It's been a long time coming, but Squamish Youth Rugby players were finally able to take to the field in competitive matches after a 22-month absence.
Local youth rugby, which is affiliated with the Axemen Rugby Club, made a trip down to Vancouver to play in Capilano Rugby Club's rugby jamboree last Sunday.
"It's just great to see everybody out again," said Sean Carter, who runs the youth program. "People were asking in the summer, 'When's rugby coming?'"
There've been new players who have signed up with the club and enthusiasm is high, he said.
"It's just a really great feeling," Carter said.
All youth players except the U15 group participated in the first youth jamboree since the pandemic shut down sporting events.
The jamboree was a just-for-fun event where youth got together, tested their skills and made new friends.
Carter said that there were strong performances all around from Squamish's players.
The participating youth groups were the U7, U9, U11 and U13, and locals were pitted against opposing teams.
Carter said the local U13 group battled its opposing counterparts to a draw on the scoreboard, while the rest of the groups emerged from their games with wins.
He said that for those looking to get involved, there will be a new wave of enrolment in the spring.
Many parents are initially concerned about the contact element of the sport, especially in light of high-profile NFL cases that have publicized the potential negative effects of repeated head trauma.
Carter said that there is no contact in the kindergarten to Grade 3 age groups, as they all play flag rugby.
He also added in the seven to eight years the club's been around there hasn't been a single concussion.
The only thing that came close was a single incident that required a check-up, but that player was found to not have a concussion.
Up until U13, the teams are co-ed, so girls are playing with the boys.
At the moment, girls make up about 10% of the club, and they are strongly encouraging the recruitment of Indigenous players.
"We just have a tremendous amount of fun. Rugby has a great culture of community," said Carter.