John Moonlight steps into coaching role with Toronto Rugby

May 29, 2018

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Moonlight, widely regarded as one of the top Canadian sevens players to ever grace the pitch, will help the Elite Reds with preparations for the upcoming Ontario Summer Games.

With files from Toronto Rugby Communications

(TORONTO, ON) - The Toronto Elite Reds Academy is pleased to announce the appointment of Canadian rugby sevens standout John Moonlight as a technical coach for the program’s men’s team.

Moonlight, one of the most well-known and highly-respected Canadian rugby players of the past generation, joins the Elite Reds coaching staff to assist with the program’s preparations for the upcoming Ontario Summer Games in London. 

“The Toronto Elite Reds program is extremely excited to welcome John to our coaching staff,” said John Pryce, Toronto Rugby Director of High Performance. “Not only is John one of the top rugby players in Canadian history, he is also an outstanding individual who has earned every accolade through a mix of hard work, perseverance, and unrivalled motivation. We’re thrilled John can bring his thorough experience and knowledge of the game to the Elite Reds program, and our athletes will benefit from learning under the tutelage of one of the best to ever play.”

One month removed from the announcement of his retirement from the national sevens program, Moonlight recently returned to his hometown of Pickering, Ont., to pursue a firefighting career.

While pledging to take a break from on-field activities while he concentrates on settling into his new firefighting role, Moonlight had hoped to transition into a youth coaching role upon his return home, and saw the technical coach position with the Elite Reds as a natural fit.

“I’ve been lucky to have played rugby at the highest level for a decade, and after a career filled with moments I’ll never forget, I’m very excited to begin sharing what I’ve learned with the next generation of up-and-coming rugby talent,” said Moonlight, whose 318 total matches on the World Series is a Canadian record. “I played for Toronto Rugby at the Ontario Summer Games more than a decade ago, so in many respects, this is a bit of a homecoming for me - back to where it all began. I can’t wait to begin my work as a coach, and to help develop these talented young players this summer.”

Moonlight has been an integral part of Canada’s sevens and fifteens teams since 2009. The 30-year-old’s lengthy list of achievements in the sport is a testament to his tireless contributions to the Canadian game. He’s been named Canada’s Sevens Player of the Year on four consecutive occasions, led Canada’s sevens team to their first-ever cup title in 2017, earned back-to-back gold medals at the 2011 & 2015 Pan American Games in Mexico and Toronto, and was named to the World Rugby Sevens Series’ ‘Dream Team’ in 2013/14.

“If you ask our players who they model their game after, they respond with ‘John Moonlight’ without any hesitation,” added Pryce. “John embodies perseverance, starting from when he was cut from a provincial rep program as a teenager, but never gave up on his dream. He’s someone our players look up to, and now they’ll get to work with their role model, who will complement our strong existing coaching staff to help our players maximize their potential. We know John will make a big impact here.”

Toronto Elite Reds’ men’s and women’s teams will kick off their Ontario Summer Games campaigns on Aug. 2, 2018. Match schedules will be released by tournament officials in the coming weeks.

For more information surrounding the Ontario Summer Games tournament, please visit http://www.london2018.ca/sports/rugby

About the Toronto Elite Reds Academy:

The Toronto Elite Reds Academy offers a Toronto-based high-performance program aimed at elite rugby sevens skill development, which includes thorough training sessions aligned with Rugby Canada’s key themes and core skills, personalized strength and conditioning and sport psychology programs, and input from guest national team coaches.

For more information, visit http://torontorugby.ca/sevens/ 

For more information, please contact: 

John Pryce
Director of High Performance
Toronto Elite Reds Academy

technical@torontorugby.ca

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