Toronto Wolfpack, in partnership with Rugby Ontario and Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation (TIRF), played an integral role in the delivery of Rugby in the Square on Friday (June 8th). Twelve teams, including a side comprised of Wolfpack staff and sponsors, participated in a flag rugby corporate tournament which, along with a Mixed Abilities Showcase, headlined the event in the iconic Nathan Phillips Square in the heart of Downtown Toronto.
Abbot Environmental, Blackshire Capital, Brook Restoration, CIBC, Dineen Coffee, Eventi Capital, Sherrard Kuzz LLP, TD Securities, Tenzing IT Services and Velocity Trade were the other entrants to the five-a-side competition with Eventi Capital ultimately emerging as winners.
The inaugural event acted as a platform to celebrate the sport of rugby in Ontario. Michael Brown, CEO of Rugby Ontario, said:
“It’s an incredible event, we have a lot of great partners. The Toronto Wolfpack have stepped up as the premier partner and the overriding professional team that’s brought everyone together.
“I think when you have a professional team like the Wolfpack it brings out the CIBCs and Under Armors of the world. It’s a pretty amazing event and for year one, it’s a pretty incredible start for us and you’re going to see this grow probably by double next year.”
TIRF is a community development organization that works in underserved neighbourhood improvement areas and emerging neighbourhoods and it’s Executive Director, Amanda Neale-Robinson, was delighted with the event’s success. She added:
“There’s no better feeling than finding your team, discovering your true self through sport, and making time to just play. Rugby in the Square’s impact extends beyond that one day.
“Not only did we transform Nathan Philips Square, we have collectively transformed the lives of more than 15,000 young people TIRF will serve this summer through rugby.
“We thank Toronto Wolfpack and all of Rugby in the Square’s partners, sponsors, supporters, and friends who continue to demonstrate the values of rugby and the awesome power of sport.”
The entire Wolfpack squad and coaching staff, and even the Wolfpack’s new mascot Jefferson, turned up at Nathan Phillips Square to show their support for the event. Toronto Wolfpack Head of Marketing and Communications, Jon Pallett, commented:
“All of the key stakeholders in the delivery of this event demonstrated what can be achieved through collaboration to grow our sport of rugby in Ontario.
“We are all driven by the belief the world is a better place with more rugby balls in kids’ hands and look forward to continuing these partnerships and moving forwards.”
A number of Wolfpack players took part in the Mixed Abilities Showcase – the first of its kind – along with individuals from the Abilities Centre’s Thrive program, former and current national team athletes and Rugby in the Square corporate tournament team members.
One of those players was Nick Rawsthorne, who throughouly enjoyed getting involved with the aim of celebrating the inclusivity and culture of rugby. He concluded:
“It’s good that we’re able to get out and show people what rugby is, and we’re still trying to get across to people in Toronto and Canada how much we want them to get involved.
“I loved taking part in the Mixed Abilities Showcase session. I’m doing a sports coaching degree at the moment and I’ve been involved in mixed abilities sessions before. It’s good to show people that they’re not excluded from sport – we want to show that rugby is for everyone.”