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The Sport Information Resource Centre

BC Rugby – Vancouver, BC – June 20, 2018:  The 2018 Annual General Meeting of the Members of BC Rugby marked the announcement of its 2017-18 Annual Report, reflecting on its year-one progress against the 2017-22 Strategic Plan. The report highlighted the growth of the women’s game with BC Rugby membership exceeding 3,000 female Members for the first time, who now represent 40% of individual members.  A full copy of the 2017-18 Annual Report is available for download at

Numbers reported also showed a three-year trend in growing male and female participation within the Interior region and an increase in the percentage of members who indicated that they are of Indigenous decent which now stands at 4.4% (up from 3.8%). However, there were some areas of concern highlighted, namely a slight dip in male numbers (decline of 66 overall) and poor numbers for entry-level coach education.  

When reporting against the development of the game, BC continues to be responsible for developing a high proportion of players for Senior National Men’s Teams in both Sevens (68%) and XVs (47%). Developing the next generation is a key focus of BC Rugby’s Strategic Plan and numbers remain high for the XVs game with an average of 62% of the 2017/18 National Men’s U20 Team calling BC home.  

BC’s contribution to the Senior Women’s 7s program showed great improvement increasing to 25% from 16% in 2016/17, courtesy of the Elite Youth Girls 7s program, sponsored by the Onni Group. Stand-out graduate, Tausani Levale of Abbotsford earned her first cap at the HSBC Dubai Women’s Sevens in December 2017 at just 18 years of age.  

The increase in rugby activity was made possible courtesy of increases in both government and commercial funding for the 2017/18 year. Fundraising activities also increased and facilitated the inaugural offering of player subsidies for BC representative players, with a little under $20,000 being awarded as discounts to players’ fees. Particular thanks were made to the Canadian Rugby Foundation, supporters of the U18 Boys’ & Girls’ XVs Team tour to Ireland in 2017, viaSport and the Gaming Commission of British Columbia, as well as the Onni Group who expanded their support to the Men’s Premier League in 2017 which has enabled the creation, and successful recruitment, of a much-needed Officials Development Officer position.  

The Board continued to build on the new governance foundations laid over the past two years, including the successful transition to comply with the new BC Societies Act at the 2017 AGM. It was under these newly created bylaws that Brad Baker, Mark Lewis and Nikyta Witkowski joined the Board by acclamation at last Saturday’s 2018 AGM. They join Samantha Shorter, who remains as President, Britt Cook, who remains as Treasurer, Tanya Donaldson, Doug Manning, Connie McGinley and Tony Watson. Mark Lewis will add to his duties as Chair of the Discipline Committee by becoming Vice President. In lieu of having a Past-President as an elected Director, Doug Manning will remain on the Executive Committee as Past-Vice President.  

More information about BC Rugby’s New Directors 

Brad Baker 

Brad Baker is a teacher and administrator in North Vancouver. Mr. Baker’s teaching career has largely been dedicated to rugby. He brings a wealth of experience to the BCRU board. He has been the president of the BC High School Girls’ Rugby Association for the last 13 years and has also coached at Carson Graham Secondary for a quarter decade. Brad has won national awards for his leadership work in local communities and has previous experience serving on for-profit and not-for-profit boards, including the Squamish Nation and the BC Principal’s Association. Over his term working with BC high school girls’ rugby, he has seen an increase in participating schools, players, and teams across the entire province.  

Mark Lewis 

Mr. Lewis’ knowledge of rugby will be a strong asset at BC Rugby. He is the Chair of the Discipline Committee and was extensively involved in the most revisions to the Discipline Policy and Code of Conduct. Mark has served on other non-profit boards, such as the Urban Development Institute, and currently sits on the executive of the New Westminster Minor Hockey Association. He was a member of the VRC board from 1998-2010, and spent eight years on the Club Executive, including two years as VRC Club President (2006-2008).  

Nikyta Witkowski 

Nikyta’s goal is to improve competitions and development in order to keep BC the most fertile ground for rugby in North America. His experience includes eight years with Canada’s national team, playing XVs and 7’s. He also played professionally in Europe for five years. Already a board member for three years, Nik is currently working on the Participation Committee to revamp youth engagement in the sport. He has coached from minis all the way through to the BC Bears. Nik’s professional experience in finance will help BC Rugby save money and define long-term growth strategies.   

More information about BC Rugby

The British Columbia Rugby Union, commonly known as BC Rugby, is the governing body for Rugby in British Columbia and is a Provincial Union of Rugby Canada, the national governing body. Representing over 7,500 individuals registered through around 60 Member Clubs and Associations across the Province, BC Rugby leads and manages the sport with the aim to grow participation and develop excellence in all games of Rugby and in all facets of the sport.