From rocking crowds, to exotic costumes, to the electric play down on the pitch, the HSBC Canada Sevens has become an annual Vancouver staple, but this year, there are concerns it could the tour’s final stop at BC Place.
World Rugby announced in December that the event would be cut down from 10 locations down to seven starting next year. Vancouver will be up against other world-class destinations, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, London, Los Angeles and Sydney to retain its spot. Tournaments are also currently held annually in rugby hotbeds like Cape Town, South Africa, Hamilton, New Zealand, and Toulouse, France.
“We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve built here in Vancouver,” said Rugby Canada director of revenue Jamie Levchuk.
“We’re having some discussions and feeling very optimistic that we’ll be one of the seven stops moving forward.”
Patrick Johnston, a sports reporter for The Province, says Vancouver has grown to have a strong reputation as a host for the event.
“I think Vancouver has a good chance, its reputation as an Olympic city still stands, the players always like it, always a really well reviewed event,” Johnston said.
Organizers are optimistic, but there is one potential concern: As of now, the Canadian men’s team is 14th in the overall standings.
“The main question for me is, how important is having the local team in the event?” said Johnston. “To be honest, the men’s team are on the bubble this year. They had been an interesting team for many years, but they’ve run into some funding challenges, they’ve run into training challenges.”
The proceeds from the event go directly to Rugby Canada, an organization that – like many – suffered financial hardship throughout the pandemic. That makes keeping its host spot that much more vital.
“Everything here benefits the programs, community rugby, everything that Rugby Canada does, this tournament is 100 per cent in support of,” said Levchuk.
This year, the event will stretch out over three days and feature both men’s and women’s matches.
The gates will open at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m. Sunday.
Tickets can still be purchased on the Canada Sevens website.
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