Squamish's rugby club is ready to tackle its opponents now that the season is nearly underway.The Axemen Rugby Club will be hosting a community rugby event on Sept. 11 at Brennan Park. Keith Reeves, the coach of the club, said it will have numerous events for all community members to enjoy.
“There’s community drop-in touch rugby with everybody welcome,” said Reeves, adding that it is available for any gender and any age.After that, Reeves said there would be a few friendly, short matches between the Axemen and other regional teams. The biggest match of the day starts around 2 p.m., said Reeves, and will be between the first team of the Axemen and the first team from the Vancouver Rowing Club.
This event and the matches are a part of the pre-season as the club prepares for the official season to kick-off, according to Reeves. The season will officially start mid-October and go all the way until May, with a couple of months off in the winter.The Axemen have not played an official game in about 18 months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic, the Axemen were performing well.
“We were going so well when COVID hit. We were top of the second division by a distance, where we were two or three games away from the playoffs. And, we were really looking forward to getting through the playoffs and making it to a second grand final in two years,” said Reeves, in reference to the club winning the Division 3 championship in 2019.Reeves said over the 18 months they have recruited a few new players.
“I used to coach at Capilano, so there’s been a couple of guys who have come up to Squamish, and they’re now going to play for us here rather than playing down at Capilano.”Despite the long layover, Reeves said the team is mostly just looking forward to competing.
“The guys are really sort of itching to get back,” he said.
“I think just getting back on the field and playing well is what they’re all looking forward to.”Reeves noted that the club also has a youth rugby team and actively recruits more women to join the women’s team. The club has been a staple in Squamish since it relaunched in 2014 and could be seen practicing outside of Howe Sound Secondary School throughout the past summer.