Canadian Rugby Foundation Newsletter – January 2023

In this issue of the Canadian Rugby Foundation Newsletter, “News & Views”, we have updates since the June 2022 Newsletter. Click here to read the complete Newsletter.

The headlines are as follow:

  • Foundation News and Announcements

 

  •  Funds News

 

  • Unrestricted Fund News

 

  • 2022 Awards News

 

  • Donation Appeal and Contact

 

 

 

As always, we look forward to hearing from you – whether rugby club executives or members, donors, representatives of our 69 Funds, rugby players of all ages and levels, and dedicated or casual rugby union fans – with your questions, suggestions, or other feedback.

And watch for the 2022 Annual Report in March, 2023.

Cheers,

Jeff Chan

2022 John Cannon Awards

We are pleased to announce that the 2022 winners of the John Cannon Awards are Jackie Kuang and Kaitlyn Meier.

Jackie was chosen as one of this year’s recipients because of her dedication to pursuing excellence in rugby and her support of her local rugby community. She has represented the Fraser Valley, Team BC, and the University of Toronto in both 15’s and 7’s and has also supported the local rugby community with your coaching efforts. Her goals of playing rugby at the highest levels (Canada 7’s and 15’s) and studying to complete a Kinesiology degree to become a physiotherapist are worthy ambitions that we hope this grant may help her pursue.

Kaitlyn was chosen as one of this year’s recipients because of her dedication to pursuing excellence in rugby and support of her local community. She has represented the Fraser Valley, Team BC, and the University of British Columbia in addition to volunteering her time to coach mini-rugby and support local community initiatives. Her goals of developing her rugby skills while studying to become a registered nurse are worthy ambitions that we hope this grant may help her pursue.

The John Cannon Memorial Fund was established in 2016 following John’s passing. The Fund’s purpose is to provide financial assistance to aspiring Abbotsford rugby players who wish to pursue representative rugby. The first grant was awarded in 2017 and grants have been awarded in all subsequent years. To date over $7,000 in grants have been awarded as follow:

  • 2017 – Tausani Levale
  • 2018 – Jake Thiel, Mackenzie Carson
  • 2019 – Josh Thiel, Noah Bain
  • 2020 – Kyra Peary
  • 2021 – James Thiel, Shalaya Valenzuela
  • 2022 – Jackie Kuang, Kaitlyn Meier

John Cannon, who was described as one of the best rugby players to have ever come out of Abbotsford, passed away on March 19, 2016, at the age of 35. John began playing rugby in high school, first playing rugby at WJ Mouat Secondary and then for Abbotsford Senior, from where he graduated in 1998. He first represented Canada on an Under-17 tour to England in 1996 at the age of 15, followed by the Canada U-19s at age 17, Pacific Pride at age 19. He earned his first Senior Men’s cap at age 20, and a total of 39 caps (31 at 15s and 8 at 7s.)  He played 6 years in England in what is now the Championship League.

Call for applications including a cover page template and application form are posted on the Abbotsford Rugby Club website (https://www.abbotsfordrugby.com/) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/abbotsfordrugby).

2022 CANADIAN UNIVERSITY MEN’S RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP

 

December 4 saw the finale of the 2022 Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship (CUMRC) brought to you by Raymond James and Lougheed Wealth Management. Once again, the UBC Thunderbirds were victorious, winning their fourth championship in five years, and defeating the McGill Redbirds convincingly in the Gold medal match 48-5.

This year’s tournament was hosted by the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC from November 30-December 4.  34 teams competed this year to qualify for the CUMRC through their conference or regional leagues, an increase of 17 per cent from the inaugural 2017 tournament. Eight teams from all regions of Canada won the right to compete at the CUMRC. Returning from 2021 were UBC, UVic, Calgary and Guelph with Trinity Western, Laurier, McGill and Memorial joining them this year.

RESULTS

The results from the twelve matches played over three days follow.  All matches were streamed on The Rugby Network (Links shown):

Quarter-finals

  • TWU 23, Uvic 22 – https://www.therugbynetwork.com/videos/2022-canadian-universities-mens-rugby-championship-quarterfinal-uvic-vs-twu-replay
  • Guelph 28, Memorial 22 – https://www.therugbynetwork.com/videos/2022-canadian-universities-mens-rugby-championship-quarterfinal-guelph-vs-memorial-replay
  • UBC 53, Calgary 0 – https://www.therugbynetwork.com/videos/2022-canadian-universities-mens-rugby-championship-quarterfinal-ubc-vs-calgary-replay-1
  • Laurier 23, McGill 22 – https://www.therugbynetwork.com/videos/2022-canadian-universities-mens-rugby-championship-quarterfinal-laurier-vs-mcgill-replay-1

 Consolation Semi-finals

  • UVic 36, Laurier 12 -https://www.therugbynetwork.com/videos/uvic-vs-laurier-2022-canadian-university-mens-rugby-consolation-semifinal-replay
  • Memorial 29, Calgary 14 – https://www.therugbynetwork.com/videos/guelph-vs-ubc-2022-canadian-university-mens-rugby-championship-semifinal-replay

 Championship Semi-finals

  • UBC 37, Guelph 17 – https://www.therugbynetwork.com/videos/guelph-vs-ubc-2022-canadian-university-mens-rugby-championship-semifinal-replay
  • McGill 17, Trinity Western 11 -https://www.therugbynetwork.com/videos/mcgill-vs-twu-2022-canadian-university-mens-rugby-championship-semifinal-replay

 Final Day

  • 7 vs. 8:Calgary 20, Laurier 12 -https://www.therugbynetwork.com/videos/2022-canadian-university-mens-rugby-consolation-final-7v8-live-replay
  • 5 vs. 6: UVic 52 , Memorial 15 – https://www.therugbynetwork.com/videos/2022-canadian-university-mens-rugby-consolation-final-5v6-live-replay
  • Bronze medal:Guelph 32, TWU 31 – https://www.therugbynetwork.com/videos/2022-canadian-university-mens-rugby-championship-bronze-medal-match-replay
  • Gold medal:UBC 48, McGill 5 – https://www.therugbynetwork.com/videos/2022-canadian-university-mens-rugby-championship-final-replay

Finishing Results

  • 8th: Laurier Golden Hawks
  • 7th: Calgary Dinos
  • 6 th: Memorial Seahawks
  • 5th: UVic Vikes
  • 4th: Trinity Western Spartans
  • Bronze medal: Guelph Gryphons
  • Silver medal: McGill Redbirds
  • Gold medal: UBC Thunderbirds


Bob Frid/UBC

Bob Frid/UBC Athletics)

(Bob Frid/UBC Athletics)

Photos from the tournament can be seen here

At the 2022 CUMRC Awards banquet on December 3,  eight players – one from each team – were presented with the Lt. Col. W.D.C. Holmes Award recognizing their contributions to the game of rugby off-the-field. Full story.

Also at the banquet, the inaugural Liam Geddes Memorial Award was presented to Relmu Wilson-Valdes of UBC as the outstanding back-row player in the tournament. Full story

And finally, the McGill University Redbirds were named as the second winners of the Jeff Chan Spirit of Rugby Team Award. The Redbirds were selected by the Toronto Arrows selection panel, the tournament officials, and the CUMRC Board, based on their demonstration of the spirit, values, and culture of the game of rugby including respect for their opponents and the officials, competitiveness, good sportsmanship, and community building over the course of the CUMRC tournament.

 
Gabi Saini/UBC

Following the tournament, the First and Second Team All Stars were announced.

SPONSORS

The 2022 CUMRC Tournament had the generous support of the following sponsors:

  • Title sponsor: Raymond James
  • Presenting sponsor: Lougheed Wealth Management – Raymond James
  • Sustaining sponsors: The Canadian Rugby Foundation, Langara Fishing Adventures, Pemberton-Holmes, Toronto Arrows, and Michael Holmes.
  • All Stars sponsor: Toronto Arrows
  • Game Sponsors: “For the Love of the Game”
  • Player of the Game Sponsors: University of British Columbia
  • Official Tournament Balls provided by: Gilbert Canada
  • Continuing supporter: Rugby Canada
  • Host university: University of British Columbia
  • Host university sponsors: Sport Tourism Vancouver, VIA Sport, and the Province of British Columbia, Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel

2023 CUMRC

 

 

The 2023 CUMRC returns to British Columbia November 15-19 hosted by Trinity Western University in Langley, BC. See you next year!

 

SAMANTHA REBITT WINS 2022 COURTNEY TAAFFE AWARD

We are pleased to announce the winner of the 2022 Courtney Taaffe Award is Samantha Rebitt.

Samantha is a second-year student at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, pursuing a double major in Biology and Environmental Science. She currently plays scrum half for the Dalhousie Women’s club team, but her ties to rugby start on Vancouver Island, in BC.

Samantha grew up in the Comox Valley, attending GP Vanier high school, where her love for rugby began. She joined the Vanier rugby team in grade 9, and her passion for the sport grew over her high school years, turning her into a captain of the senior girls’ rugby team. Currently she keeps up with the sport by not only playing for Dal, but also by returning to help coach the Vanier girls’ rugby team when she is back on the island.

Besides rugby, Samantha enjoys many other sports including mountain biking and volleyball. She is also a member of the Rotaract Club of Halifax, helping give back to her community, and is passionate about the environment and nature.

Currently, her future plans include either conservation ecology or teaching, spending lots of time in nature, and of course, continuing to be involved in the rugby community.

Samantha would like to thank everyone involved in the Canadian Rugby Foundation for their continual devotion to the sport and is extremely honoured and grateful to receive the 2022 Courtenay Taaffe Memorial Award.

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The Courtney 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.  This scholarship 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 scholarship 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.

For more information on the Courtney Taaffe Award and Fund, go here: https://canadianrugbyfoundation.ca/index.php/support-a-fund/scholarship/courtenay-taaffe-memorial-scholarship/

INAUGURAL LIAM GEDDES MEMORIAL AWARD GOES TO UBC’S RELMU WILSON-VALDES

The inaugural Liam Geddes Memorial Award was presented to UBC Thunderbird Relmu Wilson-Valdes at the 2022 Canadian University Rugby Championship awards banquet on December 3, 2022.

The Award is named after the late Liam David Geddes, a Queen’s varsity rugby player who passed away earlier in 2022. Liam played in the back row for the Gaels at the 2018, 2019 and 2021 CUMRC tournaments and the Award will now be presented annually to the outstanding back row player at the tournament.

Liam’s parents, Dr. Alison Longhorn-Geddes and Colin Geddes attended the entire tournament at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium, and while on their extended trip from Lindsay, ON even had time to take in a concert from their hometown favourite band, the Barenaked Ladies. Wearing their trademark orange Queen’s Rugby toques, Colin and Alison were recognizable anywhere in the crowd, and made many new friends in the university rugby community from across Canada.

The 2022 winner of the Liam Geddes Memorial Award is UBC’s No. 8, Relmu Wilson-Valdes, who was also named to the tournament First XV All Star team. He scored 2 tries in UBC’s opener against Calagry and was named the Thunderbird’s player of the game. In the second game versus Guelph, Wilson-Valdes scored one try and in their Gold Medal winning game versus the McGill Redbirds, he scored UBC’s opening try after just 4 minutes. Relmu was also a finisher for UBC in their game against Queen’s in the 2021 CUMRC, the last competitive game played by Liam.

 

Shown below, Wilson-Valdes receives his trophy, a keeper plaque, and a symbolic cheque for $1,000 which will go to his Athletic Financial Award or towards tuition.

 

For more information on the Liam Geddes Memorial Award and to donate to the Fund, go here: https://canadianrugbyfoundation.ca/index.php/support-a-fund/scholarship/liam-geddes-memorial-award-fund/

2022 Lt. Col. W.D.C. Holmes Awards

The second annual Lt. Colonel W.D.C. Holmes Awards were recently 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 Vancouver, BC.

The Lt. Col. W.D.C. Holmes Awards are presented by Foundation Chair Michael Holmes in memory of his late father Lt. Col. 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 teams were recognized for their off-field contributions to the game of rugby at their university and community in the past year, while their university team’s Athletic Financial Awards (AFAs) were 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 3, 2022 – Women’s Rugby

The following rugby student-athletes were honoured at the U SPORTS women’s rugby championships:

LAVAL – Annabelle Parent 

Year: 5, Program: Sports Intervention

Annabelle is a driving force in rugby development in the Quebec City region. As a rookie rugby ambassador, she has introduced over 3000 kids to the game in the past year. Last summer, she completed an internship with Rugby Quebec and organized a provincial 7’s tournament. She also coached academies aimed at 14 to 19 years old athletes in the winter and summer. This fall, she keeps transmitting her passion to the next generation of players by coaching at a CEGEP, while performing at a high level as a player in the university league.

OTTAWA – Ngozi Mosindi 

Year: 3, Program: Criminology

Ngozi is a third year criminology student. Ngozi’s main off-field role is in player recruitment. For the past two years, Ngozi has been in constant contact with recruits by attending various tournaments across Ontario, hosting zoom meetings, supporting trial days, and maintaining connections.

Whilst her on field role continues to grow, where Ngozi has shaped this program is her involvement with the Ottawa community. She has been an active member of Gee-Gees Women’s Rugby Task Force for Equity and Diversity, hosting various workshops and working with community members in ensuring safer spaces for teammates, particularly young women and girls of colour. Ngozi was instrumental in getting our Jump Start grant funded LEAD program off the ground. LEAD – Leadership Equity Athletes Diversity –  is a program intended to keep young girls in sport. Her efforts have proven invaluable as a local area high school now has a sustainable rugby program.

UBC – Rory Wood

Year: 5, Program: Kinesiology

Rory has well as working hard on her game, and in the classroom Rori has been a coach in the Vancouver Thunderbirds mini-rugby program that runs for 20 weeks during the school year.  Has well as being a coach Rori put her time in to help with practice planning.  Rori has also been a big help with the UBC rugby academy, as well as supporting the younger student athletes within the program.

VICTORIA – Soleil Brooks

Year: 2, Program: Indigenous Studies

Soleil joined our program in 2021 and has been an integral part of building and living our team values, as well as driving our team culture in a positive way. Soleil is a leader on and off the field and is passionate about uplifting BIPOC voices in the community and at the university.  In her first year on the team, Soleil helped organize Black History Month education and led a teamwork shop and discussion. Soleil is a member of the Varsity Leadership Council as the women’s rugby representative and embodies all the values of our team – dedication, passion, respect, connection and trust.  As part of this council, Soleil is dedicated to being a voice for the BIPOC student-athletes.

Soleil is currently pursuing an undergrad in Indigenous Studies and is interested in going onto the post-degree professional program (PDPP) in the Faculty of Education.  She wishes to make a positive impact on the lives of BIPOC youth.

Outside of the Vikes rugby program, Soleil coaches with The British Columbia Grassroots Rugby Foundation, a rugby-centred community development non-profit organization that uses rugby as a tool for social good.  The community rugby program ensures that youth in priority neighbourhoods have opportunities to participate in rugby opportunities.  Rugby has been a huge part of Soleil’s life and providing positive opportunities to others is important to her.  She is dedicated to growing the game in our community, especially for BIPOC youth. I have no doubt Soleil will continue to be a leader on and off the field and achieve her goals.

QUEEN’S – Amelia Stapley

Year: 5, Program: Graduate Studies

Amelia is an incredible ambassador of our program, providing mentoring and guidance to our 1st and 2nd year team members, working actively to create a more inclusive Queen’s Athletics community, and balancing the demands of post-graduate studies and teaching duties. Amelia has also volunteered her time at her local rugby club, coaching mini-rugby and helping pass on her love for the sport.

GUELPH – Brianna Martey

Year: 4, Program: Psychology/Molecular Biology and Genetics

Brianna coaches Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute girls rugby team and

Coached the Guelph Rugby Club U18 team this summer.

She is on the “She’s Got Game” committee which builds the scholarship fund for female athletes at the University of Guelph, and is also on the EDI Committee at the Dept of Athletics to improve the experience of BIPOC athletes at Guelph

UPEI – Brinten Comeau

Year: 5, Program: Sociology

Brinten has been a co-captain for the Panthers the past three seasons.  She has been my top performer since she arrived as a rookie.

She gives countless hours back to the program each year, but especially this off season.  I can count on Brinten to take on any task I need and it’s always completed efficiently.  Whether it’s answering questions around strength and conditioning, volunteering in the community, team kit orders or setting up team/captains meetings.  She is someone I count on, on a daily basis.

Also, she was involved with the Nova Scotia Keltics U19 program this summer. She was the team manager/assistant coach.  She helped organize and plan a trip to the Atlantic championships in NL, where her team won a gold medal.

She’s had an incredible season!  She is my top defensive player, leads the team in dominant tackles, line breaks and rucks hit.  Brinten had a team high with eight try’s, was an AUS all star at back row, AUS MVP and will be recognized at the awards banquet tonight as a 1st All Canadian. Only the second time that’s happened in our program and not since 2006.  Also, she was an academic All Canadian.

ACADIA – Kenzie Cecchetto

Year: 1 (Graduate), Program: B.Ed

Kenzie is one of our Acadia team captains and assists in the organization of our team-led community events and provides mentorship for young rugby players  within our squad.

For her home club of Valley Rugby Union, she has been involved in coaching both rookie and junior levels- taking a grassroots approach to introducing the sport and fostering a love of rugby at a young age. She also assists in coaching at the high school level for her former school, Kings Edgehill, where she encourages her athletes to continue playing for their local club and at the provincial level. Provincially, she is an assistant coach for the U16 Keltics team, and she has captained the U23 NS Keltics provincial team as well as playing with the Sr. Women’s Keltics.

 

December 3, 2022 – Men’s Rugby

 The following rugby student-athletes were honoured at the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship (Canadian Rugby Foundation Board member Rick Bourne shown making the presentations):

CALGARY – Peter Wright

Year: 4, Program: Kinesiology

Peter is a phenomanal Human being with commitment and dedication that is unrivaled. He is a member of the exec and our equipment manager. He is the first to training and last to leave. He also organised the run for the cure this year and Gained another award for the University of Calgary as a top performer.

GUELPH – Collin Smibert

Year: 5, Program: Engineering

Collin is a vocal leader while also leading by example through his tireless work rate on and off the field.  He holds his peers accountable to their actions and sets academic and athletic standards.

McGILL – Owen Cumming

Year: 4, Program: Political Science

Owen has been the MURFC club president for 2 years and in that role organizes and oversees the leadership of our group. He is an outstanding leader both on the off the field. He is the chair of the MURFC Movember campaign and the leader of our academic mentorship program. He led the committee that hosted the 2019 Covo Cup weekend with Harvard University and leads our annual m24 fundraising campaigns. Owen volunteers with grass roots rugby in local schools and with local clubs and is a recipient of the Jean Beliveau athletic leadership scholarship at McGill.

VICTORIA – Jonas Robinson

Year: 5th, Program: Anthropology

Jonas is captaining the team for his second consecutive year as he finishes up his degree in anthropology. Jonas leads first through his actions, ensuring that he is demonstrating the traits necessary to success at a team level. When it comes to being a vocal leader, Jonas incredibly thoughtful in how he addresses the team. Simply put, when Jonas speaks, people listen, and there is an effect. Jonas is a champion for pushing conversations in our group beyond rugby. His willingness to address difficult, nuanced, and current evolving topics will leave a lasting impact on the culture of our program.

LAURIER – Dylan Di Girolamo

Year: 4, Program: Communication Studies

“He is just as determined to make a difference of the pitch as a leader on campus and in the community.

He created inventive ways to help out people in the community and had the drive to make it happen. Most notably, McNee and Di Girolamo organized a food and clothing drive for Optimism Place, a shelter for women and children, and delivered two pick-up trucks full of clothing and food for their efforts.  He was the co-recipient of the 2022 OUA Men’s Rugby Community Service Award along with his Teammate Adam McNee.”

MEMORIAL – Lucas Shortall

Year: 2, Program: Business

Lucas has been involved with Newfoundland rugby since U14 and is heavily involved at all levels of play over the last few years. He now volunteers coaching our mini rugby program, where he started. He provides our team excellent on and off-field leadership

TWU – Erik Nieburh

Year: 4, Program: Psychology with a Human Services certificate

On the field Erik is a powering leader, leading the way in tackles, strong carries and lineout precision. Off the field, Erik along with fellow teammate Fynn Murphy coached the D.W. Poppy Secondary Junior Boys rugby team. Along with coaching Erik is also heavily involved in his practicum at Wagner Hills Rehabilition Center. Finally, Erik is one of the leaders for the Men’s Rugby mandatory study hall.

UBC – James Bliss

Year: 1, Program: Arts

Having previously played for Durham University, the Pacific Pride, and representing Canada at the U20 level, in his first year with UBC, James has established himself as a first team player thanks to his on-field performance, leadership, and commitment to growth.

UBC coaching staff are excited about James’ potential and look forward to supporting his continued growth in a leadership role within the team in the coming years.

Introducing the David Robinson Memorial Award Fund

We are pleased to announce that The David Robinson Memorial Award Fund was established in today following the passing of noted Alberta and national Rugby official and educator David R. Robinson.

The 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 while meeting CRA requirements. The award is presented annually to a rugby student-athlete entering or already enrolled in a university or college who has been actively participating as a rugby player, coach, official, administrator or volunteer at the club or high school level, and who has expressed an interest in continuing their rugby involvement as an official.

The David Robinson Memorial Award is named for David Russell Robinson.

David Robinson Bio

On Saturday, October 15, 2022, we lost David Robinson, an outstanding member of the rugby community. David was an active referee for 30 years in Alberta and British Columbia but was often found refereeing around the world. David never missed an opportunity to take his boots and whistle with him on his travels, creating a legacy of having refereed in over 20 countries. David was often seen talking to new match officials about his global referring experience. On the field, David was willing to help whenever and wherever he was needed, from his annual run at the Stampede Rugby 7s, shadowing new match officials, refereeing age-grade matches, or the highest level of Provincial tournaments and Provincial finals. David’s community involvement was not limited to the field. David never missed an opportunity to host a visiting match official. He opened his home, shared his family and community, and ensured everyone got the most out of their visit and the game of Rugby, which he loved. David was a founding member of the Rugby Alberta Match Officials’ Association (RAMOA) and sat on its first board, serving as both treasurer and president during his time. David’s connections during his travels played a key role in helping RAMOA set up ongoing Match Official exchanges in Northern California. ln recent years, David became World Rugby Educator, influencing hundreds of new match officials with his personality and style. ln addition he became a Citing Commissioner for World Rugby and Major League Rugby and has been involved in several tournaments throughout Canada, the USA, and the Caribbean. Our thoughts and condolences go out to David’s family, friends and the community he tirelessly served. A life well lived in service of others is a life we should all celebrate. – Rugby Alberta

David was a founding member of the Rugby Alberta Match Officials’Association GAMOA) and sat on its first board, serving as both treasurer and president during his time. David’s connections during his travels played a key role in helping RAMOA set up ongoing Match Official exchanges in Northern California. David was often seen talking to new match officials about his global refereeing experience. David never missed an opportunity to take his boots with him on his travels, creating a legacy of having refereed in over 20 countries. On the field, David was willing to help whenever and wherever he was needed, from his annual run at the Stampede Rugby 7s, shadowing new match officials, refereeing age-grade matches, or the highest level of Provincial tournaments and Provincial finals. David’s community involvement was not limited to the field. David never missed an opportunity to host a visiting match official. He opened his home, shared his family and community, and ensured everyone got the most out of their visit and the game of Rugby, which he loved. – Rugby Canada

While details of the Award application process are in development, the selection criteria will include:

1. High school graduate from Alberta
2. Enrolled in or entering a Canadian university or college
3. Academic achievements
4. Rugby achievements and involvement
5. lnterest in officiating

To continue David’s legacy and honour his contributions to rugby, GO HERE TO DONATE TO THE DAVID ROBINSON MEMORIAL AWARD FUND AND SCROLL DOWN TO THE FUND NAME:

 

Announcing the Liam Geddes Memorial Award Fund

We are pleased to announce the establishment of the Liam Geddes Memorial Award Fund at the Canadian Rugby Foundation. The Award is named in honour of Liam David Geddes (October 27, 1999 – March 11, 2022).

The Liam Geddes Memorial Award is intended to provide funding from its endowment for an annual award presented initially to the outstanding back row player at the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship (CUMRC) and later when appropriate, the national university men’s Back Row Player of the Year, consistent with the broad objectives and purposes of Rugby Canada and the Canadian Rugby Foundation to develop and grow rugby across Canada, while meeting CRA requirements. The Fund has been kickstarted with donations from Liam’s family and friends.

Liam loved hard, worked hard, and played hard. Liam first began to play rugby for his high school, in Lindsay, ON. He went on to play with the Lindsay Rugby Club, and represented Ontario with U17 and U18 squads. He was a varsity athlete with the Queens Men’s Rugby Program, helping them to achieve gold medals in OUA finals in 2018, 2019, and silver in 2021. He represented Queen’s Men’s Rugby at the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship (CUMRC) in 2018 in Victoria, 2019 in Montreal, and most recently 2021 in Kingston.

At the time of his passing, Liam was a 4th-year student at Queens University, about to graduate with Honours with a B.Sc. in Kinesiology. He was an academic all-star during all four years of his studies, and was awarded his degree posthumously in June 2022. His plans for further schooling, with the ultimate goal of acceptance into medical school, were unfortunately cut short by his untimely death.

Liam was known by all for having a kind heart, quick wit, and keen intellect. He was ever humble and known to give the greatest bear hugs to anyone he was with. Liam was also known for being a clothes horse, with an eye for style. In addition to being very close to his parents, sisters and extended family, he had an extremely large group of well-loved friends throughout his home in Kawartha Lakes, ON, as well as his second home in Kingston, ON. Liam was tenacious on the rugby field from his position in the back row, but he also had a kind and caring spirit and was ever ready to lend a helping hand, or a compassionate ear.

Liam had registered as an organ donor of his own accord several years before his passing. Through his gift of organ donation, Liam was able to profoundly impact the lives of 4 organ donor recipients (lung, liver, and both kidneys), and their families.

You can continue Liam’s legacy through the Liam Geddes Memorial Award Fund by making a donation to the endowment fund here and scrolling down to the Fund name.

Liam Geddes Article 20221027

Thomas Family Award Winners 2021

MARINA SKAKUN

Birthplace: Brentwood Bay, BC
Favourite memory growing up: Digging in the garden for bugs with my Papa
Position played: Eight man and 7’s prop
First-year playing rugby: 2017
Favourite Coach(es): Brad Hart, Richard Cook and Oliver Winser.
Most influential people in life: My family, coaches and mentors.
Favourite rugby memory: Getting to participate and win 3 Provincial championships with Castaway Wanderers.
Worst rugby memory: Getting stuck in an airport for 10 hours after a tour.
Favourite movie: Guardians of the Galaxy
Favourite musician: Post Malone
Favourite book: The Old Man and the Sea
Career Plans: Registered Nurse
Rugby goals in the next two years: Play for the U19 and U20 Women’s Canada National teams
Fun fact about you: I have a boat named after me and all my pets are named after fish.
Your social media handles: Instagram: Marinaskakun_



HELEN STONEY

Birthplace: I was born in Ottawa, but was raised in Gagetown NB.
Favourite memory growing up: I remember how my brother and I used to sit on the floor or outside and make up elaborate stories and play for hours.
Position played: In high-school I played 15 and I play 8 in university.
First-year playing rugby: 2018
Favourite Coach: Marissa Walcott and Bailey Andrews.
Most influential people in life: My mom and dad, and my supervisors at the summer camp I work at.
Favourite rugby memory: Playing in grade 12 with my best friend, and my first game as a Bishops Gaitor.
Worst rugby memory: Having my grade 11 season canceled due to Covid.
Favourite movie: San Andreas.
Favourite musician: whiterosemoxie and Rex Orange County.
Favourite book: Probably the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the philosophers stone.
Career Plans: Become a sports medicine doctor, or a surgeon.
Rugby goals in the next two years: Continue playing for Bishops University and play in Australia or New Zealand during a term abroad.
Fun fact about you: I’m a certified lifeguard and canoe instructor.
Your social media handles: Instagram- helen_stoney03

George Jones Award Winners 2021

EMBER WARREN

Birthplace: Truro, NS
Favourite memory growing up: My mother and I went on a road trip along the coast of California a few years ago and it was an incredible experience.
Position played: I’ve played every position in the forwards but have mostly focused on hooker.
First-year playing rugby: 2017 (9th grade)
Favourite Coach: My very first club and High School coach, her name is Meghan MacEachern.
Most influential people in life: Meghan MacEachern, as mentioned above, as well as some of the upper year players on my university team, they are so unbelievably incredible.
Favourite rugby memory: When I played for U16 Rugby Nova Scotia we were playing team New Brunswick in the gold medal game after having lost to them 3 times in the season. It ended up going into double overtime and we won!
Worst rugby memory: I unfortunately tore my ACL and meniscus over the summer, and had to have surgery and am currently in a very long recovery process.
Favourite movie: The Shawshank Redemption
Favourite musician: Hozier
Favourite book: Where the Crawdads Sing
Career Plans: Something in the field of Aerospace Engineering
Rugby goals in the next two years: Make a full recovery from surgery and play my first University game.
Fun fact about you: I absolutely love crocheting.
Your social media handles: Instagram: Emberwarren_


CARISSA NORSTEN

Birthplace: Saskatoon SK, Canada
Favourite memory growing up: Swimming, water sports and Camping with family and friends at the north Saskatchewan river down the hill from where I live.
Position played: Wing
First-year playing rugby: 2019
Favourite Coach:Robin MacDowell and Kayla Mack.
Most influential people in life: My dad for always giving me sports advice and just life advice in general and for always pushing me to do my best. My mom for always making sure I tried every sport available and always encouraging me to be the best I could be in school and sports. Robin MacDowell being a great example of how hard work pays off and that if you chase your dreams and put in the effort you can accomplish them.
Favourite rugby memory: Playing my first season of rugby with my sister Christina who I grew up playing sports with and winning our last game at CanWest together.
Worst rugby memory: Tearing my ACL at a Senior Women’s 15’s practice.
Favourite movie: The Amazing Spiderman 2
Favourite musician:Morgan Wallen
Favourite book:The Harry Potter Series.
Career Plans: Doctor of Medicine.
Rugby goals in the next two years:Join the Maple Leafs and play on the world sevens series.
Fun fact about you: I love snowmobiling and dirtbiking on the farm at home.
Your social media handles:Instagram: @carissa.norsten


SIERRA STEWART

Birthplace: Lacombe, Alberta
Favourite memory growing up: Going on trips with my family.
Position played: Flank, Centre
First-year playing rugby: 2017
Favourite Coach: Kessie Stefanyk & Erika Green
Most influential people in life: My family
Favourite rugby memory: Getting to travel with my team to places like Vancouver to compete and watch HSBC Canada sevens!
Worst rugby memory: Not being able to play rugby for over a year due to a knee injury that required surgery.
Favourite movie: Lilo and Stitch
Favourite musician: Passenger
Favourite book: Paper Towns
Career Plans: I am currently working towards my Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, and hope to work in a pediatrics unit!
Rugby goals in the next two years: I have been cleared to return to rugby after my surgery and plan to get comfortable playing again and hope to play on a varsity team.
Fun fact about you: I love being outdoors and going hiking.
Social media handles: @sierra.stewart


MARYSHEA REDDON

Birthplace: Kenora, ON
Favourite memory growing up: Going to rugby games
Position played: Front Row
First-year playing rugby: 2011
Favourite Coach: Andy Clark
Most influential people in life: My rugby team-all of them
Favourite rugby memory: Nicaragua Tour with Nomads 2020…though I don’t remember much of it.
Worst rugby memory: Social Distanced Pandemic Training
Favourite movie: Brooklyn
Favourite musician: The Arkells
Favourite book: The Undomestic Goddess
Career Plans: I want to be a shop welder, then maybe a fabricator
Rugby goals in the next two years: Winter training with the Crusaders after Christmas, then a tournament, hoping to expand the womens team.
Fun fact about you: I also play goalie on a hockey with the other welders in my class.
Your social media handles: @maryreddon instagram.


David Symington

DAVID SYMINGTON

Birthplace: Williams Lake British Columbia, Canada
Favourite memory growing up: Being active with my dad while playing rugby, surfing, cricket, hiking, etc.
Position played: flyhalf, outside center, wing
First-year playing rugby: 2013
Favourite Coach: Jas Purewal (Port Alberni Black Sheep)
Most influential people in life: My parents
Favourite rugby memory: Highschool Rugby Provincials 2019
Worst rugby memory: Breaking my collarbone
Favourite movie: Spider-man
Favourite musician: Midnight Oil
Favourite book: The Hobbit
Career Plans: Pursue a career in independent film making
Rugby goals in the next two years: Play club rugby and have as much fun as I can while becoming the best player I can be
Fun fact about you: I really enjoy cooking
Your social media handles: Instagram: david_symington_ TikTok: david_symington


JEFF STINSON

Birthplace: Calgary, Alberta
Favourite memory growing up: Skiing at Sunshine with my family
Position played: Inside-center mostly, a little flanker
First-year playing rugby: 1999
Favourite Coach: I can only remember his first name, Johnny. He was from New Zealand and he introduced me to the sport.
Most influential people in life: my 2 daughters
Favourite rugby memory: Taking the high school team I coach to our school’s first-ever provincial championship (even though we lost)
Worst rugby memory: Not being allowed to field a team in 2020 due to Covid-19.
Favourite movie: Pulp Fiction
Favourite musician: Jimi Hendrix
Favourite book: Nineteen Eighty-Four
Career Plans: To finish my Masters and continue coaching and teaching.
Rugby goals in the next two years: To get my team back into competitive shape after Covid interruptions.
Fun fact about you: I accidentally stole someone’s quad on the island of Santorini (my key worked on their identical quad). I was arrested for 15 minutes. An honest mistake, we’ve all done it!
Your social media handles: I’m actually the only person in the world not on any Social Media. You can email me at: jeffrey.stinson@cssd.ab.ca


DEMETRI PATTERSON

Birthplace: Calgary, Alberta
Favorite memory growing up: My favorite memory growing up has to be the time spent during the summer on the Vancouver coastline swimming, exploring, and cliff jumping with my buddies.
Favorite Coach: My favorite coach would have to be Perino Zambon of Rockridge High School Rugby. His effort, along with fellow coach and teacher Scott Lawson, created a phenomenal rugby program at Rockridge secondary. I owe to that team countless memories, some of my best friends, and my love of the game of rugby.
Favorite movie: Snatch, directed by Guy Ritchie
Favorite Musician: Bob Marley
Most Influential People: My mother, father, and my close friends are the biggest influences in my life. Seeing how hard my parents work to create the best life possible for me is inspiring. I owe 100% of my success to them and all the things they have done to both support me and push me in whatever I choose to do. I’m extremely lucky to be surrounded by such great people.
Position played: Back Row
Favorite Rugby memory: I have too many favorite rugby memories to pick just one. A rugby memory that I really believe embodies the spirit of the game was after the devastating cancellation of our senior season. We self-organized and refereed a 7’s tournament. It was unsurprisingly a disaster but a great time.
Worst rugby memory: My worst rugby memory has to be getting taken out of the high school city championships with an injury. Losing that game and not being able to play in a city championship was pretty sour, however, we were given the opportunity to go play for the BC provincial tournament.
Career plans: I hope to graduate from university and become a human rights lawyer. I would like to be a professional athlete and help make the world a better place.
Rugby goals for the next two years: In the next two years I hope to get named to a Team Canada Rugby squad.
Favorite Book: I have too many favorite books to count. If I had to pick one at the moment, it’s Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela.
Fun fact about myself: At the age of 4 my family and I lived in The Bahamas for close to a year.
Social Media Handle: Instagram: Demetrijpatterson