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Rugby club coming to Airdrie

By: Lucas Punkari

  |  Posted: Thursday, Dec 26, 2013 06:00 am

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Come next year, athletes in Airdrie will have a chance to play rugby locally.

The recently-formed Airdrie Highlanders Rugby Club is currently getting things set in motion for its first year of operation.

“We want make everyone feel like they belong, whether it’s a five-year-old holding a rugby ball for the first time or a seasoned player who wants to come back into the sport and play social rugby,” Club President Tim Van Vleet explained. “We are really focusing on having mini-rugby programs for U7, U9, and U11 players starting in July, along with having a senior men’s team that we can put in the third division of the Calgary Rugby Union and a women’s team that would be involved in seven-a-side play.”

“Our feedback has been great so far from people in the community, and we are looking forward to getting started,” he added.

Van Vleet, 40, who moved to Airdrie from Fort McMurray in July, has been involved with the sport since the age of 10 when he started playing the sport at St. Michael’s College in Victoria, B.C.

“Since then, I think I’ve only had about three years of my life where I wasn’t involved in rugby, whether that be as a player, a coach, or an official,” Van Vleet said.

“With the Alberta Summer Games coming here next year with Rugby as one of the sports, and rugby sevens being a medal sport at the Olympics in Brazil in 2016, I believe that the time is right for the community to get into the sport here now,” he added.

While a meeting to explain what everyone needs for the league is not set in stone yet, the first indoor training sessions are set to take place on Jan. 18, 2014 from 6 to 7 p.m. at Genesis Place.

“We will be using those sessions to get everyone up to speed on what it takes to be a rugby player, and both youth and adult players can come out to that,” Van Vleet said. “We hope to run those sessions every Saturday throughout the winter, and it will get everyone into game shape once the summer comes around, especially for the youth players.”

“For the youth, registration would cost around $50, and we would be providing all of the equipment that everyone needs,” he added. “The location for the practices and any games that we would have will be at the rugby field they are building here for the Summer Games, but I know that the City is still deciding between a couple of locations for that.”

Those who are looking for more information can contact Van Vleet at


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