The Charles Hays rugby teams held their year-end awards ceremony on Tuesday, June 25 to recognize the impressive achievements the squad made during the past year.
Players, parents and coaches were all in attendance, brought out by the desire to support the teams, as well as take part in the seemingly bottomless pasta dinner that each guest was invited to partake in.
It was a highly successful year for the team, during which they showed that they were capable of hanging with any competition. This was highlighted by a dominant stretch in May where the senior squad followed up a 68-0 win against Terrace with a 35-20 defeat of Caledonia Secondary. The juniors won their encounters with the two opposing schools as well, and often take part in the senior games after their matches are complete.
In April both the junior and senior teams travelled to Abbotsford to take part in a clinic run by the Celtic Barbarians, a North American rugby squad for which several of the Rainmakers have played for. The seniors soundly defeated Abbotsford squad Yale Secondary in their game, showing that they were in the discussion with teams drawing from a city over ten times the size of Prince Rupert.
|Coaches Casey Lennon and Cody Curry (right) hand out awards in the form of game balls. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
A number of players were recognized with awards, including Ryan Vick who was given Senior MVP honours. Vick said in addition to the on-field success, this was one of the most fun teams he’s ever played for.
“I think the team chemistry has been really good, one of the best I’ve ever seen,” said Vick. “I’m really proud of where we’ve come since I started in Grade 9.”
Vick is set to graduate from Charles Hays, and says he plans to play with Prince Rupert’s men’s team, the Seamen, come the fall. He is also hoping to get another shot to play with the Celtic Barbarians internationally.
The team also gave thanks to their new benefactor Duncan Ryan. Ryan played with the team upon its inception, and was eager to help support a group that he had been a part of.
“They took care of me and now I want to take care of them to the best of my ability. And that’s why I’m paying it forward,” said Ryan who has been donating money from his trucking company to help fund the team. He will be setting up a savings account for the Rainmakers during the summer to take his support even further.
|Duncan Ryan (hat) was presented with a Team Canada international game jersey for his support of the Rainmakers rugby program. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
“I’m speechless to see last year’s outcome,” Ryan said regarding athletes like Vick, Hannah Scheer and Cody Schaeffer going to play internationally. “It would have been unfathomable. I would never have thought of seeing a team go that far, especially from our small community.”
Other award winners were Aaron Chetwynd for Most Improved Player (senior), Jake More and Denae Yaroshuk for Most Dedicated, Gryphon King and Sammy Kafka for Most Improved (juniors), and Owen Vick as the Junior MVP. Atyah Maher took home Senior Top Back honours, Hunter King for Senior Top Forward, Ronin Lomba for Junior Top Back, and Nash De la Nuez for Junior Top Forward.
Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
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