Vancouver Highlanders

Vancouver Highlanders – December 2023

Vancouver Highlanders Reveal Player Announcement Schedule: 25 players in 12 Weeks

The Vancouver Highlanders have made the commitment to reveal their 25 player list over the next 12 weeks, that would average two a week until mid-March.

It’s interesting to watch the Highlanders reveal their program, they’re instilling some confidence that they’ll run a professional operation. There’s some anticipation of who the players will be, that will give some idea of their playing level, and who will be their opposition.

I had a chance to chat with Ralph McRae, one of the founders, and based on that conversation these are my expectations of the program. Ralph wouldn’t go into too many details, he’s waiting to reveal those when he’s ready, so there’s no direct quotes but these are just my thoughts, readers will know how much I like to make predictions.

Ralph is big on the concept of Blue Ocean Strategy, I’ve posted the definition of that pulled off the internet.

BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY is the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost to open up a new market space and create new demand. It is about creating and capturing uncontested market space, thereby making the competition irrelevant. It is based on the view that market boundaries and industry structure are not a given and can be reconstructed by the actions and beliefs of industry players.

The Highlanders, I expect, will make game days an event that is more than rugby. It will look to reach outside the traditional rugby community to attract larger crowds. There will be ancillary events besides rugby, what they will be, I have no idea, but it definitely piques my interest.

The closest thing that comes to mind was when Tom Woods put on the Buccaneer Days in Esquimalt, in 2012 it was Esquimalt’s 100th anniversary and it was “Midway – Fair – Beer Garden – Elite Youth Division – Parade – Dance – a huge Centenary party” There was a 7s tournament and a team from Scotland visited to play the Canada U20 team.  In 2008 Tom also put on the Rugby Canada Challenge event in Esquimalt which had Canada play the French Barbarians, Canadian Classics vs USA Classics and there was an Island vs Mainlaind high school all star game and an Island v Valley U20 game. It was a great day of rugby. What the Highlanders have planned remains to be seen but expect more than just a one off game, expect an event. And yes, I was promised a quality live stream, so holding them to that.

Follow them on Twitter for the latest announcements, they only have 214 followers at the time of writing, hopefully that will rise to 2k+ soon. We’ll start a new Category for Highlanders, in between Features and History on the drop down menu. In one of their recent tweets they asked, “who would you like to see as a Highlander”. One player that comes to mind, Zephyr Melnyk, after the Pride he disappeared to Wales to play rugby but there’s no sign of him in Google searches [update: he’s playing for Beddau RFC). I think this would be perfect for a player with his talents, his style of play embodies the Highlander motto, “fortitude”. We’ll see, the Highlanders announcement is below as graphic and text.

Vancouver Highlanders Announcement



Over the next twelve weeks we will here reveal your Vancouver Highlanders: twenty-five Canadian and international athletes determined to build their lives and professional careers in this great country.

These are all men longing to play a creative, fast-paced and exciting new style of Canadian rugby; one that reflects and reinforces our enduring strengths as a nation. We are a team formed by, led by and supported by Canadians, all dedicated to hard work, teamwork and our community. We know that winning is both fun and contagious and are so driven to fashion a culture that thrives upon it.

We will at times falter. That is part of being human. On those hopefully few occasions we will not lament. You will not hear of our disappointment or read a list of sorry excuses. We will instead apologize, accept and learn from our failures, all the while pressing forward and upward, with fortitude, to achieve our goal of playing the best rugby in North America.

On May 1 our season begins and with it our journey to forge a new identity for Canadian rugby, blazing our nation’s path back into the top tier of World rankings. Please join us to experience Rugby at its Best!

a ‘bunnachadh còmhla

Posted in Front Page, Highlanders.