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Rugby Canada – TORONTO, ON Rugby Canada’s Board of Directors are pleased to announce the appointment of Allen Vansen as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately, following a comprehensive international search.

Vansen, a Canadian, joins the national governing body of the sport of rugby union in Canada with a wealth of sports, hospitality and successful large-scale, high profile event and operations experience spanning 18 years. Most recently, Vansen held the position of Executive Vice President, Operations, Sport & Venue Management of the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games, the largest multi-sport games ever hosted in Canada.

“We are very fortunate to have Allen joining Rugby Canada at this critical time in our history. Allen brings his proven leadership skills and a wealth of experience to an already strong management team,” said Pat Aldous, Chairman of the Rugby Canada Board of Directors.

“It is an exciting time for rugby in Canada and Allen will play a key role in achieving our future successes.”

Vansen joins the organization at an exciting time for Canadian rugby with all eyes on the debut of Rugby Sevens at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, as well as the upcoming Men’s (already sold-out) and Women’s HSBC Canada Sevens tournaments to be hosted in Vancouver and Langford respectively.

Canada’s Women’s program currently sits third and fifth in World Rugby official world ranking in Sevens and Fifteens, with Canada’s Men’s Program ranked 12th and 19th, respectively.

 “I am incredibly excited to join such a remarkable organization that is Rugby Canada.  With two marquee international Rugby Sevens tournaments on the near horizon, it is an ideal time for me to see our world-class athletes compete on home soil in front of the largest ever live audience for Rugby in Canada.  These two events offer our teams fantastic preparation for qualifying and competing in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”

“2016 is a historic year for the rugby world and Canada is poised to reach exciting new heights.  I look forward to working with the Board of Directors and the Management team to give our athletes the very best opportunity to achieve their goals and excite all Canadians with their performances,” added Vansen. 

Prior to the Pan American Games, Vansen oversaw the planning, management and delivery of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games workforce, including a staff of over 5,000 and 25,000 volunteers.

“Allen was a key member of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games leadership team. His focus, dedication and commitment played a significant role in achieving overall success,” said John Furlong, former Chief Executive Officer of VANOC, who oversaw the 2010 Winter Olympics and 2010 Winter Paralympic Games.

“Allen has a wealth of sports, business and large-scale events experience that make him an ideal and natural fit for the role of CEO of Rugby Canada. Allen is disciplined, savvy, values-based and a visionary, assets essential to the stewardship of any high performance organization. With the highly-anticipated Men’s and Women’s HSBC Canada Sevens tournaments, 2016 Rio Olympic Summer Games and 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup on the horizon, Allen joins Rugby Canada at a transformational period in their history. He is the right man at the right time for the job,” added Furlong.  

Earlier in his career, Vansen served as the Managing Director of Corner Brook Triathlon, one of Canada’s longest running annual triathlon’s, and Program Director & Head Coach of a Provincial alpine ski team and one of Atlantic Canada’s largest ski clubs.

Vansen replaces Interim CEO Mark Lemmon, who took over for Graham Brown after his appointment to CEO of Canadian Inter-University Sport last October, and will be returning to his role as Chief Marketing Officer as of today.

“It has been a pleasure working with Mark these last several months, as he has stepped up to the Interim CEO role and continued his duties as Chief Marketing Officer. It has been a big “ask” and, on behalf of the Board, I thank Mark for a job well done,” said Aldous.

Vansen’s first public and media appearance will be in Vancouver during the Canada Sevens tournament. A conference call with Allen will be held today at 3pm ET/12pm PT at 1-888-350-3035 Conference Room #- 5289320.


For more information, please contact:

Bryan Kelly, Rugby Canada

Manager, Communications and Media Relations

Phone: 250-216-5272