Squamish will be the epicentre of the Canadian rugby world this May with the announcement that the first ever British Columbia Rugby League (BCRL) Canadian International 9's Championship is set to come to town.
Teams from all over B.C. and Alberta, along with squads from New Zealand and Fiji have confirmed entry in the tournament, with organizers waiting for confirmation from teams from Jamaica, Utah and Las Vegas.
“This event was created to act as a pre-season opener for the domestic competition,” Ally Mac, the communications manager for the BCRL, said on Wednesday (Jan. 9). “It also serves as a way to introduce new teams and players to rugby league by only committing to the one day instead of the full league. This will give teams a taste of the game and hopefully they like it enough to join a local team or better yet, start their own team within their area.”
Mac, who is based in Whistler, started up the Sea to Sky Eagles rugby league team last year and said the Eagles will participate in the tournament. The Eagles will clash with familiar BCRL foes like the Surrey Beavers, Kelowna Crows and Bayside Sharks, along with the international teams.
The tournament is scheduled to be an all-day event, with four groups of four teams competing. Each team will play every team in its division in a round-robin format before the top teams advance to playoff rounds. The event will take place on May 11, with all games taking place at Howe Sound Secondary School field. The first game is tentatively scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m.
The event in Squamish also marks the kickoff of the BCRL women's division, with Team B.C. taking on Team Alberta just before the men's tournament finals.
Organizers are looking for volunteers to help out with the tournament, for more information email Mac at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the BCRL, visit www.bc.canadarugbyleague.com, or visit the Sea to Sky Eagles’ Facebook page, Sea to Sky Eagles RLFC