Crusaders Rugby club began in 1968 with a small group of players, mostly ex-pats, getting together to play the sport they were passionate about. Ten years later, the club was incorporated as a “not for profit” Corporation and shortly afterwards leased a 26 acre green belt property on Ninth Line in Oakville.
With a permanent home the members set about the construction of a field and a clubhouse. Over the years two further full size and one ‘mini’ field were added.
From the initial start as a Club for senior age grade players the club has expanded to include our Junior and Minor programs
The expansion has had the effect of changing the ethos of the club. Through the junior / minor players and their parents the club has become more community involved and focused.
The Crusaders pride themselves on having a history full of colourful characters as well as some outstanding rugby players.
Our Mission Statement states: “Crusaders Rugby Club exists to develop and promote a lifelong rugby experience within our community across a broad range of age, gender and experience levels from novice to the national representative level”. We see ourselves as a “Community” Club with firm roots in our immediate community.
In the 2015 season Crusaders membership exceeded 675 Players, 55 Coaches and over 100 Volunteers as well as Club Referees, Medical Staff and Club Supporters.
Minor (Mini) Program
Crusaders believe that the earlier players become involved in rugby the better! Our minor (mini) program, with over 200 players, starts at U6 and continues to the U12 level where ‘contact’ is introduced for the first time. This is the age where playing for the fun of it is very important and we focus as much on the off-field activities as imparting basic skills.
The minor age grades participate in the many rugby festivals hosted by clubs in the immediate area. Over the season Crusaders host one of these festivals with well over 500 players enjoying a day of rugby, hot dogs and general ‘fun’.
Crusaders is now part of the Rugby Canada “Rookie Rugby” initiative and has engaged with elementary schools in our community to bring rugby to a wider audience.
The Crusaders Junior Program introduces players to the world of rugby. This program includes boys and girls from U14 to U18 and, with over 300 players, is the largest program in the club.
The “Touring” Experience
The “Touring” experience is an important aspect of the Junior Program
The proof of the quality of the CRU Junior Program can be seen in the number of boys and girls selected for Canadian National teams.
The Senior Program is the “bedrock” of the Club. The Crusaders 1st and 2nd XV play in the Marshall Premier league; and the 1st XV winning both the league and cup in 2001 and 2012. The senior women play in the Toronto Rugby McKenna division. A measure of the quality of the Senior Program is the number of Provincial and International players, both male and female, who came through the program.
Supporting the Rugby Activities at Crusaders
Coaches are key to the success of the programs. Crusaders actively recruits coaches from parents, current and former players, resulting in a coaching team of 50 plus.
For several years Crusaders has encouraged members to support the club by becoming club referees.
Health & Safety
Player safety is a priority at Crusaders.
The club has a full complement of training equipment suitable for the different program requirements
To successfully run the rugby programs and social side of the club volunteers are essential.
Crusaders enjoy the support of Oakville community organizations including the Town of Oakville, the Oakville Community Foundation, the Optimist Club and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Operating a large club presents both challenges and opportunity.
As a rugby club our primary focus is on our players. Our membership will increase and we must plan for 1,000 plus members in the next few years.
In the short term the Crusaders plan to offer an intensive summer training camp
Year round programs
With appropriate facilities and funding in place the club plans to move to a full year round rugby program, as well as a CRU academy, supported and delivered by full time staff.
We plan to be proactive in positioning our players to enable them to obtain rugby scholarships
Supporting facilitiesIn order to support the projected numbers as well as a year round program Crusaders intends to work cooperatively with the Town of Oakville to expand our facilities.
Crusaders is about increasing the awareness of rugby in our community, offering the best possible rugby “experience” for our players of all ages and skills and offering our members the opportunity to improve their skills so that they can achieve their goals in life and in rugby.