UPEI’s Atkins joins coaching staff for Team Atlantic

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June 27, 2013, Charlottetown, PEI (ISN) – UPEI women’s rugby head coach Shannon Atkins will be an assistant coach with the newly formed Team Atlantic senior rugby team competing in this weekend’s National Women’s League Championships in Vancouver.

“This has been a large commitment as the team is based out of Halifax and there have been trial and training weekends leading up to this event,” said Atkins. “It’s an excellent professional development opportunity for me personally, and provides an opportunity for athletes from all four Atlantic provinces to play at an elite level together.”

Five Island athletes made Team Atlantic’s roster—Ashley MacDonald, Jean Baker, Ellen Murphy, Rebecca Chapman, and Jorie Rose.

MacDonald, a current national team player and assistant coach at UPEI, will add depth and experience as she’s played at the top international level. “This is an exciting opportunity to have the East coast represented on the West coast in Vancouver this week,” said MacDonald. “I’m anticipating that our team will turn a few heads with the calibre of play we bring, and I’m looking forward to exceeding all expectations.”

Baker, who plays for the Saint Mary’s Huskies, is also attending the FISU World University Championships’ Rugby 7 tournament in Russia in July, and will add great power and speed to the back line of this weekend’s Team Atlantic. Murphy, a Saint Francis Xavier rugby player, will bring size and strength to the tight five, while UPEI’s Chapman will add agility and speed to the back row. Another notable addition is Saint Mary’s Rose whose versatility at 8-man will complement a talented squad.

“This is a very deserving and wonderful opportunity for Shannon,” said UPEI Athletics and Recreation Director Bill Schurman. “Coaching at the regional and national levels will be a valuable experience as Shannon prepares for the upcoming AUS Season here at UPEI.”

UPEI is hosting the AUS Women’s Rugby Championships, October 26–27 at UPEI’s Alumni Canada Games Place.

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