The Nanaimo Hornets, women’s Div. 1 rugby team, has begun their development league season and are looking for new players to fill the squad, said team manager Emily Rock.

Players interested in joining are asked to attend a free practice at May Bennett Park on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. or Thursdays at 6 p.m. Women must be 18 to register but all skill levels are welcome, as experienced players are able to assist beginners to the sport.

“Our coach Pam Hadikin is really good about working around university and exam schedules,” Rock says, adding that at least five women on the current roster attend VIU while playing.

Many clubs the Hornets compete against are on Vancouver Island, and the team usually travels to games on the mainland in a daytrip.

The team added a few new players to the twelve returning from last season, but Rock would like that number to double before regular season begins in Jan.

After clubs from Comox and Port Alberni folded last year, the Hornets received a mid-season boost of players finding themselves without a team. However, most of those women have since joined other clubs around the province.

The Hornets are coming off as successful yet disappointing season, which saw them lose the Div. 1 Provincial Championship to rivals Cowichan last spring. The women entered the season making the leap from second division after winning the Div. 2 final in 2011.

“It’s definitely a redemption season for us, and it’s our goal to get back to Provincials,” Rock says.

It was a difficult summer for the entire Vancouver Island rugby scene with the tragic death of Hornets’ men’s player Gabe Gregg, who was killed at an Edmonton nightclub in June. The Hornets honoured Gregg with a plaque on their home bench and established a memorial fund to assist community projects.

For more information or to register, please contact Rock at <>, visit the Nanaimo Hornets facebook page, or attend a team practice.

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