Westshore/Velox Valhallians Nation Team Alumni

Through the years of the clubs history as either the Velox Valhallians/Valkyries or Westshore Velox RFC teams: there has always been a dynamic training and launching point for hard working players to progress to the National teams for both Men's and Women's 15 and 7's teams.    Representing and show casing their hard work and dedication to the sport, through many clubs at times and the family that make up this fantastic community.  The Westshore RFC Board of Directors is extremely proud of all players listed below for their achievements and becoming the ambassadors/role models for others behind them to follow in their footsteps. Caveats for these lists are for senior teams only, so no CAN U21 and below team only players at this time.



Kyle Baillie (Summerside, P.E.I.) got his start in rugby at Three Oaks Senior High School and playing for the PEI age-level rep teams, giving him the opportunity to participate in the 2009 Canada Summer Games. Prior to Westshore, Kyle has played club rugby for St. Albert RFC, the Castaway Wanderers, and the Halifax Tars, as well as for clubs in Australia and New Zealand. Kyle represents the Atlantic Rock at the Canadian Rugby Championship. Kyle made his international debut coming off the bench as a Flanker against the USA Eagles in Feb 2016 at the Americas Rugby Championship. He appeared in three additional matches, starting against Chile and an uncapped Argentina XV. He has since gone on to obtain 25 caps with 19 starts. Kyle began his professional career in the United States for the Ohio Aviators (PRO Rugby) team in 2016, followed by the London Scottish (London, England) in the Green King IPA Championship from 2017-2018. He now plays for the New Orleans Gold RFC in the MLR (Major League Rugby).



Eric Howard is a 5’9”, 230lbs hooker hailing from Kanata, Ontario.  He started playing rugby in later part of high school before going to the University of Guelph as Sociology major with a focus on criminology. He played for the Guelph Gryphons for 4 years from 2012-2016.  He was named the 2014 OUA All-Star and is the Gryphon men's rugby team's two-time reigning MVP 2014-2016, and a member of the 2015 OUA silver medal Gryphon team. The Gryphon head coach Cory Hector stated. "Eric brings with him a very unique skillset of strength, speed and power and has the ability to carry tacklers or run around them. Eric possesses a high work ethic both on and off the field and a very high level of compete.”  When not running with his university team, he played with the Brantford Harlequins for the 2014-2016 seasons.  He was a member of the Ontario Blues in Canadian Rugby Championships action from 2013-2016, winning 3 titles in 2013, 2014 and 2016.  Eric represented Canada at the FISU games in Kazan, Russia in 7's Rugby in 2013.  His selection to his first Rugby Canada training camp, led to his first cap and debut for Canada’s 52-25 win over Brazil and then two more against Argentina and Chile during the Americas Rugby Championship (ARC) contests in Feb 16. He has amassed 17 caps for Canada on the international stage by 2019. Eric joined Westshore Velox Valhallians for the 2016 to 2018 BC rugby season.  Next he will be representing the New Orleans Gold RFC in the MLR league, for the 2nd straight season.



Ryan, a solid 6' tall - 290lbs Prop is a native of Calgary, Alberta starting his rugby career with the Calgary Saints. He has been a member of the Prairie Wolf pack since 2014, winning the National Championships in 2015 with this team. Ryan then travelled to Canberra Australia, where he went on to win the John I Dent Cup championship with the Canberra Royals. He was then selected for a Canada ‘A’ tour to Fiji. Following this, Ryan was selected to the Canadian NSMT for the Americas Rugby Championships for his international debut in Mar 2016 in CAN vs Chile, as well as matches against Glasgow Warriors RFC, Ulster and Doncaster in Aug 2016. He has been selected for Canada's Fall 16 tour of Ireland, playing against Samoa and Romania and never looked back. He has 6 caps and with the NSMT for many of the Fall and Spring sessions earning caps against Russia, Brazil and Chile, backing up the front row when required. Ryan joined Westshore RFC as well as the NSMT centralized program in the 2016 season, remaining with the team currently. Ryan will now be travelling back to Canberra with the Royals to play through the spring/summer of 2019.


Nakai Penny- From Penticton, BC playing Backrow positions of Flank and #8, has 4 caps for Canada.  Played with the UBC Thunderbirds from 2014-2017, winning 3 Rounsfell Cups for BC Premier provincial action.  He was a member of Canadas U20 team in 2016, and a member of the BC Bears for the CRCs in 2017 winning the MacTier Cup.  He played for Westshore RFC from 2017 to present seasons. Signing a pro contract with the Seattle Sea Wolfs in the MLR in 2018, now starting his 2nd season with them.


Nick Blevins-Playing Center positions from Edmonton, Alberta, grew up in Calgary playing most of his club side action as a member of the Calgary Hornets RFC. Moved to Victoria joining the Velox Valhallians in the 2008-2009 seasons, before debuting for Canada on Nov 2009 verses Japan.  Nick was a member of the Prairie Wolfpack starting in 2011 onward in the CRCs action.  Was a member of the Canadian team for the 2015 RWC, followed by receiving a pro contract in 2016 with the USA PRO San Francisco Rush.  Nick has 58 caps with 44 starts, collecting 55 points with 11 tries.  And will be on the national team again for the 2019 RWC.


Andrew Ferguson- From Mississauga, Ontario, plays Scrum Half position with 11 caps with 2 starts for Canada, debut on NSMT Feb 2016 in CAN vs USA. He played with the Oakville Crusaders in Ontario, as well for McMasters University from 2009-2015. He was selected as member for national University 7’s Dream Team in 15.  He was member of the Canadian U20 team for 2 years in 2011-2012. Andrew was also a member of Ontario Blues for 7 years from 2011-2017. He played for Westshore RFC from 2016-2018, before signed with Toronto Arrows RFC in the MLR, 1st year in 2019.


Brock Staller- From Vancouver, BC playing Wing/Center position has 16 caps with 13 starts for Canada-scoring 69 points, debut on NSMT Feb 16 in CAN vs Brazil. He was a member of the Vancouver Wave all-star regional team, as well as the BC Bears provincial team in the CRC. Was a member of the UBC Thunderbird from 2014-2016, where for 2 yrs straight was the BC Premier Division leading scorer. He played for Meralomas RFC for many years before joining Westshore RFC in 2018-2019 seasons. Brock signed as a pro with the Seattle Seawolves in the MLR in 2018, now starting his 2nd year.


Clay Panga was born in New Zealand and moved to Canada at an early age.  Joining Velox Valhallians RFC in Victoria as a player from 2005-2009, along with many other Rugby Canada players from the time, winning the Vancouver Island Championships and BC Provincial finalist. He was selected to the BC Bears provincial team in 2009, winning the National Championships.  In 2010 Clay was awarded a professional contract playing for Maidenhead RFC in England, before heading back to Canada to play for the Calgary Hornets winning 3 Alberta Provincial Championships from 2011-2014 in summer time action.  During this time Clay was selected for the Prairie Wolfpack from 2011-2017, winning the National Championships in 2015.  Clay would move to Victoria, BC for winter action lacing up his boots with Castaway Wanders from 2014-2015, switched clubs in the 2015 summer season to St. Albert’s RFC (SAR) as a player coach winning the Alberta Provincial Championships again, before returning back to Victoria, BC.  Clay returned to help his original club Velox Valhallians get back into Premier League play, as they moved and rebranded as Westshore RFC in 2016 as a men’s team player and assistant coach, as well as the Women’s team Head Coach who won the BC Women's Finals.  Clay became the Westshore’s Executive Director on the Board of Directors in the 2016 season until present.  He was selected on the NSMT for the ARC tournament in 2016 earning 4 caps for Canada. Selected again for Rugby Canada’s Fall 2016 tour against England, Romania and Samoa.  And finishing off his National level play for Canada in the ARC in Feb 2017 against Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil: with 15 caps for Canada. Clay has now taken over the reigns as the Westshore Valkyries Women's team Head Coach. Of note Clay is married to long time Velox/Westshore Valkyries and NSWT member Barbara Mervin.



Tom Dolezel a Prop who has 16 caps for Canada, making his debut on NSMT in CAN vs Russia in 09, playing his last game in 2018 in the ARC tournament. He briefly played for Otago University while in NZ, before playing for the Western University Mustangs.  He played in the CFL for Calgary Stampeders as defensive Tackle in 2008. Tom received a pro contract and played in Colwyn Bay, Wales in 2009.  He played for Velox Valhallians in 2009-2010 seasons in Victoria, while playing his summer rugby as a member of the Ontario Blues starting in 2009 until 2016. He played in the qualifiers for the 2015 Rugby World Cup against the United States but did not make the cut for the World Cup squad due to injury. In 2016, Tom became the head coach of the University of Western Ontario's Men's Rugby team following a season spent as Assistant Coach.  Before he signed with the Toronto Arrows RFC in the MLR for his 1st year in 2018.


Winston Ulysses Stanley: He played wing for UBC, JBAA and Vancouver Kats in Canada before later moving to English club Leicester Tigers.  He earned 66 caps for Canada, making his debut on May 21, 1994 against the United States. He played in the 1995 and 2003 Rugby World Cup finals.  Stanley was part of the Leicester Tigers team that won the Heineken Cup, Zurich Premiership, and the Championship play-off in 2001.  He retired from international rugby following the 2003 Rugby World Cup, amassing 66 caps and 123 points in international play. In 2004 he was named as player/coach for the Velox Valhallians club, which he led to the BC Premier provincial championships.  Over the last 5 years, he has coached the Edmonton Gold in the Rugby Canada Super League and the Vancouver Island Crimson Tide Under-20 men’s squad. Last season he was Director of Rugby at Glenlyon Norfolk School in Victoria, Coached the UVIC Norsemen while volunteering coaching with the Velox junior and youth programs as a U18 coach.  Winston was the Head Coach again for the VELOX Valhallians RFC move and rebranding to Westshore RFC from 2014-2016.  Winston was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.


Kevin “Lunk” Wirachowski: Started his rugby years playing for the Port Alberni Black Sheep before joining the Velox Valhallians for the past 2 1/2 decades.  Kevin has been a capped international tight-head prop for Canada, having represented them in 20 Test Matches including several Pacific Tournaments. He has played representative rugby in Canada, America, Croatia, Japan, Hong Kong and the UK with the London Wasps.  His first international test was Canada vs. England 17 Oct 1992, with his last game Canada vs. NZ 02 Aug 2003, where Kevin holds the Canadian record for the oldest player to competitively play in an international game at the age of 40.  Kevin first began tinkering with Scrum machines in 1986 and finally built a new one, from scratch, in 1991. Since the first machine was produced the potential of his products has been obvious. The Inventor and CEO of the ScrumMaster product range, Kevin has been working for nearly 21 years with the goal of bringing the world's best rugby training machines to market.


Matt Phinney, a Lock from Markham Ontario. Was a member of the Canadian U21 squad in 2000-02, before moving to Victoria and playing with Velox Valhallians RFC in early to mid 2000's. He received 2 caps for Canada, debut in CAN vs Scotland in Ont Jun 06, with his other game being against England in same month.  Matt played with Toronto Extreme RFC for CRC action as well in 06.  He continued with Sask Prairie Fire CRC for 2007-09 seasons, before finishing his playing career with the Meralomas RFC in Vancouver in 2010.


Ollie Atkinson, a Lock/ Flanker born in Sheffield UK and moved to Canada as a boy. Played rugby for the Aurora Barbarians RFC until 2006 for his summer action, while wintering in Victoria and playing for Velox Valhallians from 2004-06.   He mustered 5 caps/2 starts for Canada; debut was CAN vs Japan in Tokyo May 05. He received Pro contracts overseas from French Stade Bordelaise RFC in 2006-07.  Then to Moseley RFC in Manchester, England from 2007-09. When he moved back to Canada, and continued to play with Aurora Barbarians into and past the 2012 seasons.


>Bryn Keys was a center from Abbotsford RFC, where as a junior he won the U16 BC Provincial Title, and a silver medal for a National title with same team. He won the CIS 2003 Championship for 15ths while in university. He was a member of the CAN U19 World Juniors 2004 in South Africa, before joining and playing for Velox Valhallians from 2005 to 2007.  He captured an Ontario provincial title in 2007 with the Aurora Barbarians RFC.  He has 8 caps with 5 starts for 15’s action, debuting for his 1st cap CAN vs USA on Jun 08.  He has  9 caps for 7’s play, including the 2009 RWC 7’s in Dubai. He received a Pro contract in 2009-10 with Moseley RFC in Manchester England.  Bryn returned to Victoria, Canada to win another CIS National 7’s title in 2011 with UVIC. Before briefly joining JBAA RFC in 2011 and suffering a career ending injury.


Both identical twins Mike and Dan Pletch from Lucan, Ontario; played for the Canada National rugby team and Velox RFC. Mike (the older twin by 2 minutes) started as a prop and eventually hooker for the NSMT.  Both brothers have an almost identical early career, playing for the Oakville Crusaders in Ontario. They played for the Ontario U16 & U18 teams.   The twins went to the IRB U19 World Championships in Chile in 2001 and in Italy in 2002, and the IRB U21 World Championships in England in 2003 representing Canada.. Both Mike and his brother started against Scotland in the 2006 Churchill Cup, the first twins ever to start internationally in the front row.  Mike earned 12 Caps playing for Canada from 2005 till 2012 and was in the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France. He was named McMaster University's “Male Athlete of the Year for 2006”, where he graduated from with a degree in Civil Engineering and Management in 2007.  Now retired from NSMT, he lives in Victoria BC with his family.  Actively still participating in the sport and developing new players as the Head Coach of the Velox U18 boy’s junior team.  Dan has played many years for the Ontario Blues in CRC league play.  While earning 16 caps for Canada debuting in 2004 versus the USA, he completed his career in 2010 against Spain during Canada’s European tour.


Dean Van camp born in Port Perry Ontario started playing for National teams as a member of Canada’s U19 team beginning at age 17 in 2000 as a wing and center.  In 2004 he went on to play for Canada’s national 7’s team in a tournament in South Africa, while in the same year leading his Western University Mustangs to a provincial title scoring the game winning score.  In 2005 Dean moved to Victoria, BC where he went on to the National 15’s team for his first test match in the Toshiba super Cup in and against Japan, where he again scored the winning try this time ensuring Canada’s championship victory.   He played for Canada in Barclays Churchill cup in 2006, and again in Cardiff, Wales verses the All Blacks from NZ.  Was part of National team tour in 2008 to Europe where he saw action against Portugal and Wales, until injuries forced an early retirement in 2009.  Dean relocated in 2014 with his wife and family back to Port Perry to participate in the family business at Van Camp Contracting.  Dean first joined Velox Valhallians RFC in 2005 until 2009.



Born in Vancouver, BC; he played open side Flanker, but mainly Hooker for Canada.  He was a member of the Canada U-19 team, with one of his best memories of beating Wales in France in 1998.  He made his test debut for the NSMT during the Canada vs USA in Jun 2002, where Canada won 26-9.  Mark was a member of the NSMT from 2002 till his last test match Nov 2006 against Wales. He racked up 27 caps for Canada, selected as Captain for 2 of these test matches.  He was selected as the BCRU premier player of the year twice during 2002 & 2003.  While attending the University of Victoria for a his Arts degree, he captained the UVIC Vikes to a 2003 BC Provincial championship.  He also in the same year played in the 2003 world cup representing Canada. In 2004 he joined the Velox Valhallians RFC, leading them to a 2nd place finish in 2006 at the provincial championships as Captain.  Mark is a now a Medical Doctor in the Victoria area.


Todd McBride, was a Scrum half/Winger from Whiterock BC.  He played with Bayside Sharks RFC in Vancouver area, while making the BC Provincial U19 team.  He moved to Victoria and played for the Velox Valhallians from 1996-2000.  Attending UVIC and playing for the Norsemen from 1998-99. Todd got his caps playing for Canada's 7's team from 2001-03,   playing CAN 7’s in Common Wealth Games in 2002, winning the plate as semi-finalists.  After his National 7's action, he moved and played for the Calgary Saints for NICC- 2005-06 seasons.  Before he moved again to Toronto RFC for NICC (National Invitational Club Championships) in 2007.


Shane Thompson, a Center/Scrum half from Montreal, had a passion for sports like Football, Basketball and Rugby.  He earned his B.A. from Bishops University in early 90's, before moving to Victoria, BC, playing Velox Valhallians RFC in 1997-1999.  He earned 2 caps with National 15’s team: CAN vs Fiji and CAN vs Japan in Japan in Jul 01. He was a powerhouse leader for the game of rugby 7's.  He started in 7’s in 1997 debuting for Canada at the Dubai 7’s. He won the plate in 2000 at Wellington 7’s, the cup in Chile for RWC qualifiers, World Games in 2001.  He scored 5 tries in 2002 Brisbane 7’s, 6 tries at Beijing 7’s in 2002, ending the IRB 7’s season that year with 21 tries.  He retired from playing n 2005 in LA, USA: earning the 10th overall spot for most points for CAN 7's players with 375 points, and 8th for most tries at 75 (dated 2019).  In 2005 he transitioned to coaching for RC starting at Dubai 7’s that year.  Shane coached Canada for the Commonwealth Game in Melbourne 2006, the RWC in 2009 in Dubai, UAE.  He finished coaching for Canada and won the prestigious IRB Contribution Award for his efforts in 2009.  He was a member of the Dog River Howlers Rugby Club, where he coached and played in 1st ever 7’s side, winning the Alba Games in May 2009 in Cuba.  He attended UVIC for his Master’s in Education around 2010.  He continued to shape the sport of rugby by coaching the Canada Maple Leafs 7’s team in 2013 with Morgan Williams, and winning the 2014 Gerald McGavin Coaching award from BCRU.  Shan built up and worked with BCRU as a coach and manager developing the Elite youth 7’s programs 2012 until 2017. He couched for the Commonwealth Game 2018 Rugby 7’s Coach for U18 Youth.  And is currently a teacher and Coach at Brentwood College School (2019).


Roy Wheeldon was a fast Back from Victoria, playing for Velox Valhallians from 1992-1997.  He earned 2 caps for National Team 15's action: Canada verses USA Eagles and Canada verses England as a nonstarter in 1999.  He amassed 15+ caps for his 7's play for Canada in 5 different tournaments in the late 90's.


Bruce Jordan from Victoria, played in the backfield positions for Velox Valhallians from 1993-1999.  He earned 1 cap for National Team 7's action in the late 1990's, participating in the Japan 7's.


Gareth Rowlands, a Lock born in Cardiff, Wales, but grew up in Saskatchewan from age of 6. He started playing rugby with the Saskatoon Wild Oats in 1984-89 as junior, before continuing with the Saskatoon Krems.  Made Sask Provincial Union Honors for U19, U21 and U23 teams before moved out to Victoria in 1990 to play rugby and attended university.  He played for UVIC Norsemen 1990-92, making Crimson Tide U21 for same years, before playing for Velox Valhallians from 1992-95.  Gareth was selected for CAN U21, U23 teams in conjunction during this time.  He collected 6 caps, with 5 starts for National senior team, including making the RWC in 1995. He played with RC from 1995-97: Debut CAN vs Argentina in Buenos Aries Mar 1995, last game was CAN vs USA in Vancouver in May 1996.  After the RWC he played professionally for 10 years, for Bridgend Ravens RFC in Wales 1995-97, Newport RFC 1998-99, Pontypridd RFC, Pontypool RFC, all Wales, and West Hartlepool RFC in England.  He was selected for Crawshays (Wales Barbarians) in 1996.  After retired from playing and worked in youth services in Wales until 2012. He moved back to the Prairies, coached Sask U14 and been VP of youth in Sask rugby for 3 years.


Tony Arthurs, from Victoria, played Prop.  He Played for UVIC, where he received teaching degree. Moved over to Velox Valhallians RFC from 1988-93, with a small hiatus living in Japan for a year or two.  Tony was capped for his only game with USA vs CAN in Jun 1988.  He took a leave from the game, returning as Velox's Forward Coach from 2005-07, and again from 2013-15 with head Coach Winston Stanley.


Mike Holmes, born in Victoria, was a Lock. He played with UVIC RFC from 1979-87, earning 2 degrees: one in B.A. and Law. He came over to Velox Valhallians from 1987-95, including the 1995 BC Finals runner up for Velox. Mike received 2 Caps for Canada: 1 for 15's in USA vs CAN Nov 1987 in Victoria, 2nd for 7's in 1989 in Hong Kong. Worth noting that his last game ever played on the pitch before retiring from the game, was last played in Premier Men's action in 2009 with Velox 20 years later after retiring previously.  Mike turned his attention after playing (1st time) to building the sport of Rugby for all to enjoy.  Sitting on numerous boards and committees, he Created UVIC's  1st Athletics scholarship in the late 1990’s, sponsored in part his family business-Pemberton Holmes Real Estate.  Mike was the RC player’s rep to the Board of Directors for RC in the early 2000’s. Still as a sport builder he supported the Can U20 programs as a major financial supporter for over a decade. Mike held the position of Vice President of Velox from 2015-2017, and as President from 2012-2015, and again from 2018 onward. Mike was honoured by being inducted into the UVIC Sports Hall of Fame in 2019 as a Builder of the Sport of Rugby.  While he also sitting as the chair of the Canadian Rugby Foundation for almost a decade.


Mark Andrew Wyatt: (born in Bermuda) was one of the best fullback (sometimes fly-half) Canadian rugby players of his generation and of all time, and for his kicking skills which made him one of the most prolific scorers ever for Canada. He also played for the British invitational team Barbarian F.C. He played for the Victoria High School Titans (rugby) and was first noticed at Oak Bay High School in 1980. He at first went to play for JBAA for a year, before moving over to the UVIC program.  He eventually decided to play for the Velox Valhallians and eventually representing the Vancouver Island Crimson Tide.  Mark had 30 caps for Canada, from 1982 to 1991, scoring 1 try, 23 conversions, 55 penalties and 5 drop goals, for an aggregate of 227 points. His first match for the "Canucks" came on 11 April 1982, in a 24-18 loss to Japan, where he scored two conversions and two penalties. He played all three matches at the 1987 Rugby World Cup finals, with a notable win over Tonga.  Wyatt remained a regular and a top scorer in the Canada side, being promoted to team captain in 1990 leading the Canadian team at the 1991 Rugby World Cup.  He achieved an historical feat at 25 May 1991, with a 25-19 win over Scotland in Saint John NB, scoring all the 8 penalties giving Canada a memorable win. This world record was even stated at the 1993 edition of the Guinness Book of Records.  He had 40+ caps over a nine year period with the 7s program. Mark was the club president and vice president for various years from 2013-2018.  He was inducted into the Victoria Sports Hall of Fame in 2002, UVIC Sports Hall of Fame in 2005, BCRU Hall of Fame in 2007, BC Sports Hall of Fame in Dec 2016 and as part of the 1991 World Cup Canadian Team in May 2018.  He was inducted into the Rugby Canada Hall of Fame in April 2019.


8 Westshore Valkyries from the National Women's team at the 2017 RWC in Ireland.

BR: Latoya Blackwood, Brianna Miller, Barbara Mervin, Chelsey Minter, Amanda Thornborough.

FR: Frederique Rajotte, Eli Alarie, Emily Belchos


Val Wideski: A Prop from Richmond, BC.  Started playing rugby in High School, while playing for the Capilano RFC team from 2015-2017 seasons. She was a member of the BC provincial teams for 3 straight years from 2016-2018, including the BC Rugby 7's Elite U18 teams.  She was a member of the Canada U18 team where she captured the CANAM Seriers, then on to the Canada U20 teams as well.  She moved to Victoria in 2017 and became a Westshore Valkyrie.  Winning the BC Premier Women's Provincial title in 2018, before moving to Acadia University in NS in Fall of 2018 for school.  Val is back with Westshore now for the 2019 season onward.


Paige Farries: a Wing/FB from Red Deer, Alberta played for the University of Alberta from 2012-2013.  She won CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) bronze and CANWEST gold medals in 2012.  She was a member of the Canada U20 team in 2013 that won the Nations Cup for the 1st time against England.  She was selected for Canada Women's 7's team in 2015, at the same time she transferred to Western University in London Ontario from 2015-2016.  She won OUA (Ontario University Athletics) bronze and making the all star team in 2015.  And again winning OUA bronze, making All star team in 2016, as well as the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) All Star Team in the same year.  Paige was a member of the Prairie Wolf Pack in CRC action from 2017-2018, as she again transferred schools to UVIC in Victoria for the 2017-2018 seasons.  She has been a member of the Westshore Valkyries since 2018.


Brianna Miller from Pointe Clare, Quebec, started playing rugby in grade 8, continuing at St. Thomas High School following her older brothers.  She joined and played with the Ste-Anne de Bellevue (SAB) RFC from 2008 to 2014, before attending McGill University in 2010 taking physical and health education, and joining the McGill Martlets RFC.  Brianna won rookie of the year award in the Quebec University Rugby League.  In 2013, Brianna went on to being named CIS player of the year in women’s rugby.  She won 3 straight RSEQ scoring titles thanks to getting100 points one season- in just seven games. She won a CIS all-Canadian for two straight seasons, also being selected as a two-time RSEQ most valuable player, and three-time league all-star.  In 2014 she was part of the Canadian bronze winning team at the inaugural Summer Universiade rugby sevens tournament in Kazan, Russia.  She has been selected for Canada’s NSWT in the 2016 season earning 3 caps.  Brianna has played since 2016 season for the Westshore Valkyries.



Elissa Alarie grew up in Trio's- Rivières, Ouebec graduated from Université du Québec à Trois- Rivières with a degree in accounting.  She played for Ste-Anne de Bellevue RFC before moving to Victoria to train with Canada’s Women’s Sevens program. Elissa is one of the veterans, having spent the last decade of her rugby life suiting up for Canada. After breaking in with the U-19 team, she played for the U-23 team before graduating to the Senior National level where she has played for both Canada’s Women’s Fifteens and Canada’s Women’s Sevens Teams.  She made her debut for the national 7's team in Hong Kong in 2013 and received her first 15's NSWT cap at National Cup in the same year, where Canada won their first ever tournament title.  She was a member of Canada’s Women’s Rugby World Cup team that finished second at the 2014 WRWC. In the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, in which she has 11 career tries as of 2016. She was a member of the NSWT for the 2018 RWC.  Elissa joined Westshore RFC in the 2016 season and is still currently tearing up the pitch.  Elissa started playing rugby at age 16, was first intrigued by how rugby brought abilities from many other sports into one. She writes an “A” on the inside of her left wrist for luck… On game day will write down two things she’s grateful for. Favourite motto: Doubt your fears, not your dreams…



Amanda Thornborough completed her undergraduate studies in Political Science at St. Francis Xavier in NS. Originally from Brandon, Manitoba she has now experienced life on both sides of the country and now lives in Victoria and trains with Velox/Westshore Valkyries when she is not training with the Canada women. Amanda helped the National Women’s Sevens team to an undefeated win at the Hong Kong Sevens Tournament in 2013. Later that year she received her first National Senior Women’s Cap in at the 2013 Nations Cup. Amanda was also featured in the 2014 CAN-AM Series where Canada’s Women defeated USA.  She was a member of Canada’s Women’s Rugby World Cup team that finished second at the 2014 WRWC, and the 2018 WRWC. Amanda Thornborough was selected for the 2nd time for the Women’s Barbarian Rugby Team, first selected in 2017 and again in 2019. Amanda has been a member of the Velox/Westshore RFC family since 2013.



Latoya is from Montreal and played with St. Anne de Bellevue RFC, and attended the University of Western Ontario and Concordia University. In 2012 she received Concordia’s Fittest Athletes of  the Year award. Blackwood received her first cap at Nations Cup in 2013 and helped Canada capture their first ever tournament title as a Lock. Latoya was nominated for 2013 Women’s Fifteens Player of the Year and also featured in the 2014 CAN-AM Series where Canada’s Women defeated USA.  She played a key role as a member of  Canada's Women's World cup silver medallists in 2015. In the same year, she signed on professionally with European powerhouse French club Stade Toulousain RFC.  She has 31 caps for Canada on the NSWT. Latoya now resides in Victoria, playing for Westshore RFC starting in the 2016 season.  She retired from playing in 2018 and taking up the whistle as a BCRU referee, She now is the assistant coach for the Westshore Valkyries Women's team.  Of note she is married to long time Velox Valkyrie Charlotte Haley.


Sasha Guedes a Scrum Half from Gatineau, Quebec.  Played with Beaconsfield RFC in Quebec, while making the provincial teams for 3 straight years from 2014-2017. Before moving to Victoria and attending and playing for UVIC from 2017-2018, winning the CANWEST Silver medal for CIS action.  She made the Canada U 20 team in 2018, while playing for the Westshore Valkyries RFC.


Barbara Mervin, a Flanker/Backrow player was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and raised in Peterborough Ontario. She is affiliated with the Peterborough Pagans RFC in Ontario. She won her first provincial title in the U19 Ontario league in 2000.  She attended and played for the Western University Mustangs RFC from 2002-2006, winning the CIS Rookie of the Year award in 2002, and Player of the Year Award in 2005.  While winning 2 CIS National Titles during her time at Western, and earning a Bachelor’s Degree in art history.  She was also selected for the Senior Ontario provincial teams in 2006 and 2007. In 2006 she moved across Canada to Victoria, BC, joining the Velox Valkyries RFC for the past 13 years to present day (2019), earning 6 BC Provincial Championships and 9 BC runner up Finalist appearances.  She has been the team Captain from 2008-2010, and again in 2015-2016.  Moving into the Coaching roles as well in 2017-2018. During these years Barbara made the Rugby Canada national senior team debuting in 2005 against New Zealand and with the Sevens team in 2008 in Amsterdam. She has earned a total of 25 caps for NSWT 15's and 7 caps for NSWT 7's play, including winning the Las Vegas 7’s Tournament in 2012  .  She was selected for 3 RWCs, playing in the 2010 in Spain, 2014 in France earning a silver medal for 2nd place finish, and ending with the 2017 RWC in Ireland. Winning Rugby Canada’s Gillian Florence Award in 2015 for the RC Women’s Player of the Year.  She has been a staple on the BC provincial teams since 2007, and has won numerous premier BC provincial championships with the Velox Valkyries’ team.  She established herself in the field of sports modeling career as well, with features such in Beauty of Sports edition for Sportsnet Magazine in 2013.  Barbara is currently married to long time Velox/Westshore Men's and NSMT alumni player Clay Panga.  She earned a diploma in fashion design from the Pacific Design Academy in Victoria and is now the founder of APTOELLA  RUGBY APPAREL, a rugby clothing line for women. Here is her website; http://aptoella.com/


Meaghan Howat is a Flyhalf/Scrumhalf from Toronto, Ontario.  She went to University of Guelph from 2004-2011, playing with the Gryphons RFC, while first making the CAN U23 Team in 2005.  She was selected for the CIS All Canadian Team in both 2005 and 2007, also won the university's Female Athlete of the Year award in 2007.  In the same year she played for Canada for 7's, earning many caps for international play.  Meaghan was the Marketing Coordinator for the Toronto Rock Pro Lacrosse Team from 2011-2012.  Where she was hired as the Rugby Canada Women's Director managing operations for both 15s and 7s from 2012-2018.  Winning the Colette McAuley Award in 2012, which "represents the sprit of the game, giving back to the sport of rugby".  Meaghan was the Team Manager for the 2014 RWC 2nd place finishing for Canada's Womens team.  As well sits on the Women's Sponsorship and Development Board, and Selection Committee for the Female Young Player of the Year Award for Rugby Canada. She was selected many times for the BC Provincial team, including the BC Selects vs Canada West game in 2017.  She joined Westshore Valkyries in 2012 until 2018, when she moved to back to Guelph as the new Athletic Services Manager at her alder mater.


Frederique Rajotte is a Wing/Center from Markham Ont, growing up in Montreal, Quebec. She started playing with her home club Saint Anne de Bellevue RFC on the island of Montreal.  Went on to Concordia University in Markham, Ontario for Communication Studies from 2012-2013, playing with their Stingers rugby club.  She made the Canada U20 team in 2013 for the U20 Nations Cup, which Canada won for the 1st time.  Upon completion of this milestone, she moved to Victoria to continue her NSWT training in 2013, playing with the Velox Valkyries from 2013-2014.  Where she was selected for the NSWT for the 2014 RWC in France, where Canada won silver.  Frederique moved back to Ontario to complete her education at Concordia from 2014-2018.  Where she made the USports All Canadian Team twice, and the RSEQ (Resfau de sport etudiant de Quebec/Quebec Student Sport Network) All star team for past 3 years.  She was named the university's women rugby MVP for 2015 and 2017.  As well as the Quebec All Star team in 2017.


Emily Belchos in action. England v Canada Pool A match at WRWC 2014 at Centre National de Rugby, Marcoussis, France, on 9th August 2014

A native of  Innisfill, Ontario, Belchos began playing rugby in high school where she attended Barrie Central  Collegiate, eventually winning the OFSAA championship in 2013. Her play at Barrie Central opened the doors to playing provincially for Ontario’s U20 team. Belchos made her Senior National Team debut during the 2013-14 Women’s Sevens World Series when she was named to the roster for the first round in Dubai. She has also received caps with Canada’s Women’s Fifteens Team, playing a key role in Canada’s second place finish at the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup. She also toured New Zealand with the Canadian team in June 2014 in a test match tour against the Black Ferns and the Wallaroos, playing fly half as she did for Markham Irish RFC in Ontario.  Paying for Westshore RFC starting in the 2016-18 seasons.


Mary Jane Kirby plays Hooker position from Brampton, Ontario.  She started playing with the Brampton Beavers RFC from 2006-09 for age grade teams and into senior action.  She made the Ontario U18 and U20 provincial teams during these times, before moving on to the Brantford Harlequins RFC in 2010.  She went to and played for the University of Guelph RFC from 2010-2012.  After leaving the school with a B.A. degree, She continued to coach the forwards for the rugby team in 2013, where she played his season for the Highlanders RFC until 2014.  Mary Jane moved to Victoria in 2014 playing for the Westshore Valkyries for club action until 2016.  During her time in Victoria, she was selected for the National Women's Team earning 30+ caps, including 2 RWC in 2014 in France winning silver medal and in 2017 in Ireland.  Currently she is living in Ontario as the Ontario Representative for Aptoella Rugby clothing, owned by NSWT teammate Barbara Mervin.


Katie McNally is a Center/FB from Guelph, Ontario.  She attended the university of Guelph Gryphons RFC from 2009-2013 earning a B.A. degree.  She first made CAN Women's U20 team in 2010, winning the NACRA (North American Caribbean Rugby Association) title.  She made the National Senior Team from 2013-2017 earning many caps, ending as a non traveling reserve for the RWC in 2017.  She won gold in 2014 on Canadian developmental team in FISU 7's action.  She played club rugby for Velox/Westshore Valkyries from 2014-2016, making the Vancouver island Crimson tide and BC provincial teams in 2016-2018.  Katie moved to Oakbay CW for the 2017-2019 seasons.


Brittany Waters a Wing/Center from Vancouver, BC.  Started playing rugby while attending UVIC for her B.A. degree from 2003-2008 for the Vikes Women's team.  She was named to the CIS All Star Team in 2005.  Which kicked off Brittany into a high performance player, being noticed by Rugby Canada.  She has 16+ caps for National women's 7's play from 2007-2014.  Which included 2  7's RWCs: the inaugural 2009 in Dubai, and the 2013 in Russia winning a silver medal.  She was a member of the centralized 7's players program for RC in 2013-14.  She earned 26 caps for national 15's action from 2008-2014, debuting in CAN vs USA in 2008. Including 3 RWC for 15's: 2010 in England, 2014 in France earning a silver medal, and 2017 in Ireland.  She played club level rugby for UVIC from 2003-2008 in Victoria, Meralomas RFC from 2009-2014 in Vancouver (where she earned her Masters in Occupational Therapy from UBC), Velox Valkyries 2014-2015 and Oakbay CW from 2016-2017 again in Victoria before retiring from play in Dec 2017.  Brittany started coaching in 2011 for UVIC as an assistant Coach, before taking the reigns as head coach in 2015, where she was named Canada West Coach of the year.  Her teams went on to win Canada West Championships in 7's action in 2015 and 2018, and National university title in 2017.


Chelsey Minter-Truck made the Canadian NSWT for the Canada "A" vs England "A" game IN 2015, entering the game as an impact player as front row. Chelsey started playing for Velox back in the Spring of 2012 to present day in 2019.  Her favorite memory with our club thus far was winning the BC Provincial Premiership her first year with the club and again in 2015.  A humble player as she was quoted saying "It's really an honour to have been selected for this team and to be here in England with Rugby Canada. I'm excited to keep working and developing as a player and happy to have the opportunity to work with the national coaches."  When asked what is next for this upcoming star, she said "What is next? Who knows, ideally I would hope to be invited to the Spring training camp with the NSWT again in 2016, and to be selected for national team. Before that is many more hours in the gym and on the pitch working towards being one of the best props in Canada. Hopefully another Prems championship with the Valkyries this spring too!!!"  And she was at camp, continuing on through the year as a reserve, and a non-travelling reserve up to the RWC in 2017, collecting 4 games for Canada so far with Canada Maple Leafs Team.


Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Julianne Zussman now currently calls Victoria her home, joining the Velox Valkyries Senior Women’s team for the 2013-2015 seasons.  Playing Full back or winger, she has played for the Quebec provincial team since 2005. Julianne debuted with Canada’s XVs team in November 2007 against Scotland and with the Sevens team at the USA Sevens in 2008, including the Rugby World Cup in 2010, earning a total of 15 caps. Julianne holds a Bachelor’s degree in international development from McGill University and was affiliated with the Town of Mount Royal RFC.  She was a member of the NSW 15’s and 7’s teams.  She joined the Oakbay CW RFC team in 2016, where she retired from active playing, and is now a top level referee for BCRU.

5 Westshore Velox RFC Valkyries on NSWT for World Cup 2nd place finish 2014 

Barbara Mervin, Julianne Zussman, Elissa Alarie, Amanda Thornborough, and Jess Dovanne



Lisa Gauthier, from St. Bernardo, Ontario has represented Canada in the past as part of the NACRA Sevens World Cup qualifying team in 2012 and part of the U19 England tour. She has also represented the Senior Quebec team. Lisa was part of the NSWT for the 2015 season earning 2 caps and 1 try.  Lisa studied sociology at St. FX. Outside of rugby. Playing 2-3 seasons with Westshore Valkyries.


Paige Burdett was a Lock from Fort McCleod, Alberta. Played for the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns RFC from 2002-2005.  During this time she earning a silver medal at CIS championship in 2003 in Edmonton.  Was selected to the Canada West All Star Team for 2 years in a row, and the 2004 CIS National All Star Team.  She received her first cap for Canada in CAN vs NZ game in 2005.  She played for Velox Valkyries from 2008-2010 in Victoria.  Before being selected for the 2010 RWC in 2010 in England.


Shannon Kane a Flanker/Backrow from Ottawa.  Played her early years with the Ottawa Irish RFC, before attending University of Guelph.  She played with the Gryphons from 2004-2006, before moving to Victoria, BC to join the Velox Valkyries from 2007-2012.  Where she won the BC provincials in 2010 and 2012, earning the BCRU Women's Player of the Year in 2012.  Making the BC provincial teams in 2010-2012.  Shannon was a member of the CAN U19 and U23 teams, before earning her many caps with Rugby Canada senior teams.


Jessica Dovanne of Victoria is presently an active member of the Velox Valkyries Women’s rugby team.  She has been playing rugby for over a decade now, having been honored to wear the jersey of many different clubs; Thomas Haney Secondary School, Burnaby Lake RFC, University of Victoria and Velox Valkyries.  She has represented the BC provincial team many teams, as well as playing for 7 caps for the National Senior Women’s 15 and 7’s team.  Her first time playing for Canada was for the NSWT 15’s in the nation’s cup in 2011, against England, USA, and South Africa; where she commented “It is tournaments like this one that are vital to our continued development as players and as a team as they expose us to rugby from all corners of the world.” Jessica was been selected for both the NSW 15’s and 7’s teams for the 2013 season.



Megan Gibbs grew up in Barrie, Ontario, and started playing rugby in grade nine. She won a pair of High school provincial championships with powerhouse Barrie Central before earning a spot on Ontario's under-19 team and Canada's under-19 and under-23 teams.  In 2004 and 2005, she was part of University of Western Mustang teams that won OUA and national CIS championships. In 2004, she was named to the all-Canadian all-star team at the national championship.  Megan began her 15s career in England in 2004 being a staple on the NSWT Women’s team for 8 years until 2012, appearing in the 2006 and 2010  Women’s Rugby World Cups for Canada, earning 38 caps. Megan received her first National Sevens cap in Amsterdam in 2011 and a member of Canada’s Championship teams in Las Vegas, Amsterdam, and at the NACRA festival in Ottawa that year.  Megan joined Velox Valkyries in 2006 until 2011.  She presently is the assistant and forwards coach for the U18 Girls at Oak Bay RFC;  and a financial advisor for RBC in Victoria, BC.


Mars playing for canada

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Marlene “Mars” Donaldson currently resides in Victoria, British Columbia. As a tight-head prop she made her debut with Canada’s XVs team in September 2000 against England, also playing in the 2010 Women’s rugby world cup, earning 18 caps. From 1996 to 2004, Marlene played with Ontario’s provincial team. Since 2005 she has been a member of the Velox Valkyrie’s senior women’s team winning many BC Premier Provincial titles, and has played with the BC provincial team since that time as well. She was the Head Coach for the Velox Valkyries from 2010-2012.  She was the Velox youth and junior programs director and coordinator for 5 years, now the Westshore Women and juniors director /coordinator.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in physical and health education and a post-degree diploma in sport business management.


Jill Payne a Flyhalf/Halfback from Windsor, NS.  Played for the St. F/X Panda's RFC in NS from 2002-2004, winning the Rookie of the year for 2002.  Was a member of the NS Provincial Women's team- The Keltic's, many times through these years.  She made the CAN U23 team in 2004, before making her senior debut in the Canada Cup on the Barbarian Team in 2005 with fellow teammate Dawn Dauphinee.  She played for Velox Valkyries off and on from 2005-2008.  She moved to Ontario to attend and play for Western University Mustangs in 2006, before making the CAN 7's team for the LA, USA 7's tournament in same year.  She attended UVIC in Victoria obtaining her masters degree in kinesiology finishing out her playing career.  Jill went on to be a trainee/fitness guru travelling  throughout the USA and Canada, gaining notoriety as the trainer for celebrities such as Gisele Bundchen and many others.


Laura Russell is a Prop from Bolton, Ontario.  She is the Sister of Kelly Russell, also NSWT member. She played for the Toronto Nomads RFC before attending Western University Mustangs rugby team while gaining her secondary education. Moved to Victoria, BC playing for Velox Valkyries in 2010-2011. She has 44 caps for Canada National Team, winning the RC Women's Player of the Year award in 2016.  She has played many games representing Canada 7's action, Captaining the squad into the RWC 7's in 2016. She has made selections for 2 different RWC's 15's in 2014 silver medal finish and again in 2017 as Captain.  She has been with Cowichan RFC for the past 4-5 years, while also performing as an assistant coach for UVIC.


Kelly Russell is #8/Loose Forward from Bolton, Ontario.  Sister of Laura Russell, also NSWT member. She played for the Toronto Nomads RFC before attending Western University Mustangs rugby team while gaining  her secondary education. Moved to Victoria, BC playing for Velox Valkyries from 2009-2011.  This was the start of her playing for Canada with the National 7's team starting in 2009 until 2016, earning numerous caps, including 2 RWC in 2009 and a silver medal finish in 2013.  She was also the Captain for CAN 7's team for the gold medal win for the 2015 PAN/AM Games, and the 2016 Olympic team that won bronze. Kelly's Canada 15' action has seen her collect 53 caps, winning RC Women's 15's Player of the Year award in 2013.   She played in 3 RWC in 2010 (named to RWC All-Star Squad), as Captain in 2014 with a silver medal 2nd place finish, and in 2017.  Where she made the inaugural International Barbarians Team also in 2017.  She retired from playing in the end of 2017. She moved back to Toronto and is coaching for the Nomads RFC and for Canada's National 7's Academy Team.


Meghan Mutrie canada

Meghan Mutrie from Calgary, Alberta played Wing for Canada from 2007-2009, participating in 2008 Nations Cup in England.  She toured NZ in 2007 playing for Johnsonville RFC under coach and legendary All Blacks Scrum Half Piri Weepu. She studied Journalism at graduate school Massey University in Wellington NZ. Started playing for Velox RFC in the 2008, for 3 seasons.


Dawn  Lock was from Halifax, NS: starting to play rugby at Sir John A MacDonald High school (96-98).  She made the NS provincial U19 team from 1996-97, while playing for the Halifax Wanderer's RFC from 1996-99.  Dawn started to move across the country, she moved to Fredericton, NB for school and played for both St Thomas University and the Fredericton Loyalists from 1998-2002.  She shifted to the Toronto Scottish in 2002, then to Montreal Barbarians in 2003-2005.  It was during this period she was 1st selected for the CAN U23 National Team in 2003.  In 2004 she was selected for the Quebec provincial Senior Women's Team and her first cap for Canada Senior Teams vs NZ. She moved all the way out to the West Coast to play for Nanaimo Hurricanes in 2005 for half a season, before shifting down Vancouver island to Victoria playing with Velox Valkyries from 2005-2007, when she won the BC Senior Women Championships in 2007.  Dawn played in the RWC 2006 in Edmonton, Canada finishing in 4th place overall.  Retired from playing 2007.  Dawn was the RC Women's Player rep from 2010-2017 to the Board of Directors.  She currently lives back home in Halifax, NS running DOMUS Realty Firm with her husband.  While chairing the RC Awards and Recognition sub committee for all the great work within the community of rugby.


Leslie Cripps was a Prop from Williams Lake, BC.  Started playing rugby with the Williams Lake Hustler's women's team in the summer of 1996, before going to Victoria and playing for UVIC from 1996-1999.  After finishing her schooling, she transferred to nearby Velox Valkyries from 1999 to 2000.  Making the Canadian U23 Team in 2000, and earning her 1st cap for senior teams in CAN vs USA in 2001.  She earned many caps for Canada appearing in 3 RWC's: 2002 in Spain, 2006 in Canada and 2010 in England where she was the team Captain.  She moved to London, England in mid 2000's, and played with the London Saracens until retiring from action in 2012 due to health issues.  She was inducted into the BC Rugby Hall of Fame in 2019 as a pioneer of the sport.


Ngaio Beausoleil born in NZ, growing up in Canada between Terrace and Penticton, BC. She attended UVIC in 1990’s, graduating in 1998 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology. She played for the Velox Valkyries from early 90’s to 98. She earned 4 caps for the Canadian NSWT from 1997-2001 through CAN-AM test matches with the USA, with her first in Saranac Lake. She now lives in NZ as a Doctor in Veterinary Sciences, and a Professor at Massey University also in NZ.


Raquel Eldridge from Franklin, Ontario, played both Flanker and Hooker positions for the sport of rugby. She moved to Victoria, BC in early to mid-1990’s, playing for the Velox Valkyries during this time. She amassed 32 caps for the Canadian NSWT program as a Hooker, with her first 4 from CAN-AM test matches between 1999-2000. She played in 2 Rugby World Cups for Women, in 2002 in Spain and 2006 in Edmonton: resulting in Canadas 4th place finish both times. She moved to England in 2002 playing pro for the London Wasps club for many years as a Flanker, until finally retiring from international action in 2007, following her last RWC appearance. She now still lives in England.