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Tofino hopes to launch youth rugby program

“When you say, ‘rugby,’ to kids, they haven’t played, so they don’t know to be excited about it.”
Tofino’s Kaela Tompkins is hoping to get a rugby league going to get local youth into the sport that’s popular among Canadian Universities like UVic whose Paige Farries set a one-day record by scoring nine tries in Day One of the University of Alberta Rugby 7s Tournament on Saturday. (DON VOAKLANDER PHOTO)

Tofino is hoping to introduce the sport of rugby to its recreational landscape for the first time but needs more kids to get rucking.

Recreation Programmer Kaela Tompkins told the Westerly News that the goal is to have around 10-15 youth between the ages of nine and 12 sign up to launch a season and she’s currently got seven onboard.

“When you say, ‘rugby,’ to kids, they haven’t played, so they don’t know to be excited about it,” she said. “It’s a fun sport and you never know what kids are going to like. We might ignite a passion that kids didn’t even know was out there.”

She said she and her recreation team are currently thinking of ways to boost the sport’s notoriety locally and lure enough youth onto the field to play.

“We want to start rugby because rugby is a great sport,” she said adding rugby’s popularity is growing across Canada.

“We’d love to bring some of that stoke here. There seems to be a large adult population who’s interested in rugby. I’ve had people coming out of the woodwork to coach…We just don’t have enough kids yet.”

Anyone interested in getting involved can contact Tompkins at 250-725-3229 ext. 704 and parents of interested youth should reach out quickly because Tompkins is wary of pushing the potential rugby season deep into spring when field time would be fought over with youth baseball.

“We want to expose our children to as many sports as possible and rugby is an option out there that, when they go to colleges or universities, they might want to play,” she said.

“And, if we can, why not?”

She added anyone wanting to bring a different sport into the recreational fold should contact the Tofino Recreation Department.

“We’re always brainstorming about new programs we could bring forward,” she said

“If there’s someone in the community who’s interested in any sport, the door is always open to offer it.”

Andrew Bailey

About the Author: Andrew Bailey

I arrived at the Westerly News as a reporter and photographer in January 2012.
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