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DURHAM, Ontario, Sept. 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Abilities Centre, in partnership with Rugby Ontario, is proud to host the “All In Rugby Cup”, Canada’s first Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament on Sunday, September 26, 2021, at Thompson Park in Oshawa starting at 10:00 am. Mixed Ability Sport aims to radically change the way we think of, join in, and enjoy sports by welcoming players of all ages, abilities, backgrounds and experiences into mainstream sport settings together, playing non-adapted sports.

The Mixed Ability model was first developed through rugby in Bradford, U.K. in 2012, where it grew organically from a lack of provision for people with disabilities to play full-contact rugby. Lead by International Mixed Ability Sport, the model has grown on a global scale and was introduced in Canada by Abilities Centre in February 2020. 

Over the past year, with support from Rugby Ontario, four rugby clubs in Ontario have begun to offer Mixed Ability Rugby within their community. The Oshawa Vikings were the first rugby club to initiate programming with Abilities Centre and Rugby Ontario in January 2020 developing key learnings for provincial growth. “It’s all about a community of people with different needs coming together" says Sheldon Gaboury, Oshawa Vikings athlete. “Just because I have ASD or someone who has OCD, no one should be discriminated against. Just because you’re in Mixed Ability Rugby, doesn’t mean you are viewed as a lesser athlete... This is for everyone.”

Through funding support from the Sport Canada Innovation Initiative, the Muddy York Rugby Club (in collaboration with the Toronto Lions RFC), Burlington Centaurs Rugby Club, and London St. George’s Rugby Club joined the movement and launched Mixed Ability Rugby teams within their clubs in the spring of 2021. Each club has been following Flag Rugby rules over the course of the summer, paving the way for full contact competition in the future. 


“Mixed Ability Rugby is another way to showcase the culture, values, and inclusivity of our sport,” said Myles Spencer, CEO of Rugby Ontario.  “It has created more opportunity for participation, as anyone with a desire to play the game of rugby is welcome, regardless of experience, skill and ability.  The impact of the program has been felt by the athletes, coaches, and the clubs themselves, with members expressing a change in the overall culture of their club and community.”

With the successful roll-out of programming thus far, Abilities Centre and Rugby Ontario will be hosting the inaugural All In Rugby Cup, , as a culminating event for Mixed Ability Rugby in Ontario.

“Our vision is to break down barriers and create equitable access to sport for all members of our community”, says Stuart McReynolds, President & CEO of Abilities Centre. “Mixed Ability Sport provides an innovative approach to breaking down these barriers and through the power of sport we have a vehicle to drive broader social inclusion in communities across Canada.”



Local media are invited to come out to Thompson Park on Sunday September 26, to witness the event. Abilities Centre Director, Sport & Recreation, Kelly Kasper and Rugby Ontario CEO, Myles Spencer, and the rest of the team will be on site and available for interviews. 

At 10:00 am the competition will kick off with round robin play, working towards a final match scheduled for 3:30 pm where the first All In Rugby Cup Champion will be presented.

To learn more about Mixed Ability Sport, please visit Abilities Centre’s website: Mixed Ability Sports | Abilities Centre Whitby or the Rugby Ontario website: Mixed Ability Rugby – Rugby Ontario.

EVENT: All In Rugby Cup (Canada’s First Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament)

DATE: Sunday, September 26

TIME: Kick off 10AM

LOCATION: Thompson Park (110 Raglan Rd W, Oshawa, ON L1H 7K4)

The All In Rugby Cup is supported through funding provided by the Sport Canada Innovation Initiative funding.

Mixed Ability Rugby is one area of Mixed Ability Sport offerings with opportunities in Ringette, Curling, Pickleball, Archery, Boxing and Artistic Swim becoming available in the coming months.


Please note that in order to ensure the health and safety of all tournament participants, coaches, staff, volunteers, media personnel, and community members, each individual arriving at the space will be required to sign in, leaving their full name and contact information, for the sake of contact tracing. We are asking all individuals to respectfully maintain a 2-metre distance while attending the event and to wear a mask if entering the clubhouse or if a 2-meter distance cannot be maintained (with an exception for athletes competing on the field of play).



Ian Royer
Abilities Centre
[email protected]

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