VANCOUVER, BC - The BC Rugby Happy Water U17 men’s provincial team season gets underway on Sunday, June 15 with a trial at UBC’s Wolfson Fields. Head Coach Curry Hitchborn will be holding an open session for players from 11:00am-2:00pm as the program begins its preparation for the B2Gold Provincial Regional Championships (July 4-6, Vancouver) and the National Festival Championships (August 6-10, Calgary).
“Provincial coaches were in attendance at the High School championships and we were very impressed with the talent and quality of athletes on display,” said Hitchborn. “While at the Provincials, we were also able to talk to many of the regional and high school coaches who have done a great job developing these players. We’re encouraging all grade 11s to attend these training sessions where they can be involved in a development program that will see them playing the highest quality of rugby possible.”
HappyWater BC U17 Provincial Team Dates:
11:00am-2:00pm : June 15: Selection Camp at UBC Wolfson Fields, Vancouver
NOTE: Pre-register and send player positions to Team Manager Peter Parke EMAIL
July 1-3: PRC’s Preparation Camp (25 Players), Vancouver
July 4-6: B2Gold PRC’s, UBC Wolfson Fields, Vancouver
July 14-18: Provincial Team Selection Camp combined with U18s
Aug 1-2: Staging Camp for Nationals at UBC, Vancouver
Aug 6-10: National Festival Championships in Calgary
The first major date on the calendar is the June 15 Open Trial, slated for UBC’s Wolfson Fields in Vancouver. Hitchborn is hoping all eligible players (birth year 1997) will make themselves available for the session to be identified by his coaching staff. Hitchborn will be assisted this year by Ken Erikson, who moves up to the U17 level after coaching the BC U16 provincial team to back-to-back national championships.
“It’s very important that players know they will have two chances to make the U17 Happy Water squad this summer,” said Hitchborn. “We will be working closely with our regional coaches to see who is available for the program and who will return to their respective regions to meet capacity needs ahead of the PRC’s. If the players don’t make the U17 team on the first go, they will have another opportunity to earn selection while playing for their regions to make the team that goes to Nationals.”
The U17 program made its debut at the B2Gold Provincial Championships in 2013 and went on to develop a number of key players who excelled at the National Championships.
“The provincial coaches know that everyone develops and matures at different stages during their rugby careers,” added Hitchborn. “We were able to identify guys last year who missed out on previous provincial teams who are now playing top level rugby after being apart of the U17 program. These players also get the opportunity to be apart of rep rugby where they can develop their skills and take what they’ve learned back to their high school and club programs. Through Happy Water’s support, we have help from outside our rugby community to further the advancement of our sport.”
Two players to come through the U17’s who have made great strides include Phil Berna (St. George’s) and Jack McWilliam (Lord Byng). Berna was a standout at last year’s Nationals and went on to represent BC’s Elite Youth Sevens program this past February in Las Vegas.
About Happy Water
BC Rugby's partnership with Leading Brands, Inc recently evolved into their new brand, Neurogenesis Happy Water®, it was announced in March. Happy Water is Canada's award-winning naturally alkaline lithia water now being distributed across the country.
Asking “What are you made of?(TM)” – a refrain all too familiar to rugby players at all levels – Happy Water® contains naturally-occurring Lithia, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium and Sodium, the primary ingredients necessary to refresh and replenish athletes. It’s alkalinity assists in fast absorption. Happy Water’s® mission is to provide consumers everywhere with the opportunity to experience the benefits of this unique, naturally functional water. WHAT ARE YOU MADE OF?(TM)