The Provincial Tier 2 rugby champions are climbing the ladder to the top league in Alberta.

The Grizzlies will be playing their first season in the premier league, the highest ranked rugby league in Alberta and that's creating a stir of excitement throughout the region.

Head Coach Ty Hawes says they have a few obstacles to work through with Rugby Alberta but believes it will all fall in place.

"We're planning on going into the top division and plying our trade there," says Hawes.

The move is attracting interest from players outside the community, including several from Okotoks and Calgary

"It's really generating a lot of interest in Cochrane and surrounding area but there are also players coming from overseas to play, so it's pretty exciting."

"We're getting a lot of junior players coming through the ranks. Our junior program is starting to produce which is awesome so that's local kids playing in the top division in Alberta. That's what we really want to see."

The Grizzlies were formed seven years ago and it has been their goal from the start to make it to the top division. They're coming off a provincial championship in 2017 and were the southern Alberta champions in 2016.

"Things are falling into place. A lot of people have been putting in a lot of hard work and this is the result of it."

Hawes believes they will be competitive despite stepping up a division. They also have players who have been playing premier league in the city as well as the Griz and now they can play right here.

"In the end, they always came back to the Griz, so for us to be taking that step and have these boys on board, that's what we really want to see. We want to keep the top players in Cochrane."

To be in the premier league you also have to have a tier 2 team, so that means game day is going to attract a lot of people.

"It will be fantastic. We'll be playing back-to-back games and have a lot of rugby on those days and they'll be lots of people coming into town and supporting the community."

With the late spring, like other field sports, the team has been practising indoors longer than usual. They start training early in the New Year at an indoor riding facility south of town.

"Everybody's in the same boat, nobody can train outside right now. I think we have the best facility in Alberta, possibly Canada, for indoor training alongside horses."

Likely the opening date of the season will be setback but time will tell.

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