Recently, my mom informed me “It’s time to either throw away those boxes of unused rugby gear and boots in the storage room or it’s going to Big Brothers”. Feeling slightly sentimental about turning over years of playing kit to Big Brothers I thought to myself; “is there anyone who might appreciate this antique rugby gear?". I phoned up Karl Fix, and he suggested that we contact his rugby friend Chukin Chao from Havana (the head of Cuban Rugby). He of course was overjoyed with he fact that the Howlers would again be would be sending some much needed rugby gear their way.
What started out as cleaning some items out of my parents storage room then turned into a worldwide donation campaign! The response to our "Cuban Rugby Gear Campaign" was tremendous. Various rugby apparel, boots and other rugby" stuff " was collected from as far away as England to the local White Rock Bayside Team. Notable donations include; 3 full sets of jerseys from The Oakville Crusaders organized by Peter Kijak; a plethora of kit from Plymouth Albion in the U.K coordinated by Canadian International Tyler Hotson, a full set of new jerseys graciously given by Lionheart Sports orchestrated by Robin MacDowell, and over 100 pairs of children’s rugby boots from the Regina Rogues devised by Dick Cornish .The Howlers also helped to underwrite 240 t-shirts for a youth rugby tournament that Annie Legault from the local Canadian Embassy helped to organize along with Chukin Chao.. This outpouring of support has been fantastic and speaks to the character of rugby players and supporters across Canada. All 343 lbs of rugby gear was shipped to Havana on May 13 2011 in time for the youth tournament that weekend.
The Howlers would like to express their extreme gratitude to all the folks that so graciously donated to this endeavour which will make a significant difference in the lives of many young Cubans!
The Howlers will be traveling to Havana in December 2011 to along with teams from Cuba ,Mexico, USA, Peru, UK, Argentina and Venezuela compete in the IRB sanctioned Havana Howlers 7s , a tournament that Howlers in conjunction with the Cuban rugby community organize.
- By Chase Sereda
RESPONSE FROM CUBA
Cuban rugby community would like to thank the Howlers and all other people involved in this so kind gesture of donating the rugby gear for our kids and t-shirts for our first international school tournament which was were sent last May 13th. This rugby gear is of great help to continue developing rugby in our country and particularly for our kids (girls and boys) who enjoyed very much the tournament held last Saturday May 21st. We are very gratefull for the support, solidarity and friendship received from all of you which give us strength to keep moving forward. Our hearts will be always with you!!!
Unio Cubana de Rugby