Friday, Jan. 20, 2012 will be remembered forever more in Canadian rugby history as one of the significant dates in the ongoing growth and development of the sport. On this day, the Canadian Rugby Centre of Excellence was officially opened with representatives from the City of Langford, Rugby Canada and the Provincial Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.
Special guest, the Honorable Ida Chong, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development performed the official ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the historic occasion.
The Minister stated that, “when Canada’s national rugby teams hit the field, B.C. is always well represented, and with the new Canadian Rugby Centre of Excellence, British Columbians will consider every member of the team hometown heroes. Team BC alumni such as Nathan Hirayama and Adam Kleeberger who recently competed at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, are two examples of the quality players BC produces who inspire our youth to be active and healthy and strive to be the very best.”
The Canadian Rugby Centre of Excellence is a standalone, world class national training centre for rugby in Canada. The Centre is located at Langford’s City Centre Park, which was built in 2005 and already includes two modern, state of the art flood-lit stadiums / training turf fields (2,500 and 1,500 seats and a community sport centre. The facility will now be home to Rugby Canada’s high performance operations, catering to the men's and women's 7s and 15s National Rugby Teams.
While this day marked the official opening, several of Rugby Canada’s athletes have already been enjoying the enhanced training environment in preparation for some important upcoming international competitions. The National women’s 7s team, currently ranked #1 in the world, have been hard at work to stay sharp and continue their dominance at 2012 events, starting with their campaign in Las Vegas in just a few weeks.
National Women’s Head Coach John Tait said, “The COE provides a high performance environment where our athletes can come and focus solely on attaining world class levels of technical, tactical and physiological gains. The high performance staff are extremely grateful for all the hard work that has gone in to this facility by so many people to provide us this opportunity.
Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, media and guests were treated to a brief tour of the completed facility (following Phase 1 renovations) including the world class high performance training centre (strength and conditioning), custom medical clinic, high tech Scrummaging zone, 3,000 square foot high performance office and 3,000 square foot equipment storage & laundry facility.
On the occasion of this special opening ceremony, Graham Brown, CEO of Rugby Canada said, “The partnership we announced with the City of Langford last summer was an important step towards a new pathway for Canadian rugby. With this state of the art new facility now open, our staff and our athletes are ready to do their part and put in the hard work as we strive towards our goal of Olympic Gold and World Championship Success.”