BC Rugby are excited to present the Coast to Coast Rugby Coaching Conference, a three-day virtual coaching event featuring over 30 speakers from national rugby unions, rugby academies and even the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. The event is being held in partnership with Rugby Canada and the country’s provincial rugby unions and will take place from March 27 to March 29, 2021. 

This is Canada’s first ever fully-online coaching conference with the collaboration of all ten of the country’s provincial rugby unionsBC Rugby typically holds its own conference annually in January, coinciding with the BC Rugby Hall of Fame Gala, but neither event could be held in January of 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In order to continue to provide opportunities for coaching development, the conference was moved to an online format, allowing for the conference to be delivered nationwide with the teamwork of the provincial member unions. There are numerous other advantages to the online delivery of the conference – notably, the ability to access prerecorded sessions for 6 months after the conclusion of the conference, which allows attendees to view every session even if some or all of the sessions clash with their personal schedule.  

The effort to shift delivery of the conference to an online format and coordinate the involvement and collaboration of provincial unions was spearheaded by Aaron Takel, Rugby Development Manager (Men and Boys) at BC RugbyTakel will also be one of the speakers at the conference. 

“While we aren’t able to hold our usual in-person rugby conference, the opportunity to hold a nationwide conference has presented some unique advantages that allow us to make the best of the situation”, said Takel. “We have an excellent list of speakers and presenters, and we’re able to deliver this conference to a wider audience than ever before.” 

Proceeds from the conference will go to the Monty Heald Fund, a fundraising initiative that helps support Canadian National Senior Women’s Team players as they compete and train towards the Rugby World Cup. Ahead of the previous Rugby World Cup in 2017, over $350,000 was raised by the fund and put directly towards the National Senior Women’s Team.  

BC’s Lesley McKenzie, head coach of the Japan National Women’s XVs team, is among the presenters at the event. McKenzie was featured during BC’s Ladies who Lead webinar series in the summer of 2020 and is a former national team player as well as a former coach of the UBC Thunderbirds women’s rugby team. Jamie Cudmore, head coach of the Langford-based Rugby Canada Pacific Pride academy and also a former national team player, is also set to present on his rugby coaching journey.  

Rob Howley and Sandro Fiorino have also been announced as speakers. Both coaches are involved with Canadian national teams, with Howley being an assistant coach for the Senior Men’s XVs and Fiorino the head coach of the Senior Women’s XVs.  

Due to the online format, there is a unique opportunity to hear from speakers engaged in the academic side of coaching, such as Danny Newcombe (Hockey Wales), Amy Price (The Football Association) and Phil Llewellyn (Rugby Coach Weekly). All three speakers are engaged in academic work surrounding coaching and will provide a unique perspective 

Also presenting will be members of Rugby Canada’s BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) Working Group, comprised of players from Canadian national teams and Rugby Canada staff working to ensure rugby in Canada is free of racism. 

Registration for the conference is open now. Registration details, as well as daily schedules and a full speaker list are available at