Stephanie White de Goede - Inducted 2016
Stephanie’s involvement in the sport of rugby began in the province of Alberta, but most of her time has been spent in British Columbia and currently calls Victoria her home. As a player, a coach, a volunteer, an administrator and a rugby parent, her contribution to the sport warrants recognition for her multi-faceted contribution over almost 40 years.
The introduction of Women’s rugby into the Canadian Rugby community formally began in the mid 1970s. One of the initiating Provincial unions was the Alberta Rugby Union. The challenge of introducing Women to rugby faced many obstacles, particularly from the traditionalists who didn’t believe the sport could provide benefit to women, or Vice versa.
However, the reality was that a number of women across the country had watched from the sidelines, and they felt that it was a game that they would enjoy. Informal games were undertaken, with the result that a significant number of women within the community decided that they wanted a formal structure within Rugby Canada to allow them to participate with full protection under the ‘Laws of the Game”. Ms. White was one of the women in Alberta that chose to take up the game of rugby starting in 1980. This was the year after three rugby clubs were formed and league play began. While Ms. White was active in the organization of Women’s rugby as part of the formation of the Alberta Women’s Rugby Union in the early 80s, she was also a leader on the field of play.
Ms. White was the first Captain of the Canadian Women's Rugby team. Her play, as well as leadership on the field contributed significantly to the success of the game. Ms. White was active on National Women’s Team activities that led to the preparation for the inaugural Women’s Rugby World Cup. This included two additional Test Matches with the United States in 1988 and 1989. She was then appointed Co-‐Captain of the 1991 World Cup Team. The Canadian team made a strong showing at this First International Tournament, winning the Plate competition. Comments from Administrators involved in the preparation of this team give Ms. White strong recognition for contributing to the preparation and success achieved at this tournament.
The Second Women’s Rugby World Cup was held in 1994. Canada was again represented, and Ms. White was appointed Captain of the team. The growth of Women’s rugby throughout the world was increasing at a positive rate. The result being this second World Cup was given much more credibility, and the established countries started to pour financial and technical resources into their National Women’s teams. Canada did not have the luxury of increasing the resources to any significant extent during this period. To the credit of the team, a 6th place finish was achieved, losing in the Plate competition in the final game.
In an effort to provide more, and better competition for our National Women’s team, Rugby Canada initiated the Canada Cup competition. This competition involved inviting three (3) National teams from other countries to play in the tournament in Canada. Ms. White participated in these two competitions, again providing on the field leadership. In 1997 Canada sent their first National Women’s team to the Hong Kong Sevens tournament. Ms. White had the honor of Captaining this side.
One of the first competitions held at an interprovincial level was the Western Canada Women’s Championships initially held in 1983. This tournament was held each year between 1983 and 1987. Ms. White played on the Alberta team in each of these years contributing to the Alberta team being Western Canadian Champions for the four-‐year period 1983-‐1987.
In summary, Ms. White retired from Representative Rugby in 1997. Over her playing career she earned 17 National Team caps in the 10 years she played at the international level.
Players lead the team, but also the community, in the growth of Rugby in Canada. Women’s rugby has been blessed with a leadership core of women who were determined to develop the game of rugby for women in Canada. Ms. White was part of that leadership group. She worked hard to support opportunities for Women’s rugby in Canada to grow. A brief synopsis of this very important part of developing the playing of rugby by women within the rugby community is as follows
· Helped establish the Alberta Women’s Rugby Union, and assisted the inclusion of Women’s rugby in the Alberta Rugby Union.
· Was the Director of Women’s Rugby, as a member of the Board of Rugby Alberta in the late 1980’s
· In 1995, she was the Women’s Players representative at the Rugby Canada Strategic Planning session
· In the early 2000’s Ms. White was a member of the B.C. Rugby Union Board of Directors and helped bring the West Coast Women’s Rugby Association into the BCRU
· During the period 2007-‐2013, Ms. White was a Board member of Rugby Canada, as well as a committee member on the National Women’s High Performance Committee
· 1998 Assisted with the Comox Kickers women as well as helping with the high school team in Courtney
· 2002-‐2004 – coached the James Bay Athletic Association women’s team
Currently, Ms. White is the Chair of the Monty Heald National Women’s Team Fund, raising funds to ensure that the 2017 National team players are not required to pay to be a part of Rugby Canada’s Women’s Rugby World Cup Squad and to create a legacy for future years.