(Photo - Contributed)

(Photo - Contributed)

Kelowna Crows bring Ensign Cup back for 40th anniversary

The fundraising match is back after a two-year hiatus

The Ensign Cup is returning for its 40th anniversary after a two-year hiatus.

Put on by the Kelowna Crows rugby team, the match puts local players together in two teams: under-30 and over-30. It is also a fundraiser event with all proceeds going towards the Crows youth programs.

The match is named after former Crow Rusty Ensign, who broke his neck while playing for the team in 1983 early in his career.

“After playing for Okanagan College and watching the All Blacks play the Springboks in New Zealand on an overseas trip, I was transfixed by rugby and went on to play for the Kelowna Crows men’s team, and the second year I almost missed the bus – but as fate would have it they waited 30 minutes and I went to Edmonton,” said Ensign. “On Sunday morning was when I broke my neck in a freak accident on the wing, tackling someone running at me.”

Since the incident, this fundraiser has helped raise money for youth sports and rugby in Kelowna. More than $50,000 has been raised over the years.

“Although it was a tragic event that affected my friends, and of course my family, I was fortunate that I got hurt playing a sport like rugby – which has such a great culture of support, and incredible camaraderie,” said Ensign. “Thankfully I had so many friends that stood behind me to help me through the hard times.”

The fundraising event marks the kickoff to the Crows season. This year, the crows have two men’s teams and are welcoming back their women’s team.

Over the years in the annual event, the over-30 team has been the better team with a record of 18-16-3.

The Ensign Cup will take place on Saturday, August 27 at Parkinson Recreation Park P10. Players are arriving at 12:45 p.m., followed by a community touch game. Kickoff for the cup is at 2:30 p.m.

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