenay’s rugby passion and life achievements. The successful recipient will share some of the many qualities Courtenay did including a strong work ethic, both in the classroom and on the field, as well as an enthusiastic and determined personality. She played hooker and flanker for UVic, James Bay, Crimson Tide and Team B.C. She coached the JBAA junior women, the Vancouver Island Crimson Tide junior women, the Vancouver Island Japan Club team and the Stelly’s Secondary Queen Bees. Courtenay set a precedent for hard work and accomplishment in the sport of women’s rugby. Courtenay passed away at the age of 29 of a rare and aggressive lymphoma.

This award is annually awarded to a female athlete who excels in rugby, academics and community service. It is open to 17-28 year old players/coaches/referees who are pursuing a full-time degree, diploma or certificate program at a Canadian university or college on Vancouver Island. Students commencing or continuing full-time studies in the fall are eligible.

Caelyn Huebner

Caelyn is a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Health and Education student at the University of Victoria and like the award’s namesake, has played for James Bay Athletic Association, UVic, and the Crimson Tide. She recently began to broaden her rugby experience coaching at Esquimalt High School.

In high school she was significantly involved in her school’s community, participating in 7 sports, was involved in the school’s leadership program, volunteered in her school’s international student program, and helped start the “Best Buddies” club (a club which focuses on creating friendships between students with and without intellectual disabilities).

As Jen Roos her coach with the JBAA Senior Women’s team says, “Caelyn reminds me a lot of Courtney, whom I was fortunate enough to play with at UVIC. While not the biggest on the pitch, Caelyn plays with her heart and soul and the determination of someone three times her size. She is talented yet understated- leading our team with wisdom and commitment.

Said Cory Payne her coach at Esquimalt High School and the JBAA U16 girls team, “For the years that I coached Caelyn, she has been easily one of the most committed players that I have had the honour to coach. Her desire to be better and make the team better gave us the success we had in earning the Provincial school title.

Caelyn has always been reliable. This was especially evident when she had a major injury and still came to practices, games and events. Caelyn continued cheering on her teammates and taking part in any way so she could remain a part of the team. When Caelyn said she would be
somewhere or do something she would. Caelyn has always been eager to help the new players and encourage them to get better. She has a
natural teaching ability and it shows in her patience and acceptance of new players. I’ve leaned on Caelyn to be a leader because of her ability to model the inclusiveness of all players regardless of skill and or experience.

Caelyn has demonstrated her natural leadership and teaching skills these past two seasons while being my assistant coach with the high school team. She was an important role model to the players as well as instructing and guiding the team in all aspects of the game. Caelyn’s attributes
as a player and leader are what made me choose her as a mentor to the high school team. I really admire her approach to leadership and encouragement of all. Esquimalt placed 4th in the Province at last year’s school provincials and I truly believe Caelyn was a large part of that
success because of all the things listed above”.

2023 George Jones Awards and Thomas Family Awards

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 Thomas Family Awards and George Jones Awards:

2023 GEORGE JONES AWARDS

George Jones Q.C. was well-known in both athletic and legal circles. His resume was lengthy and legendary and included appearances and successes at virtually every court level, fundraising, coaching, refereeing in many sports and at many levels.

George was born in Victoria. His father was an admiral and knew the value of discipline and hence George was sent to Brentwood College School at that time located in Mill Bay, he spent 1 year at Brentwood, the rest at Lakefield in Ontario.

From there George attended law school at UBC and married early and had 5 children. Graduation was achieved and a short career with Revenue Canada followed. Either or both Revenue Canada or George came to their senses and George then spent the next 50 years defending individuals in Tax Court and bailing out rugby players from various situations and occasionally and sporadically billing clients strictly on Robin Hood principles. Two more children followed together with countless loyal and loving  friends. George’s roast in 2012 was attended by 300 people at the Empress and raised 50,000 for the George Jones scholarship.

One of George’s most ardent passions was for the sport of rugby and he was a co-founder and the first director of the Canadian Rugby Foundation.

Janelle Amyotte – University of Alberta

Janelle Amyotte

Janelle Amyotte is going into her last year at the University of Alberta and will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism. Janelle started playing rugby with the Strathcona Druids in Sherwood Park, Alberta, when she was 14 years old, after a successful career as a competitive gymnast. She joined the Green and Gold Rugby Academy in her grade 11 year and stayed with her green and gold roots as a varsity athlete with Pandas rugby team. Last year, she was the proud recipient of the Panda award. One of Janelle’s favourite rugby moments was helping her Pandas team win the Sluggit cup this year.

Janelle also has a passion for sport, and kids in sport. She spent her spring coaching high school rugby and her summer working with Rugby Alberta helping to organize the Alberta Regional Championships, Western Championships, and Alberta Summer Games. She is a firm believer in access to sport for kids, and would like to play a role in growing rugby in the future. Janelle is grateful for the opportunity to receive the George Jones Award.

Tanveer Chowdhury – University of Toronto

Tanveer Chowdhury

My name is Tanveer Chowdhury, but my friends and everyone else around me know me as Niloy. I am currently a Master of Teaching student at the University of Toronto with hopes of graduating in 2024, and I write this letter with the intention of applying for the George F. Jones Award Fund.

My contributions to rugby began from my time setting up the team at my local high school, where I also captained the team. I further contributed to rugby within the community by working with the Toronto-Inner City Rugby Foundation (TIRF) where I taught rugby to youth across the city. In addition to this, I have most recently coached at my old high school, Woburn CI, introducing the sport to students and getting them involved.

Ever since I began playing rugby, it has been a sport I have fallen in love with. While there were many trials and tribulations, I faced playing the sport, I have always come back to play and continue to keep playing the sport. As of right now, I am not able to play due to injuries, but I hope to be back as a player for my club for the TRU 2024 season. In addition to this, I also hope to be a World Rugby Level 2 coach who coaches local youth sides within Toronto. I hope that my past achievements and accomplishments qualify me for this scholarship, and I hope to hear back soon.

 Kennedy Feasby – University of Guelph

Kennedy Feasby

My name is Kennedy Feasby, and I am a 4th year Human Kinetics student and a varsity rugby athlete at the University of Guelph. Rugby is more than just a game to me, it has given me a sense of belonging and community, celebrated my strength and grit as a female athlete, and instilled so many positive character traits that would allow me to become the best global citizen I could be. This scholarship grant would help support and fund my 2023/2024 university rugby season and age-grade team Canada camps.

Rugby has given me so many opportunities to get involved and give back to my community. During high school, I was given the opportunity to work with the mixed abilities rugby program based out of my home club the Oshawa Vikings. During my time at University I have volunteered at clinics for local
high school teams, growing the game for young female athletes. Furthermore, I was fortunate to help out with the Premier Sevens League rookie rugby clinic that was hosted in Washington D.C.

This summer I played on the U23 national Canadian team, won the Ontario Women’s League cup with the Guelph Redcoats Senior Women’s team, and I competed in 2 tournaments in the Premier 7’s league, winning the championship in Washington DC with the Loonies. Last season, I was named an
OUA All Star and a U SPORTS All Canadian. My future goals include being a rugby ambassador, representing Canada at the World cup and being a strong female rugby role model for our next generation.

 Caelyn Huebner – University of Victoria

Caelyn Huebner

Caelyn is a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Health and Education student at the University of Victoria and like the award’s namesake, has played for James Bay Athletic Association, UVic, and the Crimson Tide. She recently began to broaden her rugby experience coaching at Esquimalt High School.

In high school she was significantly involved in her school’s community, participating in 7 sports, was involved in the school’s leadership program, volunteered in her school’s international student program, and helped start the “Best Buddies” club (a club which focuses on creating friendships between students with and without intellectual disabilities).

As Jen Roos her coach with the JBAA Senior Women’s team says, “Caelyn reminds me a lot of Courtney, whom I was fortunate enough to play with at UVIC. While not the biggest on the pitch, Caelyn plays with her heart and soul and the determination of someone three times her size. She is talented yet understated- leading our team with wisdom and commitment.

Said Cory Payne her coach at Esquimalt High School and the JBAA U16 girls team, “For the years that I coached Caelyn, she has been easily one of the most committed players that I have had the honour to coach. Her desire to be better and make the team better gave us the success we had in earning the Provincial school title.

Caelyn has always been reliable. This was especially evident when she had a major injury and still came to practices, games and events. Caelyn continued cheering on her teammates and taking part in any way so she could remain a part of the team. When Caelyn said she would be
somewhere or do something she would. Caelyn has always been eager to help the new players and encourage them to get better. She has a
natural teaching ability and it shows in her patience and acceptance of new players. I’ve leaned on Caelyn to be a leader because of her ability to model the inclusiveness of all players regardless of skill and or experience.

Caelyn has demonstrated her natural leadership and teaching skills these past two seasons while being my assistant coach with the high school team. She was an important role model to the players as well as instructing and guiding the team in all aspects of the game. Caelyn’s attributes
as a player and leader are what made me choose her as a mentor to the high school team. I really admire her approach to leadership and encouragement of all. Esquimalt placed 4th in the Province at last year’s school provincials and I truly believe Caelyn was a large part of that
success because of all the things listed above”.

Jack Vanderpost – Dalhousie University

Free Male Portrait vector and picture

Photo pending

Rugby goals and plans: Fresh onto the rugby scene in my final year of highschool, I quickly found a love for the intensity, athleticism, strategy, and comradery that this sport provides. My willingness to develop, and my prior athletic experience, along with support from teammates and coaches, allowed me to excel in my first season and earn the rookie of the year award. I have had the great fortune to be successful in many athletic endeavours, and I have always appreciated the potential others see in me. I want to pursue my next athletic opportunity and truly believe rugby is exactly what I am looking for. It is my hope to plays many years of rugby, beginning with the Dalhousie University men’s team and perhaps others clubs once I graduate.

While I have had moderate success in the sport thus far, and I understand the rigor and commitment it will take for me to get where I want to be in the world of rugby. Regardless of how this athletic endeavor turns out for me I am just beginning to see how incredible this sport is and I will be sure to encourage those younger than me to try it out sooner than I did.

Says Sean Hammond, Lakefield College School coach, “While Jack was new to the sport of rugby, his athleticism, game sense, and commitment to consistently improving this skills made him a valuable part of our team. Jack found a home in the starting seven rather quickly, using his size and speed to be a consistent threat on both offense and defense. Not only did he lead our team in scoring (averaging 1-2 tries per game), but he also was instrumental in our lineouts where he stole over 80% of the lineouts he jumped in. Jack’s physical contributions on the field, coupled with his understated leadership,
led to his receiving the Rookie of the Year award after a unanimous decision from the coaching staff.

While Jack is definitely new to the sport of rugby, he has great potential to continue to grow in the sport. He has a great background in team sports and now has begun to develop foundational rugby skills that pair well with his overall athleticism. I fully believe that given an opportunity to play rugby at the next level, Jack will prove to be an athlete who can be relied upon for dedication and hard work, and these attributes will help him develop into a strong rugby player at the university level.

 

2023 THOMAS FAMILY AWARDS

The Canadian Rugby Foundation has a number of awards which have been named after deserving people in the rugby community who have made significant contributions to our game.  There is no family more deserving of this honour than the Thomas family.  Their contributions to Canadian Rugby have been more significant than any other in the past.  The Thomas Family’s initial pledge has also encouraged others to give back to the sport they love.

The Thomas family originates from Morriston, a small town in Wales.  As a young engineer, Mr. Thomas decided to emigrate to Canada.  He is, and always has been, very passionate about rugby.  It is for this reason that the family decided to make this significant pledge to support the Foundation as a way of saying thank you to a country and sport that has given so much joy to the entire family.  As a way of thanking the Thomas family for their extreme generosity to the Foundation and all of the various rugby projects they have supported over the years, the Foundation presents the Thomas  Family Scholarship to be distributed annually to one or Canadian student playing the great game of rugby.

Matthew Amyotte – University of Alberta

Matthew Amyotte

My name is Matthew Amyotte. I am a 21-year-old fourth year student in a dual degree of Kinesiology and Education with a 3.3 GPA at the University of Alberta. I am a great candidate for the Thomas Family Award. Being involved in rugby since I was 11, I have had a lot of accomplishments, for example, playing U18 Team Canada for both 15’s and 7’s. I demonstrate my passion for rugby in every practice and game I partake in, whether it’s as a coach or a player.

Volunteering is a big part of my life. I volunteer at different events involving youth, including being in a classroom and coaching rugby. Through my experiences in the classroom, I have learned how to connect with kids of all backgrounds. Being a volunteer coach has been
rewarding because it has given me an opportunity to give back to not only the community, but also my club and the game that has given me so much.

My future goals as a player is to be a leader on the University of Alberta team and ultimately represent Canada at a senior men’s level. My goals as a coach and educator are to ensure every child has a chance to reach their full potential. My favourite part of coaching and
teaching is getting to know the children and being able to connect with them. Seeing them have fun, grow, and develop different skills that will help them succeed not only in rugby, but in life, is rewarding.

Laryssa Atamanchuk – University of Alberta

Laryssa Atamanchuk

Laryssa Atamanchuk is a first-year student at the University of Alberta who exhibits many qualities for this award.

As captain for the past two seasons of my school rugby team, I worked with my team to promote inclusion. Over half of our team were new to the sport, it was important to introduce them to each other and the game. I made sure to always build my team up; Conversations included me sharing things to accomplish during games, not criticizing any mistake players make. I had them create goals they wanted to work on achieving while playing, and would check with them after to emphasize how they can develop. I was fortunate to make the UofA rugby team and continue playing, and will stay involved through a club team both playing and volunteering my time.

I have been a soccer coach within the community for many years where I can share my passion for the sport with them. I have worked extremely hard for my education and learning. I plan to complete my undergraduate arts degree, then further my education in law school. My
goal is to inspire individuals to become leaders and while being a role model to look up to.

Sam Eiffler – Capilano University

Sam Eiffler

I believe I am the right candidate for the Thomas Family scholarship, as I embody the values and tenets of Mr. Grenville Thomas and of Canadian Rugby.

I discovered my passion for the sport in my senior year of high school at Sutherland Secondary, forming the first team since Covid-19 restrictions shut down the sport. It was a rough season, but introduced me to rugby, and I signed up immediately after for the Capilano RFC Men’s team. I quickly found a community and club that pushed me to grow as a player and a person, and I continue to develop as I play second row for the Men’s Premier Reserve team.

The Thomas Family scholarship would enable me to pursue academic studies and work towards a future in the city planning or legal department. Like Mr. Thomas, I understand the importance of community around rugby, as I’ve returned after graduating to help coach the Sutherland team.

Academically, I ended my first fall term in Good Academic Standing with a 3.78 GPA.

Going forward, I hope to fund and continue my schooling with a bachelor’s degree and a masters in law or city planning, while playing second row for the Capilanos, as my grandfather did before me.

 Sophie McDonald – University of Ottawa

Sophie McDonald

I started playing rugby for my high school in Grade 10. Before then I didn’t know what the sport was, and what it could do for me. I went to my first practice and realized that I had found a new love for a sport that I didn’t know existed 24 hours prior. Unfortunately, our high school was not big enough to field a team and I felt like I lost something. A few years later, I was presented with the opportunity to try out for the University of Ottawa Gee Gees Women’s Rugby team. I was brought on and now two years later I look back at how far I’ve come as an athlete and more importantly as a person.

The effort that everyone on this team puts in, on and off the field is amazing to me. The rugby community is one like none other. It is one of the most accepting groups I’ve ever been a part of. Our team is committed to advocating for many social issues like the LGBTQ+ community, Black Lives Matter, and indigenous peoples of Canada. Our goal is to use our platform to create a safer and more inclusive community. The diversity and inclusion that the rugby community allows is very impactful. To become an athlete it is important to feel represented. Rugby is more than just a sport, it is a family.

Lane Morency – University of Ottawa

Lane Morency

I firmly believe that I would be an excellent candidate for the Thomas Family Award because I feel that I can be looked on as an excellent student and an outstanding citizen in the rugby community. I am a decorated athlete both in high school sports and extra-curricular sports, I was a model student during my time at LaSalle Secondary School receiving numerous awards at graduation and running student council for two years, and I was constantly volunteering and working hard to ensure that I played my part within my community to make it an amazing place
to live and play sports.

Throughout my years in the sport of rugby I have had countless amazing experiences, including participating in OFSAA, experiencing my first university training session, and playing my first Men’s game. Yet, despite all these enriching moments none of them compared to the experience of sharing the pitch with both of my brothers this summer, playing the game we all love. Rugby runs deep in the blood of all three of us having had our mother play in her university days, so I am passionate about continuing to stay active in the sport. I look forward to my brothers and parents rooting for me in my new colors of garnet and grey next year as I will continue my rugby journey at The University of Ottawa, taking everything, I learned from my high school team and my local Kinston Panthers Rugby Club with me.

 

2023 John Cannon Memorial Awards Announced

We are pleased to announce the 2023 John Cannon Memorial Award winners:

  • Lockhart MacGregor
  • Lucie Romeo
  • Lana Dueck

Lockhart has represented BC at the U15 and U19 levels and is in his second year of varsity rugby at the University of Victoria. He has goals of playing professional rugby and representing Canada at the senior level.

Lucie is in her second year of university rugby at the University of Victoria and has represented Canada with the Maple Leaf Development Academy and Canada 7s. She has been recognized as a USPORT All-Canadian and an All-Star at the University Rugby Championships. Lucie was also part of the Canada 7s team that secured a silver medal at the Pan-Am games this past November. One of her goals is to represent Canada 7s at the Olympics.

Lana has represented BC in 15s and 7s, and Canada 15s at U18. She is in her first year of university, playing rugby at the University of British Columbia. Lana has the goal to represent Canada at the senior level.

Previous John Cannon Memorial Grant recipients Shalaya Valenzuela (2021), Lucie Romeo (2023), and Jake Thiel (2018) recently helped Canada secure silver and bronze medals at the Pan-Am games in Santiago, Chile. McKenzie Carson (2018), who previously played Canada 15s, was the first player to play for England under the new eligibility rules. She currently plays for Gloucester Hartpury in the English Premiership.The John Cannon Memorial Touch tournament is an annual event hosted by the Abbotsford Rugby Club which supports the John Cannon Memorial Grant. Award recipients are recognized at this event in early August. This year’s repeat tournament winners were the Half Back and Halfwits.

2024 Canadian University Coaching Awards Announced

The following 11 Men’s and Women’s University Rugby Coaches have been selected to the 2024 cadre attending the Crusaders International Academy Accelerator Coaching program from May 20 through May 31, 2024 in Christchurch New Zealand. Each will have their program fees plus room and board paid, and travel costs subsidized. These coaches follow the group of 7 coaches who went to the Crusaders program last year.

SELECTED COACHES

Selected by the Canadian Rugby Foundation and funded by its University Rugby Supporters Fund and For the Love of the Game are:

  1. Simon Chi, Head Coach, University of Calgary Women’s Rugby
  2. James Flemming, Head Coach, University of Ottawa Men’s Rugby
  3. Chris Jones, Head Coach, McMaster University, Women’s Rugby
  4. Jessie-Ann Gibson, Assistant Coach, University of Guelph Women’s Rugby
  5. Jessica Joubarne, Assistant Coach, Carleton University Women’s Rugby
  6. Zak Scovoranski, Assistant Coach, Mount Royal University Men’s Rugby
  7. Lancelot Satge, Head Coach, University of Montreal Men’s Rugby
  8. Jay Shaw, Head Coach, University of Waterloo Women’s Rugby
  9. Brent Wood, Assistant Coach, University of Calgary Men’s Rugby

and selected by the BC Rugby Union and funded by the Gerald McGavin Coaching Award Fund of the Canadian Rugby Foundation are:

  1. Darcy Patterson, Assistant Coach, University of British Columbia Women’s Rugby
  2. Jon Mergui, Assistant Coach, University of British Columbia Men’s Rugby

Congratulations to all eleven coaches!

PROGRAM DETAILS

The Canadian Rugby Foundation University Coaching Award is an initiative of the Foundation’s University Rugby Supporters Fund to further develop university-level coaches’ program leadership, coaching expertise and technical ability. The focus of this initiative is on university coaches as we and our lead donors believe the men’s and women’s university rugby pathway is critical to the success of our senior teams and programs. The major goals of this award are for the coaches to 1) continue to develop their coaching careers and credentials, 2)  use their learnings to enhance the technical skills of their university student-athletes and coaching colleagues, and 3) share that information with rugby coaches in their local and provincial rugby communities.
This award is administered by members of the Foundation’s University Rugby Initiative committee consisting of Mike Holmes, Doug Tate, Dave Lougheed, Colette McAuley, and Jeff Chan.
What the Award Entails:
Eligible coaches are head or assistant coaches with a CUMRC-eligible Men’s Rugby program or a U SPORTS Women’s Rugby program with their World Rugby Level 2 Coaching Certification completed or committed, and we will be working to get their Level 3 training and certification accelerated. The selected coaches attend a 13-day program at the home of Crusaders Rugby in Christchurch, NZ (https://crusaders.co.nz/) Nine university coaches selected by the Foundation, and two selected by the BCRU will join 14 international coaches in a program organized by the Crusaders International Academy. The Crusaders are widely regarded as New Zealand’s top Super Rugby club (7 consecutive championships through June 2023), furnishing multiple players to the All Blacks, and most recently the All Blacks head coach Scott ‘Razor’ Robertson.
S&C Initiative
On a side note is another initiative from the University Rugby Initiative related to Strength & Conditioning that Dave Lougheed and “For the Love of the Game” is leading. Although the varsity rugby programs at many of the universities in Canada have excellent support from their Athletics department, the same cannot be said for the majority of teams.
With the goal of making Canada’s national rugby teams among the fittest in the world, we will be embarking on a pilot with Men’s and Women’s university rugby teams to establish a national strength & conditioning and fitness tracking system using TeamBldr which many teams are already familiar with, and to provide access to third-party S&C experts where university resources aren’t available. Tracking results will of course be available for each team, but will also used for talent identification and an indicator of commitment to improving and maintaining fitness by Rugby Canada for its national age-grade and senior teams. More details will come as details are ironed out.

Remembering Paul ‘Koby’ Kobayashi with New Fund

We are pleased to announce the establishment of the Paul ‘Koby’ Kobayashi Memorial Award Fund in memory of Regina’s Paul ‘Koby’ Kobayashi.

The Paul ‘Koby’ Kobayashi Memorial Award Fund was created by Paul’s family to honour his memory and his love of rugby. The awards will recognize leadership and provide support for elite players to compete at a higher level.

About ‘Koby’

Paul ‘Koby’ Kobayashi

Paul was an athlete who excelled at any sport he played, but it was through rugby that he found a camaraderie like no other. A brotherhood.

Paul joined the Campion Grads when he was 17 and was fortunate to have an exceptional group of veteran players who mentored and developed him both personally and as a player. Whenever Paul was going through dark and tough times in his life, it was his rugby brothers who stepped up and came through for him. They were all there for each other. As a former teammate/mentor of Paul’s stated, “He who sheds his blood with me, shall always be my brother.”

In his last few months, Paul reminisced fondly about his rugby days and the Grads. He shared many stories about his rugby brothers and had many laughs. He also talked about the opportunity he had to play for the Prairie Fire and travel to Halifax and reflected on those days as some of the best times of his life.

The family wanted to honour Paul’s memory by providing two annual awards to support the game that meant so much to him.

As this is a newly established endowment fund, award amounts and timing of distribution will be dependent on raising the minimum requirements for disbursement. Applications for both awards will open at that time, and deadlines will be provided. Ideally, the Kobayashi family would like to grant two separate awards: the Koby Leadership Award for Campion Grads players only, and the Koby Excellence Award open to all Regina Men’s and Women’s Rugby Clubs.

Koby Leadership Award ($500)

  • Awarded annually to a current member of the Campion Grads RFC through a nomination process

Koby Excellence Award (Amount TBD)

  • Awarded annually to assist a current Regina Rugby Club Men’s or Women’s player who could benefit from financial support to travel for a provincial or national level rugby competition. Players planning to travel to participate in a recruitment program or I.D. camp can also qualify.

More details on the two awards are here. 

For any further inquiries or clarifications, please email kobymemorialfund@gmail.com

To make a donation towards the Paul ‘Koby’ Kobayashi Memorial Award Fund, go here: 

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.

Supporters of the UVic Vikes Men’s Rugby Club Start New Fund

Just as the University of Victoria Vikes were competing in the 2023 Coastal Cup to qualify for the 2023 Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship, supporters of the team banded together with Coach Scott Manning to establish the new Vikes Men’s Rugby Supporters Fund. The Vikes Men’s Rugby Supporters Fund was established in October 2023 as a means for the University of Victoria Men’s Rugby program to solicit, invest and use fund earnings, donations and fund-raising proceeds for the long-term and short-term needs of the program. NOTE: The Vikes earned a Silver Medal at the 2023 CUMRC, falling to arch-rivals UBC Thunderbirds in the Championship Final.

Vikes Aspirations
As Coach Manning stated, “As a program, our vision is simple: we’re looking to ‘Grow a World Class University Rugby Program’. Every decision we make attempts to build off the legacy of Vikes Rugby already established and to close the gap between where we are now and where we aspire to be.

Over the past two years, we have made strides to close that gap. We’ve brought in qualified coaches (all former Vikes!). We’ve taken The Boot back from UBC for the first time in a decade. We’ve started multiple community initiatives. We’ve taken a roster of 50% first and second years to a BC Premier League semi-final (the top Sr. Men’s rugby club competition in North America). And we’ve recruited competitively, with 8 out of 24 members from the 2023 Canada U18 team choosing to join our program. The future is bright!

We want to be the #1 choice for Canadian rugby players to develop as players and as people. To be competitive in creating the best national varsity rugby program, we put a premium on creating the right environment, including coaching, tours, equipment, strength & conditioning, educational workshops and more. Your support will directly contribute to building that environment.”

The Fund
The Vikes Men’s Rugby Supporters Fund is the Canadian Rugby Foundation’s first hybrid University Fund. Donations and contributions to this Fund consist of two parts. The first is intended to address the long-term needs of the rugby team or program through an endowment funded by 50% of the donations and fundraising. These monies are invested in perpetuity, and only disbursements of the earnings of the fund are permitted. The second 50% of donations and fundraising contributions are intended to address the short-term needs of the program through disbursements towards annual operating expenses. There is no limit to the disbursements from this part of the fund.

As is the case with all of the Foundation’s funds, any donation to the new Vikes Fund is eligible for a charitable tax receipt. These donations may be made on a one-time or monthly basis, by cheque, bank wire, credit or debit card, PayPal, or stock transfer.

Further details on the Vikes Men’s Rugby Supporters Fund, and a link to make donations to the Fund are here:

Rugby Legend Honoured with New Kevin ‘Lunk’ Wirachowski Award

Friends, colleagues in the rugby, local, international, and business community,  and family of Kevin Wirachowski recently established a new Canadian Rugby Foundation Award Fund to create a lasting legacy for the man variously known as “Lunk’, ‘Lunker’ and ‘Lunkster”.

 

The Kevin ‘Lunk’ Wirachowski Award Fund provides funding from its endowment for an annual award that furthers the broad objectives and purposes of Rugby Canada and the Canadian Rugby Foundation by assisting successful applicants with their post-secondary education, thereby helping to grow and develop rugby in Canada.

Eligibility
To be eligible for the Kevin ‘Lunk’ Wirachowski Award, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Active Participation: Applicants must demonstrate active involvement in playing rugby and a
    commitment to staying engaged in the sport. Applicant must be a current front-row player and actively engaged in developing their front-row skills
  2. Gender and Age: Applicants must be students actively participating in rugby in Canada. The award is open to all genders. Applicants must be between 17 and 24 years of age.
  3. Academic Enrollment: Applicants must be enrolled in a full-time or part-time degree (graduate or undergraduate), diploma or certificate program at a Canadian university, college or trade school, and be in good academic standing. The school program should commence in the academic year for which the award is granted. Students starting their studies in the fall semester are eligible.

 Selection Criteria:
The selection of the Kevin ‘Lunk’  Wirachowski Award recipient will be based on the following criteria:

  1. The extent to which the application, supporting letter and references demonstrate compliance with the eligibility criteria above.
  2. Contribution to the Rugby Community: Applicants should exhibit a recognized contribution to both the local community and the broader rugby community, showcasing their impact both on and off the field. Applicant must be in good standing with his or her School team, Club team, Provincial team, National Age-grade or senior team if applicable, and Community.
  3. Leadership: Demonstrated leadership on and off the field.

Further details on Lunk, the Award and Fund, and a link to make donations to the Fund are here:

Rick Bourne Among 2023 Inductees into Rugby Canada Hall of Fame

December 12, 2023 (Langford, BC) – Rugby Canada is pleased to announce the Hall of Fame class for 2023. Nine Canadian rugby icons will have their distinguished careers celebrated forever as they enter the Rugby Canada Hall of Fame.

Since the inaugural Class of 2016, the Rugby Canada Hall of Fame has recognized and welcomed the most dedicated and decorated members of Canada’s rugby community to its growing list.

The Rugby Canada Hall of Fame was established to honour and preserve rugby’s culture and heritage in Canada by recognizing the extraordinary achievements of rugby participants throughout our country.

“This year’s class of inductees to the Rugby Canada Hall of Fame showcases nine outstanding women and men who have brought honour and fame, on and off the field, to the history of rugby in Canada,” said Mike Luke, Chair Rugby Canada’s Hall of Fame Project Team. “Their skills as former international rugby players and match officials, administrators and leaders in the game, has made them great contributors to Canada’s place in the world of rugby.”

Inductees will be celebrated at the 2024 HSBC Vancouver Sevens on Saturday February 24, 2024. Tickets for the HSBC Vancouver Sevens can be purchased at vansevens.com.

Please view a brief overview of the inductees below and click on the corresponding links to learn more about each inductee’s outstanding contributions to the sport of rugby in Canada.

CLASS OF 2023

RICK BOURNE – BUILDER

Bourne has held several positions at the national and international levels, serving on Rugby Canada’s Board of Directors from 2003 to 2019, including five years as President. He was Canada’s Rugby Americas North representative from 2012 to 2019 and currently holds an active position on the board of HSBC Vancouver Sevens as well as director roles with the Canadian Rugby Foundation and the Canadian Rugby 7s Fund. Rick is also a long-time Contributing Member to the Canadian Rugby Foundation Contributing Member.

Click Here For Full Bio 

 

Complete 2023 Class Announcement: https://rugby.ca/en/news/2023/12/rugby-canada-announces-hall-of-fame-class-of-2023