After 25 years in the Lakeland, the Cold Lake Penguins Rugby Club has had to take some radical measures to ensure they can play this season. They’ve merged with a team from Lloydminster for the season to be able to field enough players.
“Although we had just enough to maintain our registration as a club, we did not have enough to ensure that we could field a full team at each scheduled game,” said President Dave Brown in a statement. “In the long run the decision was about focusing on our club values; ensuring the sustainability of the club by providing a fun and safe experience for our athletes.”
Brown says a lot of players are on shift work and can’t make the time commitment. He believes the state of the economy has shrunk the talent pool considerably. He says Lloydminster to the south have had similar troubles. Despite being in a city roughly twice the size of Cold Lake, the Lloyd club also had gaps in the roster they couldn’t fill.
Brown remains confident though that this will be a temporary state of affairs and both teams should be separate again next season.
“In the end, the decision has been made and was received with great support from the Edmonton Rugby Union who is the organization that the club plays for” Brown continues. “The ERU admits they have seen drastic impact across Alberta with many clubs being affected, both urban and rural. The support was based on the agreement that this was a creative solution to maintain the identity of both clubs and to ensure the future success of the sport in both communities.”