PEISAA – David Voye Memorial Rugby

May 21, 2023 by  
Filed under Canadian Sport Features

David Voye Memorial rugby tournament returns after a two-year absence

Three Oaks seniors excited for the opportunity to play in popular event

Jason Simmonds · Journalist

Three Oaks AAA Axewomen seniors Lindsay Stewart, left, and Hannah Somers are looking forward to participating in the 2022 David Voye Memorial rugby tournament in Summerside from May 12 to 14. This is the first time Stewart and Somers will participate in the popular event after COVID-19 resulted in the cancellation of the tournament the last two years. Stewart and Somers are trying out for Team P.E.I. for the 2022 Canada Summer Games. – Contributed

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. — The David Voye Memorial rugby tournament returns to the grounds of Three Oaks Senior High in Summerside this week.

This year marks the return of the popular tournament, which is in its 24th year, after the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 events due to COVID-19.

“We should all be really grateful to have this opportunity because so much has been taken away from us with the pandemic these past few years,” said senior Lindsay Stewart, who plays the eight-man position with the host Three Oaks Axewomen. “Having the chance to have this one tournament back for our last year is really nice.”

The tournament features 10 senior AAA-calibre teams – five boys and five girls. All of the teams are from P.E.I., with the exception of the Avon View High School from Windsor, N.S., which is represented by its boys’ and girls’ teams.

Hannah Somers, a Grade 12 outside centre with the Axewomen, said the opportunity to participate in the Voye tournament for the first time in her final year of high school means a lot.

“Finally, to be able to play a tournament with your school team is really exciting,” said Somers, 18. “We have played tournaments with the P.E.I. (provincial) team, but we never had the opportunity to play with the school, so it’s really cool.”

The teams will play a round-robin format, May 12-14. The top female and male teams after the round robin will take home the championship banners.

The Brodie McCarthy Award will be presented to the team that best exemplifies the qualities of sportsmanship and team spirit. McCarthy died as a result of a brain injury suffered during the 2018 Voye tournament.

For Somers and Stewart, this season takes on added importance. Both players are trying to earn roster spots with Team P.E.I. for the 2022 Canada Summer Games.

“It’s really nice to have the extra practice,” said Somers. “We practise almost every day, so it’s really going to give us more skill that we need.”

Stewart is hoping family history repeats itself at the Voye tournament. Stewart said her older brother, Dexter Stewart, helped Three Oaks win the championship banner in his senior year.

Dexter’s passion for the sport rubbed off on Lindsay.

“It always made me eager to try it,” said Lindsay, 17, who is also looking forward to playing in her first David Voye Memorial rugby tournament.

“As soon as I got to Grade 10, I knew I was going to play. Unfortunately, because of COVID we were not able to have a Grade 10 season, so I was waiting for Grade 11 to come around and join as soon as I could.”

Three Oaks boys take David R. Voye Memorial rugby championship in Summerside, girls drop final to B.C. squad

Kyle Reid 

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. — The Three Oaks senior AAA boys’ Axemen showed its resolve in the final of the David R. Voye Memorial rugby tournament on Saturday, May 6 to keep the championship banner in Summerside.

The TOSH boys, the defending tournament champs, took the 20-12 win over the Bluefield Bobcats in the final game after running into some early adversity.

Facing a strong Bobcats team, the TOSH squad found themselves playing from behind following an early Bluefield try in the first two minutes of the match.

An unconverted try by TOSH’s Kale Wood evened the score, with the Axemen taking the lead following a penalty kick by Ethan Gallant. Another unconverted try by Reilly Gallant put the Three Oaks squad further ahead.

Bluefield pushed back with a late converted try, but Wood responded for TOSH, scoring after a furious sprint from near the halfway line, putting the game out of reach in the final four minutes.

“I seen some space and took some opportunity to take it,” Wood said about the final try. “Our team played great, and we got the win.”

The Three Oaks Axemen defeated the Bluefield Bobcats 20-12 in the final of the David R. Voye Memorial rugby tournament on Saturday, May 6. Members of the Axemen are, back row, from left Carter Lawless, Kale Wood, Faik Isufi, Drew Drummond, Ethan Gallant, Landon MacKinnon, Brex MacLeod, Cole DesRoches, Riley Gallant, Clark Allain, Isaac Mosher, Logan Delima, Cam Schurman, Morgan Hogg and head coach James Voye; and front row, from left, Mackenzie DesRoches, Cole Echlin, Ryerson England, Cole Atkinson, Lahayi Masarabakiza, Max Steeves, Campbell Wadman, Nathan Driscoll, Keegan Warnell, Hayden Ellis and Connor Blood. – Kyle Reid/SaltWire

The Axemen squad featured many returning players from last year’s P.E.I. School Athletic Association championship team.

Wood said many of the returning TOSH players were eager to start the season strong with another banner win.

“It feels awesome, everybody’s happy,” he said. “We got the win last year, too, and the boys remembered how awesome it was last year and brought that momentum this year.”

This year marked the 25th edition of the David R. Voye tournament, featuring 20 teams — 12 girls and eight boys — double the number from 2022.

Boys’ head coach James Voye, son of the late David Voye, whom the tournament is named after, said he was pleased with the team’s effort in the game and throughout the tournament.

“It’s a tournament that the guys kind of get amped up and fired up for,” said Voye, whose father was a driving force behind the development of the school’s rugby program. “It’s one I always look forward to coming back and coaching in (it) being named after my father. It’s a little special.”

TOSH girls downed by defending B.C. champs

In the first championship game of the afternoon, the Three Oaks senior AAA girls ran up against a brick wall in the defending British Columbia champion Yale Secondary School.

Yale Secondary School girls’ rugby team captain Lana Dueck accepts the championship banner after winning the final of the David R. Voye Memorial rugby tournament. The team from Abbotsford, B.C. took a 36-0 win over the Three Oaks senior high girls’ rugby team in the tournament final. – Kyle Reid/SaltWire

The TOSH team had little answer for a relentless and co-ordinated Yale attack, led by Trinity Bodenchuk, who plays the No. 8 forward position, dropping the championship match with a 36-0 final score.

“We played some very structured rugby, we were very patient,” said Yale coach Scott Hunter. “Three Oaks also played a structured game and we were able to keep the ball out of their hands for the majority of the game.”

The TOSH girls recently returned from Abbotsford, B.C., where they participated in an exchange with Yale, which then made the return trip to P.E.I. for the Voye tournament.

Hunter praised P.E.I.’s rugby culture following the final game.

“The tournament showed some really strong rugby,” said Hunter. “We’ve never been to P.E.I. for rugby and the rugby culture is pretty strong here.”

Despite the loss, Three Oaks head coach Tim Hockin noted that playing the powerhouse B.C. team was a great learning opportunity for his crew.

“The pace of this game is not something they’re going to face in the regular season,” said Hockin. “To see how crisp and how well the B.C. team executed — they play so well within their structure — I want the (TOSH) girls to see that too.”

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