Rugby Ontario & Toronto Arrows Partner to Launch Academy Program

October 21, 2020

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RUGBY ONTARIO AND TORONTO ARROWS PARTNER TO LAUNCH ONTARIO BLUES - JUNIOR ARROWS ACADEMY

21 October 2020 

TORONTO, ON – Rugby Ontario and the Toronto Arrows Rugby Football Club are pleased to announce the launch of the Ontario Blues - Junior Arrows Academy, a program that will provide age-grade Ontario athletes an opportunity to train and learn from top-level provincial, national and professional coaches in an environment designed to prepare them for the next step of their rugby journey.


Jointly-created by the provincial sports governing body and Canada’s first professional rugby union team, the non-residential Ontario Blues - Junior Arrows Academy will act as an extension of Rugby Ontario’s Winter Skills Academy, where selected under-15 to under-18 athletes will receive an additional 26 sessions – 13 technical/tactical, 13 strength and conditioning – from October 2020 to April 2021.


The Ontario Blues - Junior Arrows Academy will operate in three main training areas in Ontario, with athletes placed in regional hubs as a means of offering low player-to-staff ratios and easing geographical burdens associated with such a large catchment area.


From a provincial standpoint, this partnership provides a clear and direct pathway for Ontario players to achieve their goal of playing for Canada and the Arrows,” said Sean Medeiros, Rugby Ontario High Performance Co-ordinator and Academy Director. “The alignment this program creates will have a massive impact on the Ontario Blues provincial program as a whole. Coach development is also a key focus of this program, as we look to engage identified coaches with Toronto Arrows staff and current national team coaches to help in the development of the next generation of elite coaches in the province.”


The inaugural roster of the Ontario Blues - Junior Arrows Academy athletes features 41 athletes representing 15 Ontario clubs. 

“Players were selected based on recommendation from club and school coaches around the province, performance with provincial age-grade teams and Rugby Ontario programming, as well as results from a comprehensive combine testing session,” said Paul Connelly, Rugby Ontario High Performance Manager. “Each hub has a five-member coaching staff, which includes provincial age grade coaches, former professional and international lock Brett Beukeboom and former international bobsledder Adam Blandford.”


“We're fortunate to have such a large rugby-playing province here in Ontario,” added Cory Hector, Toronto Arrows Academy Lead. “By partnering with Rugby Ontario, we are able to help create a clear pathway for young athletes across the province and beyond. This new pathway, when combined with our Senior Academy announced last year, provides real long-term development for the athletes and contributes to the Arrows’ goals of producing homegrown, domestic talent.”

On top of the in-person training sessions, Ontario Blues - Junior Arrows Academy coaches and players will engage in virtual sessions throughout the duration of the program, allowing for opportunities to provide resources and support in areas such as strength and conditioning, nutrition, and mental performance, as well as to perform video analysis of professional and international game play.


“The Ontario Blues - Junior Arrows Academy will become a critical component to improving the identification and development of Canada’s emerging players,” said Mike Curran, Rugby Canada U18 Head Coach. “Regional academies connected to high-performance programs such as the Arrows will undoubtably drive the game in our country forward.”

 


2020-2021 Rugby Ontario Junior Arrows Academy Athletes

East

Jordy Auger | Barrhaven Scottish 

Santiago Gomez | Bytown Blues

Russell Greenwood | Kingston Panthers 

Owen McDonell | Barrhaven Scottish 

Ethan Nesbitt | Bytown Blues 

Greg Thomas | Bytown Blues 

Liam Walsh | Kingston Panthers 

Kalle White | Barrhaven Scottish

Central

Liam Arcand | Oshawa Vikings

Curtis Buss | Oshawa Vikings 

Michael Di Lella | Oshawa Vikings 

Noah Flesch | Cobourg Saxons 

Ben Foote | Oshawa Vikings

Mark Gilmour | Oshawa Vikings 

Tanner Hubble | Ajax Wanderers 

Tyler Janes | Ajax Wanderers

Ryan Johnstone | Ajax Wanderers

Ian Jones | Oshawa Vikings 

Sam LaVasseur | Peterborough Pagans 

Bauer Mercer | Oshawa Vikings 

Mac Reimer | Oshawa Vikings 

Kyran Stillman | Toronto Nomads 

Justin Taylor | Ajax Wanderers 

Graeme Tremain | Toronto Nomads

Owen Williams | Ajax Wanderers  

West     

Brendan Black | Crusaders 

Marcus D’Acre | Crusaders 

Adam Doane | Toronto City 

Josh Eustace | Brantford Harlequins 

Reid Forthuber | Stratford Black Swans

Killian Fortier | Toronto Saracens 

Connor Gittens | Crusaders

Michael Hayes | Crusaders

Caleb Hickey | Barrie RFC

Jesse Kilgour | Barrie RFC 

Rielly Kirk | Georgian Bay Titans 

Michael Macartney | Crusaders 

Jake Simmons | Crusaders 

James Webb | Toronto City 

Stephen Webb | Toronto City 

Hudson Young | Crusaders


2020-2021 Rugby Ontario Junior Arrows Academy Staff

Program Staff

Sean Medeiros – Program Director 

Paul Connelly – Technical Director (Rugby Ontario) 

Cory Hector & David Butcher – Technical Directors (Toronto Arrows) 

Dr. Karen Chrobak – Chief Medical Officer  

Dr. Phil Sullivan – Mental Performance Lead

East Staff

Adam Blandford

LeeEllen Carroll 

Aaron McDonald 

Sonny Raina 

TK Rewi 

Central Staff

Brett Beukeboom 

Zach Lamacraft 

Ian MacLeish

Eric Noyes 

Cam Wilson

West Staff

Mike Curran

Scott Hendry 

Adam Maahs  

Patrick Maulson 

Graham Stickler 

ABOUT THE ONTARIO BLUES

The Ontario Blues program is the high performance representative program for male and female rugby players in Ontario. Rugby Ontario is represented at the provincial level by the Ontario Blues. The program includes representative teams from Under-15 to Senior in both Women’s and Men’s Fifteens and Under-18 Men's and Women's Sevens. Specifically, the program is designed to develop and showcase rugby players for Canadian representative national teams.


ABOUT THE TORONTO ARROWS

The Toronto Arrows Rugby Football Club is Canada's First professional rugby union team. Competing in Major League Rugby, the team is equipped to compete against top-tier North American club teams, providing emerging Canadian Talent with enhanced and more frequent opportunities to hone their skills at an elite level. 


For more information, visit www.torontoarrows.com 


ABOUT RUGBY ONTARIO

Rugby Ontario is the provincial sports governing body responsible for the organization of rugby in Ontario. Our mission is to establish a stronger identity for rugby in Ontario by promoting the sport’s core values and by fostering a culture of inclusiveness and excellence on and off the field of play.

To learn more, visit https://www.rugbyontario.com/


WANT MORE INFORMATION?

Sean Medeiros

High Performance Coordinator and Academy Director - Rugby Ontario

 smedeiros@rugbyontario.com


Brock Smith

Communications Manager - Toronto Arrows 

bsmith@torontoarrows.com



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