VANCOUVER, BC - Head Coach of the British Columbia senior women's provincial team Pat Fleck has announced his roster for the upcoming National Women's League Finals, set for June 27-30 at the University of British Columbia's Wolfson Fields in Vancouver.
The BC senior women will be competing in the Premier Division against Tier One sides Alberta, Quebec and defending national champions Ontario.
BC will also be fielding a team in the U20 division and will go up against Ontario and Alberta. This year's NWL competition will also feature a Tier Two Senior Women's division with representation from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, the Atlantic region and a Quebec development side.
The NWL Finals are the premier domestic competition for women's rugby in Canada, run annually and seen as a vital step on the pathway for aspiring national team players.
Fleck returns for his second year at the helm of the senior women's provincial program and will have plenty of experience having also served as an assistant coach when BC last hosted the NWL Finals in 2011. The 2012 tournament saw BC advance to the national final where they fell 26-12 to the Ontario Storm.
"Preparations started back in March and have been steadily building. It's definitely nice not having to worry about flights, accommodation and time zone changes and hopefully we can use that to our advantage," Fleck said with two weeks to go until the event gets underway. "We have many small goal markers but obviously our overall goal is to reclaim the national title by winning the tournament."
Fleck's side will be captained by veteran Julia Sugawara of Burnaby Lake Rugby Club. Sugawara has been tested at the highest level having represented Canada at Rugby World Cups and this past May led her club side to a Gordon Harris Memorial Cup provincial title in a pulsating 17-13 championship victory over the Velox Valkyries.
"We have a good mix of experienced players as well as some young, skillful talent," Fleck added. "Every player on the field will need to step up and perform for us to be successful."
Returning from the 2012 side are Christina Burnham (SFU), Sarah Byers (SFU), Kim Donaldson (Burnaby Lake), Jessica Dovanne (Velox Valkyries), Marlene Donaldson (Velox Valkyries), Hilary Leith (Saracens / Capilano), Carolyn McEwen (Burnaby Lake) and Emily Young (Burnaby Lake).
National team veterans Andrea Burk (Capilano RFC) and Barbara Mervin (Velox Valkyries) also return to the fold this year, having previously represented BC prior to the 2012 national tournament.
Fleck will also be relying on the younger players to step up, including BC U-23 provincial team graduate Demi Stamatakis. The SFU standout was a key member of Vancouver's rep side during the Ruth Hellerud-Brown Cup and will be a dynamic asset through her ability to play both in the front row and in the back line.
BC will open their campaign against 2011 national champions Alberta on June 27th at UBC's Wolfson Fields. On Friday, June 28th, the squad will play Quebec and then on Sunday will square off against top-seeded Ontario.
For more information on the National Women's League Finals visit www.nwlrugby.com
BC Sr Women Premier Schedule:
Thurs. June 27, 1:30pm: BC vs Alberta (Wolfson Fields, UBC)
Fri. June 28, 1:30pm: BC vs Quebec (Wolfson Fields, UBC)
Sun. June 30, 12:30pm: BC vs Ontario (Wolfson Fields, UBC)
BC results at NWL Finals:
2011 Third place
2010 National Champions
2008 National Champions
2007 National Champions
BC Senior Women Roster
Lynzi Anderson (Velox Valkyries)
Marie-Eve Brindamour-Carignan (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Andrea Burk (Capilano RFC)
Christina Burnham (Simon Fraser University Rugby)
Sarah Byers (Simon Fraser University Rugby)
Laura Crowe-Hutchon (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Kim Donaldson (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Jessica Dovanne (Velox Valkyries)
Marlene Donaldson (Velox Valkyries)
Jessica Firman (Simon Fraser University Rugby)
Haley Glendinning (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Tanya Leigh (Bayside Athletic Association)
Hilary Leith (Saracens RFC / Capilano RFC)
Carolyn McEwen (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Selina McGinnis (Velox Valkyries)
Barbara Mervin (Velox Valkyries)
Britta Peterson (Nanaimo Hornets RFC)
Maggie Ritchie (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Brittany Sims (Velox Valkyries)
Courtney Sims (Velox Valkyries)
Demi Stamatakis (Simon Fraser University Rugby)
Julia Sugawara © (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
December Turcato-Woodward (Simon Fraser University Rugby)
Emily Young (Kamloops Rugby Club / Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Head Coach - Pat Fleck
Assistant Coach - Walt Brandl
Manager - Roko Kapaiwai
Athletic Therapist - Jessica Smith