Welcome to the home of the Pirates clubhouse
The Edmonton Rugby Football Club is the oldest club in the Edmonton Rugby Union having been established in 1953. Based in North Edmonton, the Pirates field teams for Men, Women and Junior players of all ages and abilities.
We have a large modern clubhouse and three full size pitches which we use to run our wide range of rugby programs. We welcome both experienced and new players.
Besides rugby programs, the Pirates also offer a warm friendly atmosphere and a vibrant social line up throughout the year.
If you are a long-time rugby player or you are just starting to play, come out to a practice and see what the Pirates can offer you!
latest news

Google and Beer – How I Found Pirates Rugby and Why I’m Glad I Did!

February 19th, 2017

I came to the Pirates in a rather uncommon way. I’m not from Edmonton, I didn’t know a single girl on the team; I didn’t even know where the club was before I joined. Having recently moved to Fort Saskatchewan from Bonnyville, I was a new to the area and was finding it hard to meet people and make friends. Originally from Ontario, I was just getting comfortable in Bonnyville and this second move had left me without my family and with no sense of community. Needless to say, I wasn’t enjoying myself and felt pretty alone.

Enter Pirates Rugby club! After speaking (and drinking) with a friend who was coaching the Cold Lake team, I decided to end my seven-year hiatus and find a new club. Being the millennial that I am, I turned to Google to find a club close by and the Edmonton Pirates Rugby Club came up!  In my fearless, inebriated state, I emailed the women’s coach, Randi, asking about the team. She promptly replied, inviting me to come out, watch practice and meet the girls. I’ll admit, I was out of my comfort zone showing up to a practice for a team I didn’t belong to full of women I’d never met, but I got over my hesitation and showed up on a hot Tuesday in June. Randi introduced me to a couple of girls and we spoke about the schedule. I made the decision to commit to the team later that day; I missed the sport and thought that it would be a good opportunity to make some friends!

The next time I showed up to practice, Randi introduced me to the rest of the girls and I jumped right into the drills. It definitely took some work to get my skills back, but it was never something that I worried about because I always had such a good time. I can honestly say that I have never played for a team in any sport that has been so welcoming, inclusive, and supportive. Even though I was a complete stranger to these women, they made me feel like a Pirate from day one. Rugby practice quickly became the place where I could go to see my friends and have a great time, even on fitness days. Now that’s saying something.

The camaraderie extends beyond the field, too. Whether it’s going out for beers after practice, joining the team book club, or just meeting up for coffee and a good chat, I always feel welcome. What’s more, as a vegan, parties and social events usually mean going hungry for the night; but regardless of the occasion, if it’s a Pirates party, someone always makes sure I’m well fed. This club has an amazing sense of community that I count myself lucky to be a part of!

I know I’ve spoken a lot about the women’s team in particular, but I truly cannot say enough good things about this club as a whole. They’ve got strong leadership, they play fantastic rugby, and they’re great friends. So take it from me, whether you’re a guy or a girl, new to the sport, getting back into it, or a seasoned vet – if you’re looking for a club, a Pirates life is for you!


2017 Registrations

February 19th, 2017

2017 Registrations can be started by following the link below.  All registrations are online through Rugby Canada. Please click the Registration Procedures 2017 for more information.  If you still require help, please contact the registrar, Kate Childs.


Rugby and the Multi-sport Advantage

February 5th, 2017

I played everything. I played lacrosse, baseball, hockey, soccer, track and field. I was a big believer that you played hockey in the winter and when the season was over you hung up your skates and you played something else.” – Wayne Gretzky

Nothing like starting off a blog with a quote from a token famous athlete, none other than The Great One… But his words on multi-sport participation ring true. There has been a ton of recent research to support and encourage multi- sport participation, mostly of young, developing athletes, but the benefits are seen at any age and skill level. We know that being a multi-sport athlete helps to prevent injuries caused by overuse of muscles associated with repetitive movements, avoid burnout of athletes who specialize in sports too young or too quickly, and increases overall athletic ability and performance.

I was a multi-sport athlete. I grew up playing hockey in the winter, baseball in the summer, and doing competitive dance all year round. By the time I was in junior high, I took multi-sport athlete to a whole new level. I was playing on two different hockey teams (a boys and a girls team) from fall to spring, volleyball in the fall, basketball in the winter, badminton in the spring, a baseball and a softball team in the summer, and dancing all year. And this continued into high school, where I replaced badminton with rugby in the spring and summer. Some may see this as incredibly insane, I see it differently. I loved playing all these sports and how the skills from each helped to develop me in the other sports I played.

So, how does playing other sports actually benefit rugby players?


  • Basketball was literally invented to condition players for summer sports such as soccer, football, and rugby during colder months of the year.
  • The cuts and lines that players run in a basketball offense directly translate to running offensive lines in rugby, particularly for backs. Additionally, since the basketball court is smaller than the rugby field, it challenges a player to further see and find the open space to either break through a defense or to make themselves open to a pass. This means that rugby players who play basketball in the off-season or basketball players who try rugby are going to bring these offensive skills to their rugby game.
  • Concepts in basketball defense also share a common thread with rugby: focus on the waist/hips. Again, players who develop as rugby and basketball players bring this with them to their game.
  • Fitness, sprinting, and agility are also similar in basketball and rugby. Players will find that as they develop their fitness, sprinting, and agility in one sport, it will similarly benefit them in the other.
  • Height can also be an advantage in both basketball and rugby, so there’s that too for those who are blessed with height.


  • Hockey is one of the best cross-training activities for rugby because it occurs in the off-season and skating involves some different sets of leg muscles and movements , which helps to reduce muscle imbalances, prevent overuse injuries, and promote overall lower body strength.
  • Concepts of seeing and finding open space in hockey will have similar benefits to rugby as basketball.
  • Body contact and body checking in hockey can help rugby players to build strength, stability, and skills to break tackles or to handle tackles. Hockey players become comfortable with a level of physicality that is obviously useful in rugby as a full contact, tackle sport. In this way, hockey can also be used as a great off-season sport to give rugby players’ bodies a little bit of a rest from a summer of being bashed and bruised, but still offer a piece of physicality until the next rugby season begins.

Baseball/Softball/and I guess (begrudgingly) Slo-Pitch – Note: these are technically all different sports

  • One of the most useful things that baseball gives to rugby players is excellent hand-eye coordinator. The ability to hit a baseball with a bat is one of the most difficult things in sport to perform, so for those who can master this, they have incredible hand-eye abilities. Additionally, simply throwing a baseball at a target requires advanced hand-eye coordination, which is fairly critical in rugby to pass and catch the ball. Players who have previously played sports that involve throwing and catching will bring increased skills to their rugby game.
  • Some may say baseball is a slow sport, while this may be some people’s complete and utter misunderstanding, baseball has a unique strategic framework; players on the same team are positioned quite distant from each other on the field and there are sudden bursts of action preceded and followed by brief pauses in play. For baseball players, mental preparation is a key for success that transfers to every other sport they will play.
  • Upper body strength development in baseball can help rugby players to pass farther.

Dance, Gymnastics, and Figure Skating

  • Flexibility from participation in dance or gymnastics can help rugby players to reduce and prevent injuries as well as to better perform their skills. Running requires a significant amount of hip, leg, ankle/foot flexibility. Another added bonus, the more flexible you are, the less it hurts when you are tackled or rucked into really awkward positions i.e. neck, shoulder, and hip flexibility.
  • It takes an incredible level of strength to literally through oneself in the air and spin/flip/tumble. Respect.
  • Development of coordination, balance, and quick foot movements in dance, gymnastics, and figure skating improve foot speed and agility and can be helpful in avoiding tackles and offensive moves in rugby.


  • Kicking! If you’ve previously played soccer, it is 100% guaranteed that you will be asked if you can do the restarts and kick for goal/points/touch for the rugby team.
  • Foot speed and coordination are helpful in rugby and can be mastered through soccer.
  • Indoor soccer can be a great way for rugby players to improve their kicking and foot speed/coordination in the off-season.


  • Obvious parallels can be drawn between the physicality in rugby and football, though the rugby tackle is proven to be more effective and safer for players to perform than the typical football tackle. The rugby tackle emphasizes contact with the shoulder, ideally, at the waist area of an opposing player, the wrap of the arms, and drive to the ground. Conversely, the football tackle is usually executed without emphasizing the wrap of the arms, which leaves a higher probability that players will actually stay on their feet rather than go to ground. So, while football players bring their experience from another full contact, tackle sport to the game of rugby and can very quickly learn the rugby tackle, playing rugby can help improve a players skills that they can bring back to football.

Thanks to Tara Sliwkanich, former Baseball Canada national team and Rugby Canada U-20 member, for her perspective on how rugby both benefits and is benefited by participation in multiple sports.

More Than Just a Game – Why I Love Rugby

January 15th, 2017


We hear it all the time in sports, “it’s more than just a game.”  Well, you’re going to hear it again.  Rugby is more than just a game, it’s an avocation and a passion. Rugby is blood, sweat, and tears.  It’s commitment, hard work, and sacrifices.  It’s hundreds of dollars in beer, sunscreen, and mosquito repellent.  And it’s worth it all.Every rugby player has woken up on a Sunday morning and questioned why we play a game that leaves us feeling like a truck had hit us the day before, and each of us are back on the pitch the following week.  It is difficult to explain our love of rugby to someone that has never played rugby, but here is my best attempt.

One of the best things about rugby is the camaraderie. I began playing rugby 11 years ago, and my closest friends today are still those I learned to play rugby with all those years ago, and I have made countless friendships along the way.  Any rugby player, from any club, anywhere in the world will tell you that there is no bond like the bonds formed by rugby teammates (especially second rows with their front rows), and even opponents.  A rugby club is a family; whether you are a rookie, veteran, or alumnus, you will always be a part of the club, and the members of the club will always have your back. I will always, always be a Pirate. Each year I have played, I have met incredible people, from all walks of life, that I know I can count on both on and off the pitch.

Although we complain about the soreness and weather and mosquitos and fitness, we all miss weeknight practices and weekend games as soon as the season ends (well, maybe one week after), and anticipate the new season all winter.  Beyond the training and the competition, the culture and sportsmanship embedded in rugby is like no other.  Rugby can be seen as violent and intimidating, but at its core, it is a sport that is about respect, gamesmanship, and integrity as much as it is about the backwards pass.  We all train to be the best, and we all play to win; but at the end of the day, we are all there and we sacrifice so much to be there, not because anyone pays us or watches us, but because we just love to be there.

Rugby is much more than “just a game.” However, it is a game, and it is a game that is dynamic, physical, inclusive, and fun to play. I love rugby because anyone can play, regardless of size or ability.  I love rugby because being a good rugby player isn’t all about speed or strength or skill (although having those things do not hurt); it’s about heart, hustle, and tenacity.  It’s about running without fear, taking down someone twice your size, getting up when you’re down, and pushing until the eightieth minute.  It’s about supporting your teammates (even when you’re dead tired and all they are doing is running sideways), chasing down every ball (even when it’s a tight game and your prop goes for a left-footed chip and chase), and giving everything in the scrum (even when the backs drop the ball for the 19th time in 2.5 minutes).  The game can take someone that is timid and unsure, and turn them into someone that is confident and fearless.  Pre-game always feels like a calm before a storm, but when the first whistle is blown, any nervousness and doubt disappears, and the adrenaline takes over.

Over the last decade, rugby has had a huge impact on the person I’ve become.  Not because of where the sport has taken me, but what the sport has given me: friends to last a lifetime, discipline, dedication, and fearlessness, confidence in my own strengths and abilities, leadership and teamwork skills, and opportunities to be apart of a community that is much bigger than a game; I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Rugby is a culture, a passion, a family; and everything about it is perfect (except sometimes the officiating).

Can’t wait for rugby season.

-          lieuzer

Still Accepting Resumes — 2017 Men’s Head Coach

January 12th, 2017

The Edmonton Rugby Football Club is still accepting resumes for the position of head coach of the men’s third division team.  The posting will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.  Please click the link to see the posting.  (Men’s Head Coach Posting)

Coaching Promo TFB


ERU Youth Skill Sessions — Starting Soon!

January 10th, 2017


Job Opportunity — Youth Development Officer

January 8th, 2017

The Edmonton Rugby Football Club is looking for a Youth Development Officer for the 2017 season.  Application deadline is FEBRUARY 1st, 2017.  Please see the posting below.

YDO Posting

Rugby Resolutions

January 1st, 2017

New Year’s Resolutions.  Love them or hate them, they are a tradition as old as the Babylonians, who used to promise the gods to repay their debts and return items borrowed from others.  While resolutions are often reserved for the individual, the Edmonton Rugby Football Club does have some lofty goals for the 2017 season – developing a more diverse social climate, running a second senior women’s team, rebuilding our men’s program, and growing rugby in our junior ranks.  When searching for examples of the ‘best’ rugby programs for inspiration, there is no doubt the All Blacks would clearly be considered top dog using many metrics: they have never ranked lower than third in the World Rugby rankings, they are the winners of the most World Cups, holding three championships, and they were the first to successfully defend a World Cup championship title.  But even the best clubs go through transitions.  In 2003, the All Blacks faced their lowest world ranking, forcing the program go through an overhaul.  The basic premise was ‘better people make better All Blacks’. The results speak for themselves: other than a couple of periods between 2007 and 2009, the All Blacks have been first in the world rankings.  The strategies implemented by the organization were outlined in Legacy: 15 Lessons in Leadership, written by James Kerr, who followed the team in early 2010.   If you’re looking for some inspiration for your own rugby resolutions, grab the book, or check out this summary blog by Gavin Hickie.

There is an intimate link between individual attitude and club or team success.  The culture of the All Blacks is summed up in two words: ‘No Dickheads.’  They have a team-first policy.  Their values funnel down from that statement and are enforced by the members themselves.  For 2017, some of the board members have decided to share their resolutions for promoting a club culture we can all be proud to be a part of.  See if you can match the resolution with the board member!

To be more punctual for practices and games. To let cooler heads prevail on the field and let go of disagreements with referees.

To finish every project I start.  I have too many half completed projects.

To introduce myself to any new players I see at the club.

To contribute to club unity by bringing back more social events.

To focus on three basic principles: inclusiveness, competition, and success.

To make sure no one goes alone, on or off the field.

To grow my capacity as a leader, as well as others, and develop a stronger connection between the men’s and women’s programs.

To encourage volunteerism within the club by acting as a model of it myself and publicly acknowledging the contributions of others.

Wishing all of our friends and family the best in the coming New Year.  We look forward to sharing our success stories with you as we take the pitch.

- Rex


Terry Smyrl (1948-2016)

November 29th, 2016

We have received word that a former Pirate, Terry Smyrl, has recently passed away.  Terry played with the Pirates in the 1970′s.  His obituary link is below.


2017 Board

October 10th, 2016

2017 Board Members

If anyone would like to take on any of the vacant VP positions, please contact our secretary, Anna Lawton.

President: Levi Fournel shmevel@shaw.ca
Vice President: Will Grady wgrady9@gmail.com
Secretary: Anna Lawton  a.lawton@live.com
Treasurer: Alexa Fleming alexa_fleming@hotmail.com
VP Junior Rugby: Vacant
VP Senior Women: Veronica Barton vharing@ualberta.ca
VP Senior Men: Jarrett Barton jarretbarton304@hotmail.com
VP Development: Vacant
VP Social: Vacant
VP Facility:Rentals see below Felix Gagne felixgt23@gmail.com
Member At Large: Jenn Bird jenn10bird@gmail.com
Member At Large: Tyler Hancock ikll2@hotmail.com
Member At Large: Justen Agneconeb justen.angeconeb@gmail.com
Member At Large: Amelia Towns ameliatowns@gmail.com