A Comox Valley rugby player has been chosen to represent Canada at the Canadian Classics Rugby tour in Boston this summer.
JB Nikkel, who plays for the Comox Valley Kickers Rugby Club, is one of the 41 new players who will join the Canadian Classics, a team of former national and international players who aim to promote and develop rugby in Canada.
Nikkel, who plays as a fullback, has been playing rugby for most of his life and has also represented Ashburton Celtic RFC, Mid-Canterbury, South Canterbury Maori and Westshore RFC. He said he was honoured and thrilled to be part of the Canadian Classics and play a highly competitive game against the USA Classics.
“I’m very grateful for this opportunity and I can’t wait to wear the maple leaf on my chest,” Nikkel said. “I’m dedicating this tour to my late brother Konrad, who continues to be my number-one inspiration. He helped shape me into the rugby player and person that I am today. I’ve been blessed with so much support along the way and I hope to make my family, my club, and my community proud.”
Nikkel will travel to Boston with his teammates for the Classic Can-Am Summer Series on July 8, held at the Irish Cultural Heritage Centre. The purpose of this single-match summer event is for the opportunity to trial new players, test new systems, and renew old rivalries in preparation for Bermuda’s World Rugby Classic that occurs each fall.
The Comox Valley Kickers Rugby Club president, Aaron L’Arrivee, said he was delighted for Nikkel and his achievement. He said he was a hard-working and dedicated player who deserved to be recognized for his talent and passion.
“JB is a great ambassador for our club and our sport,” L’Arrivee said. “He not only played, but also helped coach the men’s team this past season, which resulted in winning the first provincial championship for our club. He was also the recipient of the Phil Koester Award for his outstanding contribution to the club. He is a leader on and off the field and we are very proud of him.”
L’Arrivee also said that Nikkel’s selection was a testament to the growth and quality of rugby in the Comox Valley. He said that the club had recently unveiled new jerseys this past season and has seen an increase in membership and interest from players of all ages and backgrounds.
“We have a strong rugby community here in the Comox Valley and we welcome anyone who wants to join us,” L’Arrivee said. “Rugby is a game for everyone and we have a lot of fun playing it.”
The Comox Valley Kickers RFC is currently running touch rugby on Tuesdays, from 6:30–8:30 p.m. at Woodcote Park. Everyone welcome. No experience needed. For more information about the Kickers, visit comoxvalleyrugby.ca
To learn more about Canadian Classics Rugby and Boston Series, visit canadianclassicsrugby.com