Below is an excerpt from the speech delivered by outgoing OBBRFC President Clint Hodges at the 2016 OBBRFC Annual General Meeting:

2016 had many achievements for the OBBRFC throughout the year: our numbers are on the rise; the senior men 2nds competed in the league finals; our junior boys team went 6-1 (finishing 2nd overall in the city); a Banshee squad finally got their own touring jerseys; the OBBRFC hosted the first rugby game to ever be played at TD Place; and another successful Beaver Bowl touch tournie capped off the summer.

The Executive needs to be recognized for their level-headed, but decisive, response to a Club member’s unacceptable behaviour this year. I am proud that we were able to stand firm behind our Club’s constitutional values such as diversity and mutual respect, even if it came at the cost of a fellow player and Executive member.

We also saw more invested interest from both men and women on the fundraising side of the Club, with our committee activities such as the booze raffle, chilli lunch, Canada Day tattoo fundraiser, and the Junior Fantasy Draft giving us strong returns on our investment, which comes notably in the form of volunteer time. I commend the committee’s work, and hope that in future years we can continue sustaining these efforts.

One of our most notable and successful events this year was the Border Bowl at TD Place. The Club had tremendous buy-in from our members, the community and the competition. By all standards, the event was a success. Moving forward, the Club should organize this sort of preseason event every year, especially if we could include the Banshees into a match.

As our primary sponsor, the Clocktower remains a critical pillar of this Club. It is essential that every single member do their part to support this relationship going forward. Do your best to encourage your friends and family to go to Clocktower, and be sure to submit your receipts.  And Senior players have to make sure they set aside Thursday evenings to come out after practice next season. Even if you only sample snacks and beverages from other players, filling seats makes us look very good to our sponsor.

This past year we had an SGM to discuss where the OBBRFC stands with Twin Elm Rugby Park. We voted to agree to create a advisory board to determine our best course of action. This does look good on paper, but we need to ensure we stay on top of it or it will fail as other things for TERP have done in the past. It won’t be easy, because if it was easy someone else would have already done it. This also means we can’t get discouraged when there is an inevitable setback or delay.  And we can expect another cash call next year, so we must be prepared for it and stand by the decision we have taken as a Club.

Looking forward, the Club has a lot going for it. Our finances are stable, our numbers are on the rise, and we are once again beginning to engage with the broader rugby community. But momentum doesn’t sustain itself. Junior programs don’t just appear for us. We don’t sink our teeth into the Carleton Men’s team by happenstance. It is incumbent on each and every member to participate in making the Club better, and we have to seize every opportunity that comes our way.

We’ve already got a lot to look forward to next year. We are trying to get something going again at TD Place. We are organizing the Tens and Tents tournament next Labour Day.  Our junior boys team should be in great shape to continue its strong showing in the city.

But we need to take things to the next level. A junior team and a junior program aren’t the same thing. We need coaches in schools to pull kids and diversify the source of our players. We need girls coaches in schools to get a junior girls team up and running, and the Banshees will have to be engaged with this in the same way that the Beavers are.

Overall, we need the focus on recruiting coaches. Nappy can’t coach most of the OBBRFC’s teams herself. Beyond immediate recruitment, we need to build this capacity in the long run. We need to push our members into coaching programs so they can continue to support us. I would recommend that if you have any interest in coaching programs, you reach out to the Exec and find out how you can take part, and how the Club can support you in this.

By the same token, we need more internal capacity on the referee front. Not only does it help the Club, but it is also a good way to make a few dollars on an off-weekend. Like coaching, the Club is here to support our members that want to develop down this path. Again, if you are interested in this, I would recommend reaching out to the Exec to determine when training occurs.

When it comes to OBBRFC Alum, I feel like we maintain a strong nostalgic presence in the minds of our former members. It is good to see some former players join us for Oktoberfest, and I know that a lot of alum love donating to the junior kit sponsorship. It was great to have Paul Gaylard out to help with a training session in the summer. Going forward, re-engaging our full contingent of old boys and girls and getting their faces out a bit more would be super appreciated among the youngsters. Making the Beavers and Banshees a lifelong association should be key to our sustained identity as a Club. To this extent, I also note that there have been no new Lifetime Members added to the OBBRFC since at least 2011. I would recommend that the new Executive name some of the Beavers and Banshees of the past decade onto this list, and use 2017 as an opportunity to recognize their past contributions.  

I will be stepping down as President this year. I enjoyed my time on the Executive, and I feel as though I have helped to contribute to our Club’s legacy. There will be some new faces on the Exec this year, but I think I speak for the rest of my departing Executive members when I say that we will be there to support you, and to help keep our ship moving in the right direction.

Clint Hodges, President

Ottawa Beavers & Banshees Rugby Football Club

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