VANCOUVER, BC - With preparations now underway to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the British Columbia Rugby Union, BC Rugby CEO Jim Dixon has announced a nine-game schedule for the BC Bears, the storied senior men’s provincial program.
The 2014 Bears calendar will kick off on May 31st against the Canada Selects at Klahanie Park in the official 125th Anniversary Fixture. The program will then gear up for a tour to South America before returning to home soil in pursuit of their first Canadian Rugby Championship MacTier Cup since 2009.
“We are very excited to be taking the Bears program overseas for the first time in many years,” said Dixon. “Again, the 125th Anniversary was a catalyst for this move. Touring is a large part of rugby; the friendships and memories of rugby tours are rarely forgotten and we felt it was important that the players had the opportunity to experience them.”
Under Dixon’s leadership, 2013 marked the return of the Bears and the coaching staff are now looking to improve on last year’s runners-up performance with a national title.
“Touring will only strengthen our group and hopefully assist us in the CRC in 2014 and beyond,” Dixon added. “Mark Winokur of the Ontario Blues (Manager) has assisted me in making this tour come to fruition. Mark said the value the Ontario Blues experienced in South America a few years back could not be underestimated as it galvanized their squad. He believes it provided a foundation for their recent success in the CRC.”
Ontario has lifted an unprecedented three straight MacTier Cups and will have their hands full when facing the Bears this season. The Bears will have tested themselves against the Canada Selects (May 31st) before heading to South America to take on Buenos Aires (July 16) and the Uruguayan National Team (July 19).
“The fact that it's the 125th Anniversary of BC Rugby provides even more motivation for the team to succeed and win the CRC,” Dixon added. “The coaching and management team invested an immense amount of time and energy last season, bringing pride back to the program and re-establishing the faith of the players in what is an important and worthwhile competition. We have a lot of work to do this season to ensure we progress and succeed, but I’m very confident we have the player nucleus and support team to lift the title in this milestone year.”
BC Bears 2014 Schedule
May 31: BC Bears vs Canada Selects (Klahanie Park, West Vancouver)
July 16: BC Bears vs Buenos Aires Reps (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
July 19: BC Bears vs Uruguay (Montevideo, Uruguay)
Aug 9: CRC BC Bears at Prairie Wolf Pack (Calgary Rugby Park, Alberta)
Aug 16: CRC Prairie Wolf Pack at BC Bears (Apple Bowl, Kelowna)
Sept 4: CRC Atlantic Rock at BC Bears (Klahanie Park, West Vancouver)
Sept 7: CRC Ontario Blues at BC Bears (Klahanie Park, West Vancouver)
Sept 18: CRC BC Bears at Ontario Blues (Guelph University Stadium)
Sept 21: CRC BC Bears at Atlantic Rock (Swiler’s Rugby Complex, St. John's Newfoundland)
The upcoming McKechnie Cup will be used as a selection window for the BC Bears this season. Coaching staff have been scouting and speaking with players throughout the CDI Premier League and Second Division competitions and will be selecting a squad from the McKechnie Cup to tour and prepare for the CRC. Key dates for upcoming camps are provided by Dixon below.
BC Bears Pre-Season Schedule
June 28-29: Victoria
July 5-6: Vancouver
July 12-20: South America
August 2: Vancouver