2015 Year End Awards

December 31 2015

DTH vs Italy RWC 2015

The 8th Annual BCRN Year End Awards: From School to Club to Country - Teams and Players Recognized

by BCRN National Team Correspondent
updated Dec 31 2015
[ed. You can also review the 2013 and 2014 awards for historical context.]

In review - it’s been a fascinating year across rugby-land here in Canada and once again it’s time to announce our Annual Awards.

Qualifying for the Olympics became a national obsession in 2015 and was initially celebrated by our Sevens Team (Women) in May to no one’s real surprise as they were sensational all season.

Meanwhile our fifteens team kept sliding down in the rankings to a new all-time low and the trending habit of hiring foreigners remained intact at our union offices - but despite all this dysfunction our women’s team with 100% Canadian content continued to set new standards across the globe and proved with certainty that Canada does have the best female athletes in the world.

The RWC in the fall proved an absolute disaster for our men’s team as they lost all their pool games and exited the United Kingdom shortly after the England Team were issued season passes to the London Underground attempting to avoid an appointment with Henry VIII.

“I don’t always know what I’m talking about, but I know I’m right!” Muhammad Ali

SURVIVOR OF THE YEAR AWARD: We thought that Mike Chu would survive after last year’s Award and recognition – but alas it wasn’t to be and the man headed back to Wellington from whence he came. Despite his foreign roots ‘Chui’ was a big loss for the union as he was a voice of reason out at the Langford motel. He will be missed.

"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." Martin Luther King, Jr.

BOARD MEMBER OF THE YEAR AWARD:. They should have had a full scale board meeting at the Hong Kong Sevens this past March! The Board members crowded into the annual luncheon in record numbers this year. Later in the day they all tried to gain entry into an executive booth at mid-field in the national stadium to swill gin leading one WAG to enquire, “How many board members does it take to finish a 26er of free gin?”

“I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous - everyone hasn't met me yet.” Rodney Dangerfield

QUOTE OF THE YEAR AWARD: Once again our boys in red put both feet in their yap as they tried for the trillionth time in this millennium to justify our Women’s pay-to-play model – a team that is ranked 2nd in the world by the way! Someone needs to file a grievance with the Equal Rights Commission in Ottawa as this situation for our female athletes remains a national disgrace.

"Rugby Canada remains committed to looking at ways to reduce and eventually eliminate the pay-to-play model that currently exists for many national teams. Unfortunately the funding streams that exist for women's sevens are not in place for women's 15s, and that is something that Rugby Canada is working hard to change through the generation of additional revenue via sponsorships and targeted fundraising events." GB

"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal." Henry Ford

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD: Brent Johnston stepped away from the frontlines at his Castaway-Wanders Club after years and years of dedicated service – it was always about his Club and no detail went unnoticed – Johnston wins this year.

“Give, but give until it hurts.” Mother Teresa

REFEREE OF THE YEAR AWARD: Sherry Trumbull and Chris Assmus win this year. Despite some calls that Chris should have taken charge of the men’s BC Final – Sherry got the assignment prior to her departure back to eastern Canada - and did a good job - which certainly couldn’t be said for the chap who botched up the Women’s Final with a record number of penalties called against the visitors from Vancouver Island. He was shocking – but Chris and Sherry were not!

“Keep calling ‘em like that and you'll be bagging groceries by September.” CS

BLUNDER OF THE YEAR AWARD: World Rugby’s astonishing failure to recognize Ghislaine Landry as a candidate for World Rugby’s Sevens Player of the Year – her stats are up on their site for all to see - and better still - so are her spectacular moves which helped Canada finish second in the world when the circuit concluded in Amsterdam. Get a grip over there in Dublin chaps!

“A word to the wise ain't necessary - it's the stupid ones that need the advice.” Bill Cosby

‘RED CARD’ OF THE YEAR AWARD: The Award goes to Sue Day on the World Rugby feeds at the Women’s Sevens venues for the continual rubbish she spews out. She was better when she played for the Wasps RFC and couldn’t talk….!

“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid”. Benjamin Franklin

BEST UNIVERSITY SEVENS TEAM OF THE YEAR AWARD (Men): The University of Victoria won the title again over rivals UBC in a thrilling fast-paced final. Vikes win in 2015!

"The games will be fast-paced and on turf the ball bounces differently But we are speed-savvy and we have a lot of fourth years who will bring experience to the team. This championship will be big for the boys as they've been working hard toward it," Doug Tate – Vikes Head Coach

BEST CLUB TEAM OF THE YEAR AWARD (Men): UBC Thunderbirds won the Rounsefell Cup in 2015 showing that they were more than ready to compete in the BC Premier League after their promotion from Division 1 at the end of last season - impressive indeed – well done ‘Birds!

“Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: A desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” Muhammad Ali

BEST CLUB TEAM OF THE YEAR AWARD (Women): The Velox-Valkyries Team added to the club’s trophy case by beating Burnaby Lake RFC in a one-sided final. They were great!

“If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place.” Nora Roberts

BEST UNIVERSITY TEAM OF THE YEAR (Women): McMaster won the CIS Final against host Queens and took top spot in Canada this year. They capped off an impressive season winning everything within reach – well done ladies!

Athletes get emotional over sports all the time because it’s not just a game, it's life.

CIS PLAYER OF THE YEAR (WOMEN): Cindy Nelles was voted CIS Player of the Year by the coaches at the championships in Kingston this past November and we concur – Nelles wins after her third All-Star selection. We also liked Gillian Pegg from Queens and closer to home CIS Rookie of the Year, Gabrielle Senft from the University of Victoria as well as her team-mate Caitlin Harvey - a CIS Tournament All Star.

"Champions keep playing until they get it right." BJK

BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM OF THE YEAR AWARD (Boys): After a “year off” the Stags came alive again at the annual BC Secondary Schools Championships in Abbotsford – they were thoroughly endowed with talent from #1 to #15 - and even the swift St. George’s backline had no answers. Shawnigan Lake School wins again!

Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while... you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing. Vince Lombardi

BEST HIGH SCHOOL SEVENS TEAM OF THE YEAR AWARD (Boys): Saint George’s School won with ease over arch rivals Shawnigan Lake School. They took charge from the opening kick-off and never allowed the Stags into the game.

"I should be a postage stamp. That's the only way I'll ever get licked." MA

BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM OF THE YEAR AWARD (Girls): GP Vanier won this year and did it in style – sensational ladies!

“Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” VL

BEST HIGH SCHOOL SEVENS TEAM OF THE YEAR AWARD (Girls): Brentwood won in fine fashion against Abbotsford 15 – 7 at Langford in front of a packed house at the World Rugby Canada Sevens.

“The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.” VL

PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD (Sevens): Once again John Moonlight (18 Tries) excelled this past season along with University of Victoria’s Sean Duke (19 Tries). In the Series Points category North Vancouver’s Harry Jones was well ahead of his teammates with 191 points placing him 11th overall on the circuit. Despite the severe drop in the Final Standings from the year before all three of these players had moments of sheer brilliance – in the end we gave Harry the nod. Harry Jones is the Sevens Player of the Year!

“If you win, you need not have to explain... If you lose, you should not be there to explain…”

RUNNER-UP PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD (Sevens): Despite all the injuries and jockeying around with the on-field assignments and different positions played by the squad members Lucas Hammond came away a clear winner in a very long and arduous season on the circuit - and sense dictates that we haven’t seen all there is to see from Hammond quite yet. Lucas Hammond is the Runner–Up for Sevens Player of the Year!

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us…” RWE

SEVENS COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD (Men): Shane Thompson wins this year – he was at the ground breaking ceremony when the BC Elite Sevens Program began and he has guided the Team and the Program to numerous amazing achievements ever since. Everywhere the Team goes to compete across the globe has been an overwhelming success – Thompson wins!

“The fewer rules a coach has, the fewer rules there are for players to break.” John Madden

SEVENS PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD (Women): Last year’s winner Karen Paquin was sensational again this season and it was a hard call to make between her and Ghislaine Landry who finished the season on the circuit with more Player Points than anyone else (301), was second in Player Tries (39), and still couldn’t get a nod as a candidate for World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year. Without question – Ghislaine Landry wins as Sevens Player of the Year – both here at home and on the world circuit.

"Believe me the reward is not so great without the struggle." WR

SEVENS COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD (Women): Olympic-bound John Tait is a repeat winner! His Team finished the season on the circuit by winning the Amsterdam tournament and qualified for the Rio Olympics at the same time. They should have won the Cup in London the week before - but ended up second. At this point we are predicting a medal in Rio. John Tait is the Sevens Coach of the Year!

“Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” VL

COACH OF THE YEAR (Fifteens): Francois Ratier wins again despite the lack of international games for his amazing team. He continues to have the ear of his players who rave about the Quebecer. Along with - Gary Dukelow, Colette McAuley and Meaghan Howat – our Women’s Team is in good hands going forward with this All-Star crew. Francois Ratier is the Coach of the Year!

PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD (Women): Karen Paquin wins this year – after a sensational circuit performance in 2014, an incredible RWC in France last July and a repeat 2015 sevens circuit performance this season Paquin was an easy choice – she moved between the XVs game and sevens game with ease and was a force every time she stepped on the field. Karen Paquin is our choice for 2015!

“Sports do not build character. They reveal it.” JW

RUNNER-UP PLAYER OF THE YEAR (Women): Candidates aplenty in this category as Julianne Zussman, Kelly Russell, Barbara Mervin, Jen Kish and Andrea Burk lead a fantastic entourage of talent – in the end we decided to recognize our Olympic hopefuls – the entire National Sevens Team wins for 2015 - they have been sensational at every turn this year and will be the first Canadian Rugby Team to represent us at the modern Olympic Games.

“Be yourself…everyone else is already taken.” FR

MANAGER OF THE YEAR AWARD (Women): Meaghan Howat wins for the third consecutive year and gets to keep the trophy! If anyone deserves to head to Rio – it is “Howie” – congrats once again – what a year of governance!

“The secret of managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided.” Casey Stengel

MANAGER OF THE YEAR AWARD (Men): Brian Hunter takes top honors yet again after a stressful Sevens season. Lots of comings and goings for him within the coaching ranks but the man can still talk Canuck and remains outwardly calm. There is still no photo on the national website of our winner.

“Some of us will do our jobs well and some will not, but we will be judged by only one thing - the result.” Vince L

PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD (Men): After a sensational RWC in the United Kingdom DTH van der Merve won the hearts of the broadcasters in the booth and the fans in the stands. Always dangerous on nearly every touch of the ball the former Glasgow Warriors winger proved his worth to a team that simply could not do without him. DTH wins and is BCRN Player of the Year.

RUNNER-UP PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD (Men): After a very disappointing RWC only a few players came away with a grade assignment above C+. However Ray Barkwill and Nathan Hirayama did perform really well in a losing cause – Barkwill and Hirayama are the Runner(s)-Up for Player of the Year.

“Fame is a vapor, popularity is an accident, and money takes wings. Those who cheer you today may curse you tomorrow. The only thing that endures is character.”

INSPIRATIONAL PLAYER AWARD OF THE YEAR: Sevens captain John Moonlight wins the Award this year – bouncing back and forth between his duties on the sevens team to full duty on the fifteens team – the man hardly got a day off. Always displaying the tenacious Canadian style of play Moonlight has had another outstanding year on the rugby pitch. John Moonlight wins the Inspirational Player Award for 2015!

“If you’ll not settle for anything less than your best, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish in your lives.” Vince Lombardi

Happy New Year everyone!

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