One of the fastest growing sports in Canada has its feet firmly planted in the foothills.
The Foothills Lions Rugby Club is entering its fifth season of play in the Calgary Rugby Union and will enter two teams in the Division II and Division III leagues for the third consecutive year in a row.
The will be led head coach Jim Ryan, a veteran of four decades in the sport. Ryan said rugby offers the best combination of physicality and athleticism out there.
“Rugby is the most widely played contact sport in the world,” Ryan said. “If people like to see a good sport where everyone is running and has a healthy dose of competition, contact and physicality then rugby’s the sport.”
The new coach said his club plays an entertaining brand of rugby with an emphasis on speed, power and agility.
“It’s very clear to the guys who’ve been out and even at indoor (practices) that we’re going to run a very expansive, attractive style,” Ryan said. “We’re going to put up a lot of points and score a lot of trys.”
The CRU season runs from May to September. The Lions play their home games at John Paul II Collegiate and Holy Trinity Academy (HTA) in Okotoks and take part in the majority of their road tilts just 20 minutes north at the CRU fields in SE Calgary.
Foothills also boasts an impressive Junior Lions Academy featuring U18, U15, U13 teams as well as those in the Minis division, ranging in age from U4 to U11.
One of the highlights every year for the Lions is the Festival of Rugby, hosted by the club at John Paul II Collegiate on June 21. It is run in conjuction of the Spirit of Okotoks weekend. The all-day event features games in every division of play as well as food, drinks and entertainment for the kids.
New this year is a women’s team which has tentative plans to play sevens tournaments and in the CRU in the summer.
The Lions begin their season early in May. For more information on the team visit www.foothillslionsrugbyclub.com