FERNDALE, Wash. — The rugby fields in the 7000 block of Dahlberg Road were a much-appreciated gift to the the Chuckanut Bay Athletic Association last year. Since then, plans have been made to upgrade the property for both the fans’ and players’ enjoyment.
Association officials say plans have been developed to improve the 17.2 acres of playing fields and surrounding areas as well as build a covered clubhouse structure. A multi-phase fundraising effort is underway leading to $2.25 million to cover construction of the covered clubhouse for the fans.
Association President Craig Brown said the property had been owned by the DeWilde family and was used for polo matches back in the 70s and then also for rugby in the 80s. It was about 2001 when the Chuckanut Bay Rugby Club began leasing the property from the DeWildes.
Chuckanut Bay Rugby Club was formed in 1973 after some Western Washington University players graduated and realized they did not have anywhere to play, according to Brown. Now the club is host to about 200 members, K through 12th grade and adult, and is expected to reach 300 members by 2022.
Younger players play a flag version of the sport on smaller fields, Brown said. They learn about the rules of the game, teamwork and strategy along with sportsmanship and camaraderie.
The club has produced several athletes who have achieved national and global recognition. In the past decade or so, 15 former and current club athletes have played for Team USA. Most recently, Brown pointed out, Jake Broselle, a FHS student, will be in New Zealand playing on the U18 Boys High School All-American Sevens team. Broselle’s older brother, Ben, is currently preparing for a tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, as a member of the USA Sevens team.
Brown said the Association recently reached an agreement with the Bellingham School District to develop rugby as an ASB sport with girls and boys rugby teams at Bellingham, Squalicum and Sehome High Schools.
Anyone interested in playing is encouraged to visit the club’s website. Team signups occur in January and practices and games run from February through May.
10-year sponsorships and naming rights are available as part of the fundraising currently going on. Businesses, organizations and individuals interested in sponsorships and/or contributing are encouraged to visit the “Facility” page on the club’s website.