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Avid rugger, women’s rugby coach and organizer George Woodhead going into the Hall of Fame

Allan Smith presents George Woodhead with Abbies plaque. Looking on are Derek MacEwen, Smiley Macleod.
Allan Smith presents George Woodhead with Abbies plaque. Looking on are Derek MacEwen, Smiley Macleod. - Submitted

The P.E.I. Rugby Union (PEIRU) wants to create a lasting legacy to Island rugby and to that end it’s inducting six members into its new Hall of Fame.

The ceremony is part of the PEIRU’s annual awards which go Saturday, 5-9 p.m., at the Charlottetown Fire Hall.

The inaugural class includes Shannon Atkins, Darryl Boudreau, Natalie Bulger, Mike Lloyd, Raymond Moore and George Woodhead (posthumously).

his is the fifth of six profiles on the inductees.

George Woodhead

This P.E.I. rugby legend may no longer be with us, but he is definitely not forgotten.

George Woodhead was instrumental in starting women’s rugby in P.E.I. From the moment he came to P.E.I. in 1972 he was active on the rugby scene.

Woodhead played with the Abbies Rugby Club for almost 20 years and holds the record for the most attempts at retirement, showing up at the field each time after his retirement with his boots in hand, just in case the team needed him, and it seemed they usually did.

When Woodhead finally accepted retirement was imminent he turned his attention to coaching.

His oldest daughter had just entered high school and there was no women’s rugby program at the time. This was unacceptable to Woodhead, so he headed up the first-ever girls team at Colonel Gray in 1989 and the other schools quickly followed suit. P.E.I. would eventually see a number of women competing at the national level.

In addition to coaching at the high school level he soon took up coaching at UPEI with Harvey Chandler and then John Desrosiers to take the first ever senior women’s rugby team to nationals, the only time this has ever happened. It was at this tournament Team Canada discovered P.E.I.’s Heather Moyse.

In 2011, the George Woodhead Mud Man of the Year trophy was first awarded. This award being given each year to the player that shows the most spirit in all areas of the game as George always did.

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