Col. W.D.C. Holmes Awards Presented at the 2021 Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship

From November 24-28, Queen’s University hosted the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship (CUMRC). The 2021 CUMRC featured eight teams from across Canada including the ultimate champion UBC and UVic from BC, Calgary from the Prairies, Guelph, Queen’s and RMC from Ontario, Concordia from Quebec, and Dalhousie from the Atlantic region.

As was the case with the U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Nationals, 8 student-athletes 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 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.

The Col. W.D.C. Holmes Awards are presented by 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. Fittingly the same Royal Military College  made its inaugural appearance in the 2021 CUMRC.

The following eight men were recognized for their contributions to the game of rugby:

Braden Gray – Royal Military College, 4th Year, Computer Engineering

Brayden is a senior computer engineering student and the team captain.   A native of Ottawa, Ontario his career choice is to serve in the Royal Canadian Navy as a Marine Systems Engineering Officer.  He has held a number of leadership position within RMC including Flight Section Commander and Squadron Sports Officer.

Aria Keshoofy – University of Guelph, 5th Year, MSc. Population Medicine

Aria has been a leader and captain for the past two season, who recently won the OUA Trillium Award this past season. Last Christmas he organized a advent donation drive which resulted in gifts and food for 9 families in need. He also helps mentor younger and incoming players.

Dawson Legere – Dalhousie University, 3rd Year, Arts

Dawson successfully recovered from two shoulder surgeries to become a most essential part of the DURFC pack. Beyond his invaluable contributions to the team, Dawson has committed himself to being an exemplary figure in the Halifax rugby community. This past summer, Dawson rose to head coach for the U-15 Nova Scotia provincial squad. At 21 years of age, he is one of the more respected figures in Nova Scotia for his playing and coaching abilities.

Logan Martin-Feek – University of   Victoria, 4th Year

Logan has been unable to compete with his team on the field this season due to injury but was previously the on-field captain and has continued to foster his leadership skills . Logan is the first guy to make sure that the players new to our program feel welcome, and that they belong. He has worked tirelessly this year to develop himself as a leader, frequently looking for professional development opportunities, and suggesting ways in which we can better our program.

Aidan McMullan – Concordia University, 2nd Year Building Engineering

Only a second year student and already recognized as a team captain, Aidan is a leader in off the field activities, he is a mentor to young aspiring rugby players, and coaches rugby in the community.

Alex Pipchuck – Queen’s University, 5th Year, Arts & Science

Alex is one of the team leaders in organizing the Run for the Cure for the Men’s Rugby Team fundraising for the past 3 years. The Gaels have been the top fund-raising team from a Canadian university and the top team from Kingston. Alex led the team to raise funds in a number of ways, including an email campaign, going door-to-door in non-COVID years, run challenges where money is donated per kilometre, and contributions from the team’s alumni.

Sam Platt – University of Calgary, 3rd Year, Law

Sam engages the community and rugby team to get involved with positive and exuberant passion. This year alone Sam serves on the Exec as the Liaison for all Charity connections. Successfully accomplished raising over $10k for breast cancer and continues to excel at engaging the team in events to better our community presence. Sam is working on an initiative to engage local high schools to share the players’ and coaches’ knowledge at the University of Calgary Dinos with the local community, while having fun and raising awareness for mental health.

Bryce Worden – UBC, 4th Year, Kinesiology

Bryce is applying to Medical School after his degree in Kinesiology. He guides and informs younger players and leads from behind and sometimes out front with the senior players.  He leads a abundant group of mini and junior rugby players at his home club.


Founded in 2017, the 2021 Toronto Arrows Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship, presented by Lougheed Wealth Management-Raymond James, marked the 4th year for the tournament. With generous  sponsor support from the Canadian Rugby Foundation, Langara Fishing Adventures, Pemberton-Holmes, Pinnacle Scouting and with the support of Rugby Canada, the CUMRC is contributing to the growth of university men’s rugby across Canada with 34 teams now competing to qualify for the tournament and two more slated  to join in 2022, when the Championship will be held at the University of British Columbia. And increasingly, the university ranks are the crucial development path for MLR’s Toronto Arrows, and and the senior national 15s team.

Inaugural Col. W.D.C. Holmes Awards Presented at the 2021 U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Championship

The Nov. 10-14 U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Championship hosted by Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, marked the first Holmes Awards recognizing off-field contributions to the game of rugby by a Canadian University Women’s Rugby student-athlete.

The Col. W.D.C. Holmes Awards are presented by Michael Holmes through the Canadian Rugby Foundation in memory of his late father, Lt. Col. W.D.C. Holmes, who won the sword of honour at RMC in 1942 before heading off to England with a commission in the British Army in the Second World War.  In his 25 year career with the British Army he fought in numerous campaigns  and was awarded both the Military Cross and the Distinguished Service Order for bravery in the Korean War.

Sixteen awards of $500 are presented to the 8 Women’s and 8 Men’s teams in the National University Rugby Championships, to go towards each team’s Athletic Financial Awards (AFAs). The award recognizes the player on each team who has best contributed to the game of rugby at their university and community in the past year. The goal is to encourage the future leaders of the sport of rugby across Canada and recognize off-the-field vs. on-field performance, Examples of factors to be considered could include organizing community events involving the team, mentoring younger players, volunteering with 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.

Eight women were recognized for their off-the-field contributions to the game of rugby, each representing the eight Universities competing at the Women’s Rugby Nationals as follow:

Sophie-Rose Pickard – Acadia University, 5th Year Kinesiology

Sophie has been a standout team player on and off the field and took the role to new heights this season. Her positive attitude and personality are infectious among the team – even if she’s having a down day. She is a go-to for anyone who need an ear to listen or a helping hand. Soph is always willing to contribute in any way she can; active participation in film sessions, practices, technical questions to provide learning moments for younger players. She is the epitome of what a rugby player is, she spins everything in a positive way and will bring her lessons from rugby her wherever life takes her. Throughout her years as a student-athlete, Soph has shown great resilience in both athletics and academic pursuits. No matter her adversities, Sophie has always remained grounded, true to herself, and have become a role model for younger players. Sophie plans to move back home to Newfoundland upon graduation to help women’s programs develop and succeed on the national stage.

Amelia Stapley – Queen’s University, 4th Year Arts & Science


Amelia has been an incredible teammate for 4 years within the Queen’s Women’s Rugby program. She is always going out of her way to support her teammates – especially our 1st years – to ensure they are well looked after.  Amelia also volunteers her time at her local rugby club, coaching mini rugby and helping pass on her love for the sport.

Dani Franada – St. Francis Xavier University, 4th Year Business

Dani is a player every coach wants to have; she makes her teammates better by just being on the field. She is a leader on the field, in the dressing room, and in the StFX leadership academy. She is respected by our younger players and is well liked by all her teammates. She is kind and considerate of others and looks to lead by example.

Annabelle Parent – Université Laval, 4th Year Intervention Sportif

Annabelle has been plenty involved in the rugby community during the covid period. She managed different programs and academies for kids between 6 and 21 years old according to public health authorities. She also volunteers to make known rugby in high school and primary school all over Quebec and his region. Despite recovering from ACL injuries, she never stops helping the growth of our sport during this period.

Rori Woods – University of British Columbia, 3rd Year Kinesiology

Rori has been a huge part as a coach and program leader with the UBC mini rugby program. This is her second year. The program runs for 8 to10 weeks in Term One and again in term two during the school year. The program runs every Sunday morning, with 50 children aged 3 to 9. Rori has also been involved in a UBC recruit camp that took place during the summer break. Rori has also supported the UBC female rugby academy as a coach and mentor to potential new recruits. Rori is also a huge part in the University leadership group.

Hannah Beaumont – University of Guelph, 5th Year Human Kinetics

Hannah is a speedster on the pitch that can score tries and track down any opponent. She’s the top try scorer this season with a whopping 10 tries. She’s courageous in contact at such high speeds and does this with a smile on her face. Hannah is an exceptional player and teammate. She has made her mark on the gryphon program and will be missed immensely following her graduation.

Ngozi Mosindi – University of Ottawa, 2nd Year Criminology

Since Ngozi has become a part of the Gee-Gees, she has been extreemely involved in all aspects of what we do on and off the field. She has been a part of our Task Force for Equity and Diversity, where she hosted a 3-part Black Women in Sport: Speaker Series. Apart from all Ngozi has done with the Task Force, she has been a main support with player recruitment. She has been in contact with recruits all fall, hosting zoom meetings, supporting trial days, and maintaining connections. In the zoom sessions, Ngozi leads recruits through their questions and gives insight to our program. Ngozi has also helped with the development of our younger players by supporting their development games and the growth of other young athletes in Ottawa. She has planned and ran sessions with the rugby team at Heritage College as well as Ashbury Colleges’ football team.

Ada Okonkwo – University of Victoria, 4th Year Masters in Public Health

Ada has been an incredible advocate and leader for the Vikes Women’s Rugby team, the Vikes athletics department, the university and in the community this past year. She is currently completing her master’s in Public Health and has a passion for uplifting the voices of the BIPOC community. Ada also organized our team to all wear orange and consulted with the indigenous community on campus to make sure our game on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was done properly and with respect. For the university, Ada is a member of the Vikes Student-athlete Leadership Council. She provides advice to Vikes Athletics Department for leadership on advancing the culture of excellence associated with varsity athletics and the student-athlete experience, as well as any issues related to BIPOC. In consultation with the Indigenous Academic & Community Engagement Department, In the community, Ada has used her voice to advance the BIPOC community. She was involved in the Black Lives Matter movement and spoke at the peaceful protests in Victoria. She also organized a peaceful protest at Victoria City Hall to bring global awareness and attention to the violation of human rights and injustices against Nigerian youths #ENDSARS.

Presentations were made by Hans de Goede a Director of the Foundation (whose daughter Sophie captained the Gold medal-winning Queen’s Gaels and was named the Tournament MVP) and Jeff Chan, Executive Director of the Foundation.




Announcing the Steven Batie Memorial Fund

The latest of the Foundation’s Awards Endowment Funds has just gone live with the creation of the Steven Batie Memorial Fund.

The Fund was created by Steven’s family in October 2021 to honour his 25-year legacy in Canadian rugby. He was a leader both on and off the pitch at the club, provincial and national U21 level and his legendary tenacity during the game was matched only by his kindness, warmth, and welcoming nature off the field.

Steven’s rugby life began with the Ladysmith Secondary School Blues Rugby Program, followed by the Nanaimo Hornets Rugby Club. After high school, Steven became a beloved member of the UVic Vikes Rugby Program for six years, meeting and playing alongside lifelong friends under the mentorship of Doug Tate.


Steve focused his education on finance following his undergrad by completing the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s (BCIT) Financial Management program. He began his career in finance in the banking industry, earned his CFP designation, and ultimately transitioned away from the traditional financial institutions to become a financial planner, investment advisor, and owner of Rothdale Pacific Wealth Management in Vancouver.

After UVic Steve went on to become a long-standing member of the Burnaby Lake Rugby Club. For 15 years, he played at every level with the club while helping coach and mentor new players. He also volunteered his time and expertise to provide additional fitness training to support players trying out for representative teams. Burnaby Lake was also where he met his wife Jean and his family is grateful to the club for embracing the entire Batie family.

Steven was also a valued member of a number of representative teams, including the Mid Island Tsunami, the Canadian U21 Men’s World Cup Team, and BC at all levels, including starting in BC Bears’ famous 2014 victory over the Uruguayan Men’s National Team.

Support of this fund will help grow the game of rugby and support the two clubs – University of Victoria Vikes Men’s Rugby program and the Burnaby Lake Rugby Club – that brought Steven so much joy and happiness during his life, in addition to keeping his spirit alive for his family.

In addition to supporting this fund, Steven’s family asks that you also honour his life and legacy by being kind – to yourself, your teammates, your friends and even strangers – for everyone you meet may be fighting a battle you know nothing about. In closing, the family has asked that we share the words Steven’s dad would say to him before every single game (and most practices) over his 25 years playing rugby:

Play Hard.
Play Safe.
And Have Fun.

The Steven Batie Memorial Fund will be officially unveiled at Steve’s Celebration of Life on November 14, 2021.

Announcing 2022 Grassroots Rugby Assistance Grants

It’s no secret that the past year and a half have been hard on grassroots rugby across Canada. With COVID-19 protocols restricting play and most forms of activity that would normally engage club members, incoming revenue has been drastically reduced if not eliminated, and membership has taken a hit with the risk that some younger players might not return at all.

The Canadian Rugby Foundation has recognized these hardships, and are making available some funding to help clubs across Canada recover from the recent months. The Foundation’s Board approved new Grassroots Rugby COVID-relief grants to assist clubs who have been hard hit this year by the effects of COVID-19. A total of $40,000 is being made available through the provincial and territorial rugby unions to assist their most affected clubs.

Each provincial union has been invited to apply for assistance to a maximum of $5,000 per union, with funding available starting January 2022 on the condition that the CRF grant is matched by the union/clubs.

The deadline for applications is November 15, 2021 at 5:00pm EST.

The email that was sent and the application form can be seen below. If your club could use this type of support, contact your provincial union for more information.

Grassroots Assistance email to PRUs 20211013
Application for Grassroots Assistance


UPDATE: The following 5 Provincial Rugby Unions applied for and were subsequently approved for $5,000 grants payable in March 2022.

  • Rugby Ontario
  • Rugby Quebec
  • Manitoba Rugby
  • New Brunswick Rugby
  • Newfoundland Rugby


2021 Elections and Appointments

At the October 7, 2021 Canadian Rugby Foundation Annual General Meeting – for the first time a virtual Zoom event – and the subsequent Board of Directors meeting, the Contributing Members and Directors made the following decisions:


Three new Directors were elected by the Members to initial 2-year terms, effective immediately. All three have been active at the club and provincial level, with two having extensive experience with Rugby Canada.

Graham J. Brown, Director, CATAPULT Career Advantage Inc.

A founding Partner and current Director with CATAPULT Career Advantage, Graham was most recently the President & CEO of U SPORTS, the national governing body for University Sport in Canada. Following his ten (10) years lecturing in the Business Faculty at the University of Toronto, Graham most recently lectured on Leadership at McMaster University’s W. Booth School of Engineering, Industry Operations Leadership & Management (IOLM) Program.

Prior to U SPORTS, Graham spent fourteen years as President & CEO of Rugby Canada where he remains a Director on the Canada 7s LLP Corporate Board and provincially on the Board of Rugby Ontario.  Graham holds both an undergraduate and graduate degree from the University of Windsor and continues to provide corporate leadership for a number of Corporate and Canadian amateur sport boards in Canada.

Jerrold D. Marriott, Consultant, Eastmount Financial Consulting Ltd.

Jerry has been actively involved in the Toronto rugby community since 1983 as a member of the Toronto Scottish RFC. He has served as a captain on the field, Director of Men’s Rugby and two extended terms as the Treasurer of TSRFC. As the current Treasurer of TSRFC, he has become an advisor to the Board of Fletcher’s Fields Limited (“FFL”) to assist in the sale of its property north of Toronto, decisions regarding the use of sale proceeds and the transition of FFL to a new role in the promotion and support of rugby in the greater Toronto area.

Jerry’s business career has involved the practice of law, corporate finance, banking, debt capital markets, debt credit ratings, financial markets regulation and consulting. Most recently, he has run a consulting practice focusing on financial institutions with issues relating to asset valuations and funding or government regulation of capital markets.

Jerry’s financial acumen has developed over a number of years. He has completed a Bachelor of Commerce, a Master in Business Administration and levels I & II of the CFA designation. He has worked in debt capital markets for over twenty years at two major Canadian banks and was a senior executive at a Canadian debt rating agency during and after the financial crisis of 2008-2009. The result is a wide-ranging understanding of asset valuation and financial markets that will provide background for active participation in the Canadian Rugby Foundation Investment Committee.

 Nick Taylor, Director of Development, Athletics & Recreation, Ryerson University

Nick stepped onto the rugby field in 1990 at Queen Elizabeth High School in Halifax NS, and other than setbacks from injuries has not yet retired from actively participating in the game as a player. Along the way, Nick competed at the Provincial level with Quebec’s U19 program, played with five clubs in Quebec and Ontario, served as a board member with three of the clubs, spent eight years as a senior leader with Rugby Canada and currently enjoys watching two of his three children with shared aspirations of playing for Canada as they play 7s and 15s rugby at club, invitational, regional and provincial levels.

Away from the field, Nick currently volunteers with Sport4Ontario and his professional career has included a variety of roles across the for profit and non-profit sectors including senior leadership positions in Canadian sport, healthcare, and academia. With experience in sales & marketing, communications & PR, sponsorship, fundraising, lotteries, and major gifts as well as in strategic planning.


The 2021-2022 Board of Directors now consists of:

  • Mike Holmes (Chair)
  • Pat Aldous (Vice-Chair)
  • Rick Bourne (Rugby Canada appointee)
  • Graham Brown
  • Hans de Goede
  • Sally Dennis (Rugby Canada appointee)
  • Neil Duke
  • Barry Giffen
  • Randy Heward
  • Jim Kellett
  • John Lecky
  • Jerry Marriott
  • Colette McAuley
  • Nick Taylor
  • Bill Webb
  • John Woodward



The Board approved the appointment of the Foundation’s Officers and Executive Committee members as follows:

  • Mike Holmes (Chair)
  • Pat Aldous (Vice-Chair)
  • John Wrafter (Treasurer, non-voting)
  • Sally Dennis (Secretary)
  • Hans de Goede
  • Jim Kellett
  • Jeff Chan (ex officio, non-voting)

The Board approved the appointment of the Investment Committee members as follows:

  • Jim Kellett – Chair
  • Jerry Marriott
  • Mike Holmes
  • Bill Webb
  • John Woodward

Lastly, the Board approved the establishment of a Governance Committee, comprising Chair Sally Dennis, Mike Holmes, and Executive Director Jeff Chan. Among the primary objectives of the new committee will be a review, update and recommended revisions to the Constitution and By-laws of the Foundation, and the establishment of a formal Nominations process.

Castaway Wanderers Fund

The Castaways Wanderers Fund was established on March 29, 2007.

The Castaways Wanderers Rugby Football Club was formed in 1989 the result of the amalgamation of the Oak Bay Wanderers (founded 1912) and the Castaway (founded 1965) Rugby organizations.

The Club proudly displays BC Championship banners from 1999 to 2002, three consecutive seasons of interlock play involving Vancouver Island and Mainland clubs – a feat accomplished by only one other BC Club – and another BC Championship in 2011.

Whether it is via Club tours of visiting teams of all ages, the National Senior Men’s Team members, players from coast to coast and internationally, or CW players currently on professional contracts, the Castaway Wanderers name and brand is known across Canada and around the world.

Pride of Program has CW looking towards the future, building on our history, continuing to improve and maintaining our status as one of the top rugby clubs in British Columbia and in Canada. To us it is about more than just eighty minutes on the pitch. The CW Rugby Program accentuates the whole rugby experience. We are a club with a foundation based on respect and honour for the game of rugby and for the manner in which the game is to be played. We are committed to the healthy development of our young players and for the people who contribute their time freely because of their love of the game and for the CW club.

Castaway Wanderers Rugby Football Club, is a member of the Discovery Street Sports Club in Victoria, BC.CWRFC is a member of the VIRU, BCRU and CRU and fields teams in Men’s Premier, First and Third Divisions along with Under 18, Under 16, Under 14 Boys and Under 16 Girls in Junior Divisions and a flourishing Mini Rugby program.

The Discovery Street Sports Club is located at 714 Discovery Street in Victoria. Home games are played at Windsor Park, 1200 Newport Avenue, Victoria or at Carnarvon Park, 2800 Henderson Road, Oak Bay.


Gerald McGavin Coaching Award Fund Reaches $200K

The Gerald McGavin Coaching Award fund has reached $200K which is good news as about 4% is available to spend annually on the award. This means it can now fund on a permanent basis 2 coaches to go down to NZ every year.

In 2013 Rameses Langston was selected for the trip to New Zealand,  he was  the BC U18 coach at the time. He is now the head coach at UBC where he led the Thunderbirds to a BC Premier title last season

In 2014 both Shane Thompson and Ken Goodland went to New Zealand to spend time with the Hurricanes Super Rugby franchise.

The BC Rugby Union administers the selection process and accepts nominations normally up to the third week of March. More information on the nomination process and deadlines can be found on the website.

About the Gerald McGavin Coaching Award:

The award recognizes rugby coaches from British Columbia who play a significant role in shaping young athletes both on and off the field. Gerald McGavin is a former BC athlete who represented his province against world-renowned sides including the Barbarians, Australia, British Lions and New Zealand Universities. Now a Member of both the Order of Canada and Order of BC, McGavin created the Award because of his love for the sport and to acknowledge the role rugby played in shaping his life. Past recipients include Rameses Langston, Jeff Williams, Martin Jones, Jason Young, Adam Roberts and Tom Larisch.

Luke Bradley 2014 Thomas Family Scholarship Winner Outstanding for Canada at U20 Level

As the 2015 Scholarship announcements are on the horizon we look back on the 2014 scholarship awards. One of the recipients was Luke Bradley of Port Alberni.

Luke went onto represent Canada at the Junior World Trophy Tournament (JWRT) and was one of Canada’s outstanding players at #8. Canada finished 2nd which matched their highest finish in recent history, they lost to Georgia who were promoted to the top tier Junior World Championship. The good news for Luke and Canada is that he has another year of eligibility at the U20 level, also look for him to get a few starts with the Vikes Premier team this season.

Here is what he wrote on his profile in 2014, he not only achieved his goal of making the Canada U20 team but he did it in style.

Well done Luke!

Luke Bradley profile from 2014

Birthplace: Port Alberni, BC
Favourite memory growing up: Hanging out with my friend Dallas
Position played: 6 or 8
First year playing rugby: Grade seven
Favourite coach: Jas Purewal
Most influential person in life: Jas Purewal
Favourite rugby memory: First time putting on the Canada jersey
Worst rugby memory: Losing to Ontario in the national championship finals
Favourite movie: 300
Favourite musician: Nickleback
Favourite book: Harry Potter
Career plans: Mechanic
Rugby goals in next 2 years: Make Canada U20
Favourite other hobby: Lifting weights