The Lethbridge Rugby Club
The Lethbridge Rugby club in its current incarnation was founded in 1971, becoming the fifth team to join the Calgary Rugby Union and the first modern rugby team in Alberta outside of Calgary and Edmonton. In our forty plus years we have taken home the provincial title a total of four times, in 1989, 1991, 1993, and 2003. In 1999 we extended our membership to include a women’s team who have played consistently in the Premiership or Division I over the years and put forward strong efforts. In addition to Senior rugby for both Men and Women, we have an expanding programs for both Minis (Ages 8-13) and Juniors (U15/U17/U19).
Club Administration is handled by our devoted Executive Committee.
Coaching at all levels is overseen by our Coaching Committee.
Are you a New Player interested in joining the club? Click here for more information.
For more information about our Practices, which take place Tuesday and Thursday evenings at Palliser Playing Fields, click here.
For more information about our upcoming 2018 Season, click here.
History of the Lethbridge Rugby Club
Rugby has a long history in Lethbridge (see here for more about the history of rugby in Alberta generally) dating back to the late 1800s when a touring North West Mounted Police team brought the first official games to the city. Rugby first started to gain a major presence in Lethbridge around 1910, but mirroring the state of affairs across the country, no one seemed to be able to agree on whether to play by British, Canadian, or American Rugby Rules. Attempts were made at various times to start a rugby union in Lethbridge, with major pushes in 1912 for British Rugby and 1928 for Canadian Rugby (which adopted the forward pass in 1931 and became increasingly recognizable as Canadian Football).
By the 1930s, Canadian Rugby rules were firmly entrenched in the Lethbridge scene, and three local teams were established – the Maroons, representing the Northside, the Panthers, representing the Southside, and the Huskies, for players with jobs. Given that this was the height of the Great Depression, equipment, coaches, and uniforms were hard to come by, but Henry Viney, a local sportscaster from CJOC had a rulebook and became the league’s referee. Games were held in Adams park, with up to 500 spectators attending games. As jobs became available, interest in the league waned, and all Rugby was suspended upon the start of World War II in 1939.
In the early 1950s, interest in rugby experienced a resurgence in both the UK and Canada, and the Calgary Rugby Union was reformed in 1954. At around the same time, the Canadian Football League began to officially split from the Canadian Rugby Union, allowing British-styled rugby to regain a foothold in southern Alberta- first at the collegiate level and eventually culminating in the formation of the Lethbridge Rugby Club (then the Lethbridge Barbarians) in 1971.
Since the 1970s our club has grown to and prospered. 1986 was a particularly busy year for the club: our clubhouse was constructed at Palliser Fields, where it still stands, and the Lethbridge Trolls, our sister rugby club was founded at the University of Lethbridge. Thus 1986 was also the first year of Trollsfest – an annual social rugby tournament that wraps up the Trolls season. Subsequently, the club went on two tours, first to England in 1989, and then to Portugal in 1993.
In 1999 the club again expanded, introducing our first women’s side.