Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Junior (U18) Rugby Practices Start THIS WEEK!

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

Junior (U18) Boys and Girls practices will be starting this week, Monday June 19 and Wednesday June 21 at 6:30 PM.  Please bring cleats and mouthguards to ALL practices.  Registrations can be completed online (see post below).  Bring your friends — NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY!

Junior (U18) Rugby — Now Accepting Registrations!

Monday, June 12th, 2017

Our junior season is coming up!  We will be starting practices right away and are now accepting registrations for the 2017 season.


Need help with registration costs?  Contact Kidsport Edmonton and Canadian Tire Jumpstart for help with registration costs by clicking their logos below.



Rookie Rugby Flag Rugby Camp — Sunday, June 18th

Monday, June 12th, 2017


FREE Youth Camp, June 4th — Register NOW!

Friday, May 26th, 2017


High School Sevens Information

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

High School Sevens InformationThe Pirates are looking forward to welcoming everyone again for our annual High School Sevens Tournament.  We love hosting all of our local and out of town teams and work hard to make the event run as smoothly as possible, but we need the help of all attendees for this to happen.  With 32 teams participating, we are looking at around 400 players, plus coaches, trainers, and spectators.  As such, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and guidelines.  Thank you for taking the time to read through them and we will see you all on Friday!

What time will the facility and fields open?

The fields and facility will be open at 1:30 PM.  First games are scheduled for 3 PM.  Please be on time and ready to go for your games, as we need all games to finish promptly in order to get the tournament finished before it gets dark.  All teams are to check in at the concession when they arrive.

Where do I park?

The main parking lot on 167 Avenue will only be used for team buses, tournament volunteers, and referees. Please keep in mind parking will be extremely limited, so car pooling is encouraged for all volunteers and referees when possible. If coaches can, we kindly ask that they take the buses with their teams to save space.

Spectator parking will be accessed on 18 Street.  There is NO spectator parking in the main parking lot.  Parking attendants will be there to guide you to where to park on the grass.  Please follow their directions, as we are trying to make sure as many people can park as possible.  Again, carpooling is STRONGLY encouraged.

Main Parking_ Team Buses, Tournament Volunteers, and Referees ONLY

Is there a concession?

Yes, there will be a concession with a limited menu.  The concession is CASH ONLY!!  Prices for most items will be under $5 so please bring small currency if possible.

What about seating?

There are no outdoor stands, so please bring chairs if you need them.  Please do not remove chairs from the patio or clubhouse.

Can I bring my dog?

Yes, but dogs are expected to be under control and on leashes at all times.  Dogs are also not allowed in the clubhouse, so keep the weather in mind when deciding whether to bring your pet or not.  All owners are expected to pick up after their dog.  Any dogs deemed to be acting overly aggresive will need to be removed from the property.

ALL PLAYERS: Cleats are NOT allowed to be worn in the clubhouse.

When Playing Is No Longer An Option, Become A Referee

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Player to Referee

World rugby law book rule #6.A.4 (a) “The referee is the sole judge of fact and of law…”

It’s amazing how a phrase can change meaning to a person over time. When I started playing rugby, years ago, I had Dave Bailey tell me that… and I hated it. What that phrase meant to me was I wasn’t going to win any argument I had at the time with the referee that had just said it to me.

I started playing rugby when I was 16 years old as a way to hang out with friends and be able to take out physical aggression without getting in trouble for it. After a couple years break after junior rugby I managed to let someone talk me back into the game. I have had some of the best times of my life playing rugby. I have met lifelong friends from around the world, and obviously from here at home, I have learned more about myself in my time on the pitch than I would have ever thought would be possible from a sport.

I loved the feeling of waking up on a Saturday morning, nervous and excited to play the match we had trained all week for. Even the drive to the pitch had it’s excitement for me, and the feeling I’d get the moment I’d see the posts as we pulled up was usually accompanied by a drop in my stomach I learned to love. I usually liked to get to the pitch early on game days to settle in and see the rest of the team arrive. It really is something to see each guy you’ve trained with show up on game day switched on in their own individual ways. The forwards usually show up with an intensity that is brought on by their need to hit someone, and the backs seem to arrive with a jovial attitude – laughing and keeping loose… for the most part. When I was younger, I hated the nerves. They used to almost make me sick before each kickoff, just simply anticipating the match, and they always stayed until the first hit of the match, and then for the next 80 minutes nothing in the world mattered but what was on that 100×70 meter piece of land. 80 minutes of aggression, strategy, teamwork, and fun.

I loved the game – almost to a fault as my wife would say – and was primed for another great season. I had trained through the winter, actually improved my cardio (and I HATE cardio) and felt great about the upcoming season until, in the time it took to break the defensive line in a seven’s match and throw a stiff arm, my future in rugby changed. I ended up getting tackled during the stiff arm and felt something weird in my shoulder. I called for a sub and walked to the trainer on the sideline telling her for some reason I wasn’t able to lift my arm up anymore. I had been hurt a few times before during games, so I figured that I would drink it off for the day (it was rugby fest after all) and after a few weeks I tried to play in another league game… It didn’t go well, as I dislocated the same shoulder. I went through this same routine for the next month or so until I finally took some advice and went to a doctor. What I had done weeks before turned out to be a torn labrum and a piece of bone broken clean off, resulting in surgery to repair the labrum and 5 screws to hold everything together. My rugby playing days were effectively done.

I found out over the next year or so anything I thought was tough while playing – the training, the matches, getting up in the morning feeling the pain from everything, even the hangovers – nothing was tougher than having to watch from the sidelines. I stuck around the club for a season to help as much as I was able to, but eventually having to watch was getting harder and harder – especially as I started getting healthier but knowing that I wasn’t able to play. The need to do something in rugby became increasingly more prominent every time I was anywhere near a pitch. I had coached in previous years and loved doing so, but I didn’t quite have the time or the best schedule due to working a shift that occupied my later evenings and nights more than 50% of the time.

ENTER: Refereeing.

“Everyone knows that any organized sport needs only a few things. A venue, two teams, and a referee.”

I decided to take an offer that had been extended out numerous times from our local refereeing society to all of the rugby clubs in the city, as they’re always looking to increase the number of younger referees in the sport. I accepted the offer to take a level 1 course in the city, if for nothing else to gain a different view on the interpretation of the rules from a refereeing perspective. It’s always been an unwritten rule in rugby, and sports in general, to “play to the referee” so learning how a referee sees the game I figured would be beneficial if I was lucky enough to be able to play or coach again at some point. Of course, once the course was complete, I was tossed into my first high school tournament to ref. The first couple of matches in my first tournament went off without a problem, but I quickly found out what the biggest hurdle would be for my transition from playing into refereeing. Normally in my past experience, when something would go awry in a rugby match while playing, we had been taught to “sort it out” on the pitch, whether that be waiting for the perfect time to make a big hit, or otherwise. In my third match of refereeing I made a call that was, at best, questionable and heard it from the receiving team’s coach. I was stunned… furious… and rattled. I knew I was in a position where I had to be professional and uphold the standard of the game, but at the same time I wanted to lash out at the coach and put him in his place. It was then I knew there was going to be a transition period from player to ref.

Through my relatively short time referring I have learned there are what I consider to be four ways to interpret every rule and call made on the field. The fan, coach, player and then the ref. I always thought as a player and coach I knew the rules of rugby fairly well, well enough that I had no problem yelling at the referee when they made a call that I didn’t agree with, but that way of thinking changed when I picked up the whistle.

When I initially started refereeing, I didn’t think it would be a long term hobby. I thought I would get certified and it would be just another course under my belt, as I didn’t think I would like it enough to spend an abundance of time doing. As I started to get a few more matches under my belt I became more comfortable on the pitch with the whistle, making calls (correctly) and started to find more and more enjoyment out of reffing. One of the things I didn’t enjoy at the beginning of my time reffing was the singularity of being out on the pitch without the support of a team behind and around me, something I had gotten used to as a player. It’s a “different” feeling when you’re out there on the pitch and have 15 players plus coaches and fans angry with a call you’ve made, and you haven’t got anyone readily backing you up. What I soon realized as I moved forward in refereeing, is the refereeing society is much more of a team than anyone may know or realize. What kept me coming back to the Edmonton Rugby Union Referee Society was the emphasis they put on inclusion of their members. Once I was introduced to a few of the other referees, they were thrilled to have me and treated me as someone they wanted to keep around for a long time. I had multiple offers for coaching, members constantly offered tips and advice to help me along the way to getting comfortable as a referee on and off the pitch.

Through refereeing I have already had the opportunity to have many coaching sessions from highly ranked mentors from within the province as well as national panel members, but most recently I was fortunate enough to be sent down to Sacramento California to attend a referee coaching seminar led by some high level members of the USA rugby refereeing community and actively referee the largest high school level tournament that included the previous national varsity champion sides. Having the opportunity to ref younger generations with such a high ceiling while getting actively coached on my ability and refereeing skills allowed me to further improve my game and build confidence in myself on the pitch.

Going into the 2017 rugby season, I now consider myself almost completely transitioned from player to referee and can notice the changes in the way I see the game being played. When I watch pro level rugby it’s funny to find myself seeing more of the pitch, challenging myself to make the calls that are being called on the field. My pre-season prep has changed from preparing for the physicality of the game as a player to the agility, continuous movement, and knowledge of the law book required as a referee. I find myself being able to plan more of my summer to camp with my family due to the more flexible schedule refereeing accompanies. Continuing to ref has allowed me to keep challenging myself to improve my knowledge of the game, fitness, and professionalism when representing the game.

I may not be playing the game that I love first hand but I still get to be a big part, interact with the players, and keep up with the sport I’ve been enthralled with for the last 17 years.

Thanks to our latest blogger, Thomas Hyland.  While we are a little late posting the blog, it is with good reason — he is now a first time dad and was reasonably delayed by all the cuddling and golf watching he’s been doing with his new son.  The Pirates would like to extend our sincerest congratulations to him and his wife on their new addition and can’t wait to see him out at the club.

For more information on becoming a referee, please contact the Edmonton Rugby Union Referees’ Society (  They also have Level 1 Referee Clinics coming up soon on April 27, with a high school tournament April 28/29 and May 4, with a high school tournament May 5/6.  Check out the Edmonton Rugby Union website for more details.

High School Sevens Tournament 2017 — Now Accepting Registrations

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

The Edmonton Rugby Football Club is now accepting registrations for its annual High School Sevens tournament.  More information can be found here.  Please contact Kady Martin at

Pirates Sevens Tournament 2017

Seasons of Rugby

Monday, March 20th, 2017

Rugby is played in seasons, and in Alberta, that means outdoor practice starts in April, and the season wraps in September. Six months is all we get here. I know that there are things done to extend the season – sevens series, CIS season in the fall, and snow sevens are a few of the ways that we try to squeeze as much rugby as possible into the year, but ultimately, rugby is played in seasons.

Rugby has also been played in almost all of the seasons of my life. I’ve been lucky to be involved in the game in many different roles and ways. I started my career in high school, which led me to play other team sports in high school. I’ve played strictly for fun, and I’ve played for competition. I’ve recruited my sister to play with me. I’ve stood pregnant on the sidelines and watched my team win a city championship. I’ve stepped back onto the field within a month of having my daughter. I’ve coached high school, club, and representative teams. I’ve refereed. I’ve held administrative positions. I’ve volunteered in many different capabilities. I’ve been a tournament organizer. I’ve been a mom of rugby players. I’ve been a mom that is also a rugby player. I’ve had my kids on the sidelines cheering me on, but unable to recognize me because of the scrum cap. I’ve played and got really fit, and I’ve played less fit. I’ve been a captain, and I’ve been a manager. I’ve played for two different clubs, and worn many more jerseys than that in the spirit of getting a game going. I’ve played every position in the pack, and everything in the backs except for fullback (I was a wing in grade 10).  I’ve watched the club expand their women’s side to two teams, and I’ve played in years where we couldn’t field a full 15 players for games. I’ve been on tour with the women’s team, as a club, as a coach, with the men’s team. I’ve acted as a trainer for the Pirate teams. I have made my very best friends in this sport, and these friendships have lasted for years, even as our own relationships to rugby have changed. I have covered myself with rugby, in every possible way that I have found.

Over the course of my rugby career, I’ve changed from an awkward, 15-year old high school student to a confident, outgoing 33-year old with two children. And in that time, rugby has always been able to meet my needs, no matter the season of my life.

It fulfilled my need to build confidence when I was shy and awkward and it’s given me a place where I can work on building the confidence of others. You can only win rucks when you are confident.

It fulfilled my need to be a leader in many capacities and this experience has prepared me for the work that I do now. It has also made me a better follower after having had a leadership role, because I have a greater understanding of the demands that leadership places on people.

It fulfilled my need to find something to do with myself that was physical, but also social. It is always there for me, regardless of my current level of fitness, and my teammates are some of the most supportive people around. It’s there, pushing me to do better. It shows my kids that all body types contribute and are valued in this sport.

It has fulfilled my need to stay involved when sidelined by pregnancy, to be involved after I’ve had children, and has given me a place where I can bring the kids and they will be greeted by everyone in the building. It’s a place where my kids feel safe and have fun, knowing that there will be a couple of other kids looking for activity.

It’s allowed me to share something that I love with my kids, and to watch them pick it up with the same joy and abandon that I have. Minis rugby is a great way for kids to experience the game for the first time, instead of waiting until high school.

In all the seasons of my life, rugby has been exactly what I need it to be. Check us out and see what it can be to you.


Women In Sport

Monday, March 6th, 2017

This past season, Pirates celebrated the 20th anniversary of the women’s team, with many of the alumni coming out.  It was a really great event that highlighted how much this sport has impacted each of our lives.  More recently, one of our women’s team members, DJTP, threw a party.  While it was tied to a specific life event, it ended up being a party celebrating our female camaraderie.  In honour of International Women’s Day this month (March 8th), we are posting a small, and slightly edited, excerpt from the speech at that party.  It wasn’t just a celebration of that life event, it was a celebration of how sport brings women together and teaches us friendship, strength, and independence while providing a support system when we need it.  Cheers to all the #womeninsport!


What is weird to me is that the only times that a group of women really get together to celebrate another woman’s life is when she is going to become a wife or a mother. Nothing is wrong with either of those things obviously, and they should be celebrated. But I don’t know why we don’t celebrate each others other big moments with actual events, especially since it’s 2017 and not everyone will do either of those things. I’m 100% sure I won’t be having a baby shower and 99% sure a bridal shower is out of the question as well, so that left me feeling like I was never going to get a party where we celebrate an important milestone for me. And I’m sure some of you feel the same way. It’s nice to be the center of attention and have others congratulate you on a big moment. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting that moment once in your life!

I’m so crazy happy that you guys are my friends and that I have such an amazing support system of women. It seems like the world wants us to just hate each other all the time, and I think that’s what keeps us as a gender down instead of backing each other up. We do so much crazy s***. We work in industries we aren’t supposed to, like the oil patch and as managers and in science and math and in trades, and we buy our own houses and dogs and cats BY OURSELVES. We raise our own kids and we travel the world alone or with each other. We unabashedly play and love sports we aren’t supposed to.

I grew up at Pirates and watched a bunch of crazy women beat the s*** out of each other on the pitch, then run along the sidelines in flipflops and sports bras while yelling at the mens team to sort their s***, head back in to this building and slam a beer and then head home to careers and homes and families and kill it in life. Those were the women I grew up watching, and they obviously had an impact on me in a big and great way. My goal was just to be one of those chicks.

For those of you who are having kids, please do and have a bunch, cause this group is who needs to be raising the next generation. And I have no doubt that your daughters will turn out to be badasses, cause they’ll be watching us on the pitch swearing and boozing and crushing life and know that they can do the same. But really, teach your sons and nephews and godchildren that the women who don’t need them are the women they want and that those women are desirable. Cause then we’ll have a generation of men who think equality is normal and holy f***, do we ever need that.

Cause the more we can see each other achieve, the more we know we can do the same. And then we can pass that on to those little girls on the sidelines watching us that it’s normal and good that you can have female friends who matter as much or more than husbands and boyfriends.

Hoping to see some new ladies out on the pitch this season!


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

Sunday, 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!