Chuckanut Bay RFC
|Union||Fraser Valley Rugby Union|
|Ground(s)||Bellingham Polo Club|
1970s - 1980s
The Chuckanut Bay Rugby Club was founded in 1973. Many of the founding fathers were former Western Washington University players. Due to graduation, and a variety of other factors, the majority of the membership of the Western club had become "non-students". Thus, the need arose for a club outside the university. Former students called a meeting and the group assembled at a small college house on Jersey Street in Bellingham, Washington. After a discussion, two names were suggested for the new club: the High-Street Commandos and the Chuckanut Bay Geoducks. Since the Geoduck is known as one of the most dangerous Bivalves native to the Pacific Northwest waters, the choice was obvious.The founding fathers thought it was also important to keep team colors that represented the Pacific Northwest. So, the colors Columbia Blue (a traditional hue from WWU) and orange, for the sunsets over Chuckanut Bay, were selected. A club was born!
After formation of the club, the Geoducks became members of the Fraser Valley Rugby Union in British Columbia. In the second year of existence, the new team earned first division Union Champions and went all the way to the British Columbia first division semi finals. The Geoducks were also runner- up in the second division. The Club remained in the Union another year and finished close to the top but did not repeat as champions.
In the fall of 1976, the American and Canadian teams went their separate ways. The Canadians maintained the Fraser Valley Union and the American members formed the Western Washington Rugby Union, which is now part of the Pacific Northwest Rugby Football Union. In the second year of the new union, the Geoducks won the title for first division and won it again in 1984. The club achieved National recognition by winning the consolation championship at the 1980 Monterey National Tournament in Carmel, California. Over the years, the team has won tournament titles in Idaho, Oregon, California and Washington.
In the spring of 1977, Chuckanut hosted its first touring team when National Westminster Bank of London, England arrived. Through contacts made with Nat West, the club hosted the Pilgrim Fathers RFC of Torquay, England in the spring of 1979. With this foundation of tour-related friendships, Chuckanut undertook its first overseas tour to the British Isles in September 1980, winning three games and losing two. Again, in 1984, the Geoducks returned to England, Wales and Ireland, winning four games and losing two.
2000s - Present
A group of high school students took the initiative in 2001 to re start the U19 Steamers program. In the spring of 2001 this group of young athletes played in the Washington High School league. In September 2003, after a ten-year absence from league competition, the Men's team entered the Fraser Valley Rugby Union. The Geoducks experienced a winning season making it all the way to the British Columbia Rugby Union 3rd Division Championships. Under the guidance of coach Corky Foster, the club entered two men's teams, first and seconds, for the 2004 fall competition. Reorganization of the league structure for the spring 2005 season put the Geoducks back into Third Division and in the hunt for a championship. The 2006 season saw the club compete in the BCRU First and Second Division narrowly missing the provincial playoffs. The 2007 season will again see the Geoducks playing in the BCRU 1st and 2nd Divisions.
The club continues to grow in all areas. The U19 girls completed their 2nd season. The youth program has become the envy of all clubs in the Pacific Northwest. The U19 Boy’s continue to dominate High School competition and again represented themselves well at the National Invitational tournament at Stanford. Three members of the U19’s were selected to the US National U19 squad in the 2006/07 year. Two others were invited to the U17 National camp and the U16’s went all the way to the BCRU final. The U14’s finished in the BC final four in what was a very competitive division. The Mini rugby program offered boys and girls ages 5–12 the opportunity to play and continues to grow.
The U17’s completed a very successful Tour to Ireland in 2005. Fund raising and plans are already under way for the Youth Tour to Scotland in the Spring of 2008. test
There are 8 different teams that make up the Chuckanut Bay RFC catering to a broad range of ages.
Chuckanut's home field, the Bellingham Polo Club, provides three full size pitches, and a club room, which is soon to be finished. The Club was successful in gaining a Conditional Use Permit from Whatcom County to continue to play rugby at this great venue.
Can-Am 7s Tournament
The Can-Am 7's Tournament is North America's Elite seven-a-side rugby event.
In its 34th consecutive year, the Can-Am 7's pits the top teams from Canada's strongest rugby province, British Columbia, with national championship caliber teams from the USA.
National Club 7s Tournament
Chuckanut got the opportunity to host the 2006 & 2007 USA National Club 7s Tournament.
- Chuckanut Bay Official Site
- Pacific Northwest Rugby Football Union Official Site
- Fraser Valley Rugby Union Official Site