On the green grassy fields of Caledon, a sport is played that is not soccer. And it is not football (well, at least not exactly). But it is brimming with passion, teamwork, resilience, and commitment. It welcomes players regardless of gender. It welcomes both adults and youth.
That sport is rugby. And it is capturing renewed interest and enthusiasm.
The Caledon Cavaliers were originally founded over 20 years ago when graduating members of Humberview High School Sr. Boys & Girls Rugby teams had nowhere to play after they departed. In the spring of 2001 they formed the Caledon Cavaliers Rugby Club, one Women’s Club and one Men’s.
Current Club President Mike Iacovelli tells JSC that last year, after an extended hiatus, the Club resurrected itself. The Cavaliers were one of the recipients of a Town of Caledon Municipal, Agricultural & Community grant in 2022.
“The Cavaliers have restructured as a fully inclusive rugby club that is developing grassroots rugby and nurturing the love of the gamethat has made itself apparent in the area” says Mike. “The Cavaliers coaching staff also run the Rookie Rugby indoor programs on behalf of the Town of Caledon at the Caledon Centre for Recreation & Wellness in Bolton, throughout the winter season. commencing April 15th.”
The Caledon Cavaliers offer flag rugby and touch rugby for those who are not interested in full contact and contact rugby for those who are. Teams range from mini, junior and senior levels, and for girls and boys, men and women.
Mike speaks highly of the game in terms of youth development. “Firstly, it promotes teamwork, communication, and leadership skills, as players need to work together and communicate effectively to achieve their goals. Secondly, rugby requires players to develop mental and physical resilience, discipline, and a strong work ethic. Finally, rugby is an inclusive sport that welcomes players of all shapes and sizes, providing opportunities for individuals to develop their self-esteem, confidence, and social skills.”
He also sees strong benefits in the game for another particular group which are off-season hockey players. “Playing rugby in the hockey off-season can offer players a range of physical, mental, and social benefits, ultimately helping them become better athletes both on and off the ice” says Mike.
“Firstly, rugby is physically demanding and requires strength, speed, agility, and endurance, so hockey players can improve their overall fitness, which can help them perform better on the ice. As well it is a different type of conditioning than hockey, which can help prevent overuse injuries.
Secondly, rugby can help hockey players further develop different skills and abilities – like resilience, toughness, thinking quick on your feet, adaptability, improved reaction time – that can transfer to the ice.
Thirdly, rugby is a team sport that requires players to communicate and work together effectively to achieve a common goal. By playing rugby during the off-season, hockey players can develop their teamwork and leadership skills, which can benefit them when they return to the ice.”
Practices are held two evenings a week at Humberview Secondary School turf field. Home games are held here and at the Palgrave Park grass fields.
Mike emphasizes that rugby is an economical choice and reminds us that the required equipment is minimal – a jersey, shorts and socks which are all included with the cost of registration.
Want to know more? Visit the Caledon Cavaliers at:
Register for the 2023 Season here
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