The Chestermere Vikings Rugby organization presented their first sponsor of the Under 13 Boys’ team, with a framed club jersey on Aug. 2 at the Jacks West Side Grill.
Zach Baker, owner of Aire Serv, was presented with a club jersey with his company’s logo on it, by the Chestermere Under 13 Boys’ team representatives, Keeran Risdon, Carson Warren, Rineet Narayan, and Isaac Rainey.
“We’re a not-for-profit and generating funds through sponsorship is one of the most critical things we can do as an organization,” said Rugby Manager of the Chestermere Vikings Matt Rainey.
“As a not-for-profit, we’re always looking for the extra money to be able to afford this,” he added.
Last year, the Chestermere Vikings did not receive any sponsorship, and the funds used were generated through private donation.
Although the Chestermere Vikings organization is only two-years-old, Rainey has received an outpour of support from athletes in the Chestermere area, wanting to play rugby but not able to go into Calgary for an organized sport.
For the Chestermere Vikings inaugural year, there was 10 under 11 players.
Currently, the organization has grown to 21 from 11 players, and 16 under 11 players.
“We’ve grown quite significantly,” Rainey said.
“In providing us the funds, we’re able to keep our registration costs to a minimum, because rugby is a very affordable sport when you compare it to hockey, football, and even soccer,” he said.
Adding, “As a club, we’re trying to keep sport affordable for all of the young people in Chestermere. Through these sponsors, we’re about to do that.”
Although Rainey himself has been involved in rugby for over 50 years, and was a professional coach for 25 years, beginning the Chestermere Vikings was inspired by his son.
“My son and my daughter were playing rugby for a club in Calgary, my son said to me one day that he would like to play with his buddy from school,” Rainey said.
“It was out of a promise to my son that we would make a rugby club for him to play with his buddies,” he added.
For families, it can be challenging to get their children to organized sports in the evenings, which is why Rainey wanted to make it easier for youth to play sports locally.
“It’s very tough, and we know that personally,” Rainey said.
However, now that the Chestermere Vikings organization has grown quickly, the promise Rainey made to his son has spread to approximately 40 other youth in the community.
“We’re going to keep the club going, and we’re going to have the sport available to them,” Rainey said.
He added, “My background is prominently high performance and youth development, but this is volunteer work, and I just want kids to play rugby.”
Rugby is a worldwide played sport that gives youth in the community an opportunity to expand their world.
“We’ve got kids from every school in the whole city. We’re improving their community for them because they get to know kids from other schools,” Rainey said.
He added, “It becomes a bigger community for our young people.”
For additional information on the Chestermere Vikings, please visit the website at http://chestermerevikings.ca/.