Oshawa Vikings Rugby Club to Represent Canada at International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament in Ireland
May 31st, 2022
(WHITBY, ON) - The Oshawa Vikings Rugby Club from Ontario will represent Canada at the upcoming International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament (IMART 2022) in Cork, Ireland from June 5–10. The Vikings will be the first team from Canada to ever play in the international competition and are the only rugby club in the country to offer full contact Mixed Ability Rugby.
“The players participating in this tour have demonstrated strong development and dedication to prepare for the competition in Ireland,” said John Watkins, Head Coach of the Vikings Mixed Ability Rugby Team. “They have supported each other to create an inclusive environment where every player is a valued member of the team. Rugby is the most sociable and inclusive sport in the world. I know the Oshawa Vikings will take great pride in representing their club and country at IMART 2022.”
Supported by the Irish Rugby Football Union, IMART 2022 will be the largest tournament to date with 24 men’s teams competing for the overall Winner’s Trophy and most importantly, the Spirit of Trophy. Each team will play a total of six games.
The Vikings will be in a pool including the Bumble Bees RUFC from England, the West Cork jesters from Ireland and the Gaztedi RT from Spain. Over 1000 players from rugby clubs in Italy, Scotland, Wales, Argentina, Belgium, Chile and Ecuador will also compete.
“It is fantastic to have an Ontario Mixed Ability Rugby team representing Canada on an international scale,” said Myles Spencer, CEO of Rugby Ontario. “The impact of Mixed Ability Rugby in Ontario has been felt by many athletes, coaches, clubs and communities that have experienced this inclusive approach to sport. It is great to see the program growing and we look forward to following the Oshawa Vikings RFC as they compete at the 2022 International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament in Ireland.”
Organizers of IMART 2022 are also pleased to announce that they will host the first ever Women’s Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament in Cork. Teams from Ireland, Spain and the Italian Harlequeens Latinas (with players from Ecuador and Argentina) will be in attendance with additional participating players coming from England, Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada, including seven players from Oshawa.
This Mixed Ability Rugby Touring team has been 3 years in the making as part of Abilities Centre’s vision to bring Mixed Ability Sport (MAS) to Canada. Through partnership with International Mixed Ability Sport (IMAS), Abilities Centre are the exclusive developers and delivery agents for Mixed Ability Sport in Canada. “Breaking down barriers to access sport and recreation for people of all ages and abilities is a core part of our vision at Abilities Centre. Mixed Ability Sport (MAS) has tremendous potential to provide more equitable opportunities for participation across all sports in Canada, particularly for those who have traditionally faced barriers to participating in mainstream sport settings” says Stuart McReynolds, President and CEO of Abilities Centre. “We could not be prouder of all the athletes, along with our community, provincial and national sport partners as the trailblazers for this innovative approach in ensuring no-one is left on the sideline. I am confident that the athletes selected as part of Canada’s first-ever Mixed Ability Rugby team for IMART 2022 will do us proud and will demonstrate to the International Mixed Ability Sport community that Canada is in the game of bringing sport to everyone.”
Mixed Ability Rugby follows all the traditional rules in the game of rugby with minor variations made to help promote increased participation. The goal of Mixed Ability Rugby is to create an inclusive environment within mainstream club teams formed with individuals of all abilities, backgrounds, and experiences.
While training and competition continues for these athletes on and off the rugby pitch over the next few months, Abilities Centre, Rugby Ontario and Rugby Canada will be compiling all key learnings from the IMART experience to strengthen the overall growth of Mixed Ability Rugby across Canada.
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For information on the Abilities Centre and Mixed Abilities Sport, please contact Kelly Kasper , Director Sport and Recreation at the Abilities Centre, at email@example.com
International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament (IMART 2022) Website
Oshawa Viking Mixed Ability Rugby Team Facebook Page
Rugby Ontario - Mixed Ability Rugby
Oshawa Vikings Roster
1. Elliot Smith
2. Patrick Lynch
3. Dylan Parsons
4. Jack Macintosh
5. Max Barill
6. Craig Zealand
7. Aaron Ramlochan
8. Malcolm Hooper
9. David Stralak
10. Reese Watkins
11. Clayton Rolston
12. Sheldon Gaboury
13. Robbie Eliadis
14. Toby Ware
15. Stu McReynolds
16. Liam Spafford
17. Scott McNally
18. Chris Emmorey
19. Justin Watkins
20. Jeff Stralak
21. Mike Blakey
1. Ingrid Schurr
2. Brittni Czop
3. Bronwyn Corrigan
4. Estelle McCalmont
5. Carlene Closs
6. Joanna Ang
7. Heather Bews
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.