The Olympic Hong Kong 7s Fund was created in 2006 by Randy Heward, a Director of the Canadian Rugby Foundation and John Woodward with Randy continuing to lead the Fund’s growth through fundraising activities and donations. The Fund is designed to support the National 7s team throughout the HSBC Sevens Series, and for their Olympic qualifying and participation, and to use the HSBC Sevens Series stop in Hong Kong (last held in 2019 due to COVID), as the backdrop for major fundraising activities, largely centred around the 300,000 Canadian ex-pats living in Hong Kong (the third largest Canadian population after Canada itself, and the United States).
The Canadian national team came each year hoping to win for their fans, but as an amateur team, found themselves constantly defeated by the professional squads competing from countries like Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa. Hong Kong’s Canadian ex-pats were discouraged. In 2005, while drowning their sorrows after another disappointing tournament, two such ex-pats John Woodward and Randy Heward, decided to create the Canadian 7s Fund and throw a rugby long lunch to raise money to bolster the Canadian team. The idea and support from Canadians took off and they raised a substantial amount of money.
The following year, this additional funding allowed Canada to arrive earlier in Hong Kong, bringing with them additional staff and players. The results spoke for themselves. Canada qualified as a core team globally (top 12) and won hardware for their supporters. Finally!
From $50k CAD ($375k HKD) gross raised in 2006 to the current balance of over $415K CAD net (over 2.5 million HKD), held in a Canadian Rugby Foundation Olympic and Hong Kong 7s endowment Fund and $30,000 CAD donated annually to Rugby Canada, the growing support has helped Canada become a top tier competitor internationally.
In 2012 the fund was branded and we set the goal to build a $1,000,000 CAD endowment, held in a fund managed by the Canadian Rugby Foundation. Approximately 30% of each year’s net fundraising revenue goes towards supporting Canadian players and funding the development of Rugby Canada’s national Men’s and Women’s 7s programs. The 30% goes towards hiring more coaches, training programs, the ability to enter more tournaments and the ability to search for new talent across Canada.
Our 2019 fundraising goal is not just to bring a winning team to the Hong Kong 7s, but to help finance the efforts to assemble and train a competitive national squad to compete on an international level against professionally funded countries.
The annual Canadian Rugby 7s luncheon has become a focal point to raise awareness and financial support for the team and to gather Canadian rugby supporters, but unfortunately due to the lag in tourism in Hong Kong post-COVID, no luncheon is planned for the November 2022 and March 2023 HK7s.
By providing solid, consistent funding, program managers and coaches will be able to plan in advance and work strategically to best commit the staff, players and funding, and:
- launch Coaching Development Programs that will identify and develop talented players and provide better coaching at the youth levels all across Canada, helping to create high-performance athletes for the National level.
- give the team the ability to arrive in Hong Kong prior to the IRB sanctioned tournament early to acclimatize and train together (players often play on professional contracts in different countries)
- consistently search for 20 new players a year to fill the rosters and compete at a national level, and:
- bring professional staff members such as doctors, coaches and physiotherapists – to the tournaments based on allowances of the IRB.
In 2016 we introduced the Direct to Players incentive program to raise a pool of cash to reward the players for exceptional performance specifically at the Hong Kong 7s tournament. This program sets a C$ payout to each player on the Hong Kong 7s roster based on their tournament finish. Cash payouts are made for top 9 finishes ranging from 100% of funds raised for a Cup win (1st place) to 20% for a Bowl win (9th place). Funds not paid out are set aside to ensure this program continues in the future.
Recently we raised money for an Olympic Fund as qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics progressed. And now we are looking ahead to both the resumption of the Hong Kong 7s and future Summer Olympic games.
The Canada Rugby 7s Fund wishes the team well in the 2023 season and looks forward to their future successes.
USE THE FORM BELOW TO DONATE TO THE HONG KONG AND OLYMPIC 7S FUND: