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

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.  (Mens Head Coach Posting)Coaching Promo TFB


ERU Youth Skill Sessions — Starting Soon!

January 10th, 2017


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.


2016 Awards Banquet

September 29th, 2016

The 2016 Banquet is scheduled for October 29th at the Kingsway Legion.

Ticket Pricing

Early Bird Price (Now-Oct 7th) – $40
October 8th-22nd – $50
Couples Package – 2 for $80 (Available until Oct 22nd)

Contact Jordan at Jordanwithers@hotmail.com for more information

Banquet and Awards 2014

November 13th, 2014

Thanks to all who attended this years banquet.  The following awards were handed out after dinner:

Junior Girls MVP: Kylie Zazula

Junior Boys MVP: David Chmiel

Women’s Rookie of the Year: Cheris Blair

Men’s Div III Rookie of the Year: Jordan Withers

Men’s Div II Rookie of the Year: Robert Burstall

Women’s MIP: Sabrina Hewitt

Men’s Div III MIP: Chris Quinn

Men’s Div II MIP: John Rota

Women’s MVP: Karlee Walters

Men’s Div III MVP: Rob Engels

Men’s Div II MVP: Clay Brower and Will Grady

Disco Cheetah: Jen Minchau

Pig of the Year: Mark Grenier

Barf Killips: Jordan Withers and Dylan Orr

Clubperson of the Year: John Rota

Sportsman of the Year: Levi Fournel


ERU Banquet and Awards

October 28th, 2014

All Pirates: Interest in the ERU Banquet:
The ERU holds their AGM and banquet on November 15 this year. The 3rd Div men will be receiving their plaque for winning cities at the ceremony. If you are interested in attending, tickets are $40 as we already have over 8 people committed. AGM is at 2 pm, cocktails at 6 and dinner at 7.

We have a bunch of the women going this year already, so it would be awesome to see a bunch of the guys come out too.

For more information, please email Michelle Maycock, or you can purchase your tickets directly through Carmen at erp@edmontonrugby.com or 780-988-5245.