Women's Month SPOTLIGHT: McKinley Hunt

March 08, 2024


Women's Month SPOTLIGHT: McKinley Hunt

By: Nikolas Viveiros

Prop forward Mckinley Hunt has become a force to be reckoned with in premiership women’s rugby. Currently playing for Saracens Rugby Club in North London, Hunt’s journey to the top of the game has taken her through both the highs and lows of the sport.  


Born in King City, ON, Hunt began playing rugby during her freshman year of high school at The Country Day School. She became team captain and after her grade 10 season, she joined Barrie RFC and got involved in Rugby Ontario. 


“I knew I wanted to play from a young age as my grandfather played in the UK,” said Hunt. “I was hooked from the moment I stepped on the pitch and knew I eventually wanted to play for a school with a strong rugby program.”  


Hunt’s work on and off the pitch landed her the opportunity to play rugby at Queens University. Education is something she has always prioritized, and being able to play the sport she loved while pursuing a career in teaching was crucial.  


“Teaching is something I’m incredibly passionate about,” said Hunt. “I’ve been fortunate to have had great support systems that have allowed me to achieve my goals on the pitch and excel in the classroom.” 


One of Hunt’s biggest accomplishments was the honour of representing Canada at the 2021 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. She scored a try against the US in their quarterfinal matchup and played a significant role as Canada captured fourth place. Hunt believes this is just the beginning of what Canada has to offer.  


“The World Cup is the epitome of Womens 15’s rugby,” said Hunt. “There was an attitude shift in how Canada is seen in the international community at that tournament, and I believe the 2025 World Cup will showcase even more of what we’re capable of.” 


Hunt’s success has certainly not come without pain. She’s battled through both an ACL and serious ankle injury while going through multiple surgeries to get back on the pitch. These are the moments she believes have shaped her in becoming a better athlete. 


“I thought competing at a World Cup seemed far away because I couldn’t stand up or walk,” said Hunt. “Any athlete who’s had a serious injury knows how hard it can be to come back and I’m grateful to be on the other side of that now.” 


Entering Women's History Month, Hunt believes the growth seen in the women’s game is only the beginning and that young female athletes already have more resources available to help them succeed.  


“In Ontario, you have the opportunity to play club rugby at such a young age which didn’t exist when I was growing up.” said Hunt. “I hope girls take these opportunities that are available to them regardless of if they are going to find success or not. You never know what you can achieve.” 


Looking ahead, Hunt says there is still lots of work to be done to bring the women's game to the next level. Though she is happy with the current progress, she knows this is only the start.  “People my age are trail blazers in the women's game,” said Hunt. “The progress that we’ve made has allowed me to play professionally but I hope in the future that women can have the same conversations as men in terms of how much they are getting paid and supported by their organizations.” 


Hunt and the Saracens currently sit 2nd in the Allianz Premier Women’s Rugby table. The club will be chasing their fourth title, with Hunt hoping to claim her first title with the team. 


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