The state of Can Am Rugby

The Board of Directors of Can Am Rugby presents the following status of the Can Am Rugby Tournament and organization to the communities of Saranac Lake and North Elba/Lake Placid.

The primary mission of the board is to ensure the continued success of the annual Can Am Rugby Tournament. The Can Am Rugby Tournament is the largest 15-player tournament in the U.S. and serves as one of the largest annual influxes of people into the Lake Placid and Saranac Lake communities. Traditionally, teams of men and women come from the Northeast U.S., Canada and, occasionally, England and Ireland. 2013 saw participants come from the Midwest and West Coast, and our youth (U-19) division continues to grow.

The tournament also offers something for toddlers through 12-year-olds by introducing future ruggers to the flag version of the game. The Morris Women’s Rugby Football Club, of Montville, New Jersey, and Saranac Lake’s Mountaineer Old Boys work jointly to teach our youth the basics of the game.

New for 2013 was the introduction of a quad, or wheelchair, division. Quad rugby is for players with mobility-related disabilities in at least three limbs. Credit for the successful introduction of this division goes to North Country Community College, Paul Smith’s College and St. Joseph’s Addiction Treatment & Recovery Centers for monetary donations and/or use of their facilities. We look forward to continued growth in quad player participation for the 2014 tournament.

2013 saw the 40th year of the tournament, and its success is due to the efforts of both the rugby and local communities. Fields of play provided and maintained by the Saranac Lake Central School District, the town of North Elba, NCCC and Bloomingdale have been key to the success and growth of our tournament. This community-wide support serves to give players, families and friends a thoroughly enjoyable rugby experience and a means of introducing a wide-ranging population to our area of the Adirondacks and all that it has to offer.

The popularity of the tournament also serves as an economic boon to our area. The participation of more than 105 teams, coupled with their families and friends, brings an estimated 5,250 people to the area during the three-day period. According to Lake Placid and Saranac Lake authorities, this translates to an estimated influx of more than $2.5 million to our area.

The Can Am board also has a secondary mission of community support. This support is provided as scholarships to schools and donations to various local organizations. 2012-13 donations totaled $19,506 and were given to organizations such as SLCSD, Lake Placid Central School District, Saranac Lake and Lake Placid youth centers, Winter Carnival and Saranac Lake fire and EMT. Scholarships totaling more than $5,000 were granted to students at NCCC, PSC and college-bound graduates of Saranac Lake High School. Organizations such as the Saranac Lake 5th Quarter Club, Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department, Rotary Club, etc., have also been allowed to raise funds as food vendors free of any commission fees. A full account of 2013 donations can be found on our website at canamrugby.com/news/. This secondary mission has led the board to obtain status as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Our nonprofit status allows us to pursue support from corporations outside the Tri-Lakes area and increase our ability to further support our local communities.

The Can Am board is proud to be a successful part of the economic well-being of the Saranac Lake and North Elba/Lake Placid communities while, at the same time, providing a vibrant and successful tournament for U.S. and international rugby players.

Terry Tubridy lives in Saranac Lake and is a member of the Can Am Rugby Board of Directors. The 2014 Can Am Rugby tournament will take place Aug. 1 to 3.