Seattle Seawolves First Exhibition Match vs Vancouver Island Selects Side on Feb 11th
The Seattle Seawolves officially head into camp on Monday, the 22nd, expecting a full roster of players. Curry Hitchborn the Director of Rugby Development didn't say exactly how many that was but I would expect 30+ players to be in the mix.
They've also indicated their first exhibition match will be Feb 11th against a Vancouver Island selects side.
Vancouver Island have two regional teams the Tide (south island) and Tsunami (north island) representing nine clubs on the island. They usually only play a couple of games a year in May when the club season is over. They compete for the McKechnie Cup - that's the trophy for best region in the Province, last year won by the Vancouver region. The nine clubs on Vancouver Island are James Bay, Castaway Wanderers, University of Victoria, Westshore, Cowichan, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Comox and Campbell River. Since it is mid-season for the clubs it will take some scrambling to put a select side together for the Feb 11th date, which is a bye week in the BC Premier. The select team will likely have representation from 7 of the clubs as Campbell River is a junior club and Comox a 3rd division club. The five BC Premier clubs CW, JBAA, UVic, Westshore and Nanaimo will probably provide the bulk of the players.
It will be a good test for the Seawolves and represent two teams without a lot of together preparation which will test the ability of the players rather than the systems. Extended squads will likely be allowed in order to evaluate as many players as possible. Vancouver Island fans will get a first glance at the new pro team in the region and many of the faces will be familiar, there are already 10+ BC Premier players in the Seattle roster and we haven't seen the complete extended roster yet.
The player pool for the Island will be tested as Canada will be playing USA that weekend in California which will take a number of players out of contention. UVic are on reading break so some of their out of province players might be away. There's a 7s tournament at VIU in Nanaimo on the Saturday. The Island may have to call in some Mainland players for depth at certain key positions.
Curry Hitchborn has already been named as the Director of Rugby for the 2019 Vancouver franchise, when we asked him if he's thinking that far ahead and evaluating opposition players already, he had this to say, "Absolutely. No question. We have an amazing amount of talent here in the PNW and at this stage, to not acknowledge the merit of our domestic club competition would be insanity. It’s plain as day."
The Seawolves are planning two more exhibition matches after this but no details on who those would be against at this time.
Details on time and venue are to be announced in the coming week but Feb 11th is the date on the Island. If you are interested in being considered for the Vancouver Island team you should contact John Lyall at firstname.lastname@example.org
It will be by invitation but an extended squad of about 28 will need to be assembled with an expectation of one mid-week practice before the match and perhaps a Saturday captain's run. High profile coaches like national U20 coach Jeff Williams and Centralized Program coach Francois Ratier are expected to be present.