Black History Month Spotlight: Daniella Grant

February 25, 2022


Black History Month Spotlight: Daniella Grant

February 25th, 2022

(WHITBY, ON) - In celebration of Black History Month, Rugby Ontario is spotlighting members of the Ontario rugby community who are making a difference in the sport. Today’s spotlight is on Daniella Grant. Daniella is a player for the Humber Hawks who is passionate about the game. Read below to learn more about Daniella's career.

1.   How did you first get involved with rugby?

When I was in grade eight, my basketball coach told me that it would be a great idea for me to join rugby when I got to high school as I was a very aggressive player on the court. When I started high school in the fall, rugby wasn't even on my mind. It wasn't until one of the senior players came up to me in the hallway and said, “Hey you should join up for rugby” (I guess they were looking for players!) still to this day I'm not sure why she came up to me but I'm glad she did. 

2.  What is your favourite rugby memory?

There are so many, it is really hard to just choose one. But I'm going to have to say it was making the decision to play for the Humber Hawks, for the last four years. I have had such an amazing experience playing for Humber college. Being able to grow and learn with the girls that I now call sisters has been an experience that I don't think I would have been able to have anywhere else. From all of the unbelievable highs like travelling to Bermuda, being a three-time OCAA champion and to the lows of going undefeated all season (16-0) to losing in the finals with the team, we thought could take us to the top. Besides all that, being a Hawk is something that I will never forget and will treasure for the rest of my life.

3.  What do you love most about the sport?

Rugby is like no other sport I have played before. It is essentially like all the sports mixed into one to make this incredible game, that once you play you never stop. I love the family atmosphere and the camaraderie that this sport brings. You might be playing against your teammate in one game and playing together in another, there is so much friendship and passion in this game. Aside from all that I love the thrill of making an amazing tackle. The kind of tackle where the whole crowd goes “oooooo” or when you make the perfect shoulder contact with your opponent.

4.  What are your goals as you move forward in your rugby career?

I have played rugby for only eight or nine years now. That might be a lot to some and a little to most. I've had such an amazing time playing rugby, it has taken me to many different countries, provinces and even places just here in Ontario. I have made so many lifelong friendships and connections that I will never forget. But moving forward I think my rugby career has moved into more of a coaching role. 

5.  What does Black History Month mean to you?

To me, Black History Month is a reminder of all of the hard-working and intelligent black Canadians who got our country to where it is today. As well as all the other black people around the world who fought for the rights of black people. This month is also a celebration where we recognize and appreciate all of the achievements of black people around the world.  I think we should celebrate black excellence every day not just for one month of the year.

6.  What effect has being a person of colour had on your experience in rugby?

When I first started playing rugby, I was probably one of the only people of colour on the team. It didn't really bother me as I was from a town where it was predominantly Caucasian, so I was used to being one of the only minorities in the group. But I would say there were stereotypes that came along with being a black person who played rugby. For example, the only thing she can do is run fast. This is extremely inaccurate. Coaches also had this mentality and all they would do is put girls of colour on the wing and all they would do is run. They didn't get to develop their skills, for example passing under pressure.  Personally, this wasn't my exact situation, but I have seen it and still see it happen to this day. 

7.   Why might Black History Month hold special importance/meaning in the rugby community?

I think that over the years black people specifically in Canada have really started to shine at the international level, which I think is extremely important. When I was growing up there were not many women of colour on the Canadian team, so it was hard for me to relate to. Honestly, it made it feel like my goal of making the Canadian team would be extremely unlikely. I think it's important to have representation at the international level to make youth feel like they can get there too. It gives them that motivation and someone to look up to. Having black people at all levels represented in the rugby community is GREAT and I cannot wait to watch it continue to grow.

8.   What can Rugby Ontario do to make our sport more diverse and inclusive?

    Have a more diverse coaching staff.

    Get more involved in the neighbourhood improvement areas in Toronto.

    Work with inner city schools who are trying to develop their rugby programs.

    Post more about diversity and inclusion on social media.

    Post more people of minorities on social media.

    Share more success stories of minority youth that have gone through the Ontario system.

    Help educate immigrant parents about rugby and how it can be safe.

    Try to make centralized practices more easily accessible- if that's not possible try to arrange a transportation source.

    When you create your team don't just practice rugby but also teach your team how to be good people, how they themselves can be inclusive and what they can do to help in the communities that need it.

    More financially feasible.


Rugby Ontario is the provincial sports governing body responsible for the organization of rugby in Ontario. Our mission is to lead, support and promote Rugby for All from communities to clubs to province. This mission signals a movement toward creating a more cohesive, supportive and progressive sporting environment that is responsive to the needs of all members.

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