David Burnett Memorial Award Fund

The fund is to provide an annual award in the discretion of the executive of the Burlington Centaurs rugby club to a junior player of distinction, preferably from the club and preferably to a player playing representative rugby at the regional level or higher. ‎If no suitable candidate is chosen then the amount to be awarded shall be added to the capital of the fund

About David Burnett

David Burnett was born in Gloucester, England and came to Canada in the early 1970’s. Settling in Montreal, he joined the Town of Mount Royal rugby club. While there, this tenacious scrumhalf earned Canada East honors.

David Burnett’s initial contribution to rugby in Ontario was that of player as he moved to Brantford from Montreal. A move from Brantford to Burlington in the late 80’s would bring David to the Burlington Centaurs. While already a playing member of the Niagara Old Boys, David coached the Centaurs to promotion to the Senior A League in 1989 and continued for the next 5 years. It is during this time that David began his representative coaching career as the Niagara Rugby Union Senior Men’s coach leading the region into the Ontario Rugby Union Inter-Branch play.

Once finished with coaching the senior men’s sides, David was elected President of the Centaurs in 1999 and served for three years while still actively coaching with the junior age grade programs.

With club commitments finished and the demise of any Inter-Branch competition, David recognized the need for a Niagara based team that would showcase the regions rugby talent. In 2004, as chairman of the Niagara Thunder, the region entered the RCSL. In 2007, David was President of the RCSL and the Thunder reached the league final.

Despite being frustrated at the disbanding of the RCSL to make way for the Canadian Rugby Championships, David did not abandon the cause of promoting top level representative rugby to the Niagara Region. He went on to be manager of the Niagara Thunder (formerly Lightening) who participated in the National Junior Championships in 2009-2010. In 2011, David acted as Secretary for the Eastern Canada Junior Rugby Championship up until his unexpected passing.

David also was a member of the Niagara Rugby Referees Society for over 20 years. He was in charge of numerous Halton region high school rugby fixtures and also refereed Niagara Rugby Union league games.

In 2009, he joined the Waterdown District High School rugby club coaching team and succeeded to head coach the following year.

David’s sudden passing in 2011 brought to a close, contributions to rugby at all levels of the game.

David was inducted into the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame in 2013.

His legacy is not his rugby CV as outlined here, but rather the mentoring of players, coaches and administrators who carry forward his passion and desire to grow the game of rugby.