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.