Adults, juniors, and minis players alike have started to return to the pitch to warm up to the rugby season.

Bow Valley Rugby Club (BVRC) manager Francine Horton says it will be a different looking season, but it's being greeted with enthusiasm. Registration remains open, and she says their attempting to offer something for everyone, whether it be touch or contact rugby.

"We're not too sure what the season will look like yet, but hopefully, we'll get some play and get some games in for the kids. This will be awesome for them because they haven't had anything for the past year. We're very excited about that."

The club received an even stronger response than last year to its offseason program at Winsport in Calgary. In the end, an additional class had to be added this year.

She says registration is encouraging across all age groups, and many new players are trying the sport.

"It's a good year to try out rugby because we have to start from scratch with everybody now. Some people haven't played contact for a couple of years, so we kind of have to go back to basics."

The Calgary Rugby Union (CRU) is developing plans for youth and adults alike to bring everyone up to speed, with hopes of resuming some contact play in the fall.

Senior men's coach Tyler Hawes says the return is welcomed. Adults have only just been allowed to return to training, and are working within the AHS health restrictions.

"We've been getting some skills in and there's a few games we can do. We're eager to progress a little bit further, and, hopefully, get some contact in this year," says Hawes.

"It's been pretty full-on, and it's great to see people out and getting active again."

He says there is a tentative plan in place for a six-week season in August and September. Before that, there could be a few tournaments and one-day competitions, if COVID numbers permit.

The Stampede 7s is one of the popular early-season tournaments normally enjoyed by the Bow Valley teams. It has been cancelled this year, but the CRU is attempting to arrange something very similar in the fall.

"We're hoping to enter a few teams into that, which would be wonderful," says Horton. "The adults have had nothing for the past year, so it would be really good if we could enter. Even if it's just a 7s team, it would be something."

BVRC has been growing the popularity of the sport in Cochrane over the years. In their last full season, they had over 300 members and have a five-year plan in place to grow to 500. They've also helping to grow the high school teams.

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