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Ottawa Wolves Rugby Club cruises onward

Inclusive rugby team hosts a fundraising event on the water

The Ottawa Wolves Rugby Club will have a cruise on Saturday, Sept 12, 2015, raising funds to attend the 2016 Bingham Cup.  Credit: Amanda Tom

A cruise with The Ottawa Wolves Rugby Club is a sports fetishist’s dream. Those little shorts. That devil-may-care grin as he or she rests a well-tanned arm against the handrail. And those knee-high socks — oh lordy, those knee-high socks. It’s enough to make you scream, “Ruck me, please!” (it’s a dirty-sounding, but real, rugby term — the game is full of ’em).

You’ve probably seen The Wolves around town, getting up to trouble whenever possible. It’s a predominantly gay organization dedicated to welcoming underrepresented people to the sport, and includes both men and women’s teams.

In addition to being a hooker (it is actually a position in rugby), Jason Haug is the club’s director of events. “We host a variety of fundraising events throughout the year to help support our club and our club activities,” he says.“That includes going to tournaments to play other inclusive teams.”

These events, the aforementioned getting up to trouble, include anything from hosting shooter nights to faux stripping. To raise funds to attend the 2016 Bingham Cup in Nashville, Tennessee — an international gay rugby tournament named after Mark Bingham, a gay rugby pioneer and hero of the 9/11 attacks — the club is hosting a bash on a boat.

The website of The Bingham Cup says the tournament, which happens every other year, intends to promote rugby as “an inclusive, non-discriminatory sport.” The Wolves’ men’s team won second place in its division at the 2014 tournament in Sydney, Australia, and there are high hopes for next year.

Guests will depart from Jacques Cartier Park Wharf in Gatineau aboard the Empress of Ottawa for a relaxing jaunt on the Ottawa River. They will enjoy a beautiful view of the city — the parliament buildings, museums and more — mingling on the boat’s three levels and dancing to music by DJ Matt Tamblyn.

The cruise, one of the club’s largest annual fundraising events, has run for the last three years, and is sponsored this year by Capital Cruises. “There are 200 tickets available for sale and it tends to sell out,” Haug says. “It’s a nice time to meet new people, to meet the Ottawa Wolves, and just to have a nice time on the water.”

While there’s no guarantee The Wolves will be in uniform —those yummy, yummy high socks, just faintly damp with river water — Haug gives us some hope when he says, suggestively, “you never know what happens on the waters, I guess.”