Rugby player fundraising to head to international tourney

A former Smithers Secondary rugby player is fundraising to represent B.C. at an upcoming international tournament in Las Vegas

Jason Gagnier is hoping to raise $1

Jason Gagnier is hoping to raise $1

A former Smithers Secondary rugby player has been selected to represent B.C. at an upcoming international tournament in Las Vegas, but he needs a little help getting there.

Former Smithers resident Jason Gagnier, who currently plays with the Victoria rugby club Velox, was one of 12 players selected to play on Team B.C. at the U23 Vegas 7’s tournament next month.

“I was pretty excited,” said Gagnier about making the team. “They took 30 of us to the tryouts and picked 12 people and four went on a long list and I was one of the first ones selected.”

Gagnier will play prop in the seven-a-side games.

“It’s a lot faster and is now part of the Olympics,” he said, adding that he has experience playing seven-a-side during the off-season.

The province covers half of the $3,000-trip to the States, but Jason and his roommate Josh, who was also selected to play with the team, must raise roughly $1,500 each to pay for the remainder of the trip.

Gagnier created the Go Fund Me page two weeks ago to help raise money. So far, they’ve raised $725.

The funds raised will go toward travel expenses, tournament fees and food.

For the 21-year-old, the tournament isn’t just about playing, but it could open the doors to competing at a higher level as well.

“My end goal is to play for Team Canada and this will actually give us a lot of exposure to the Team Canada selectors because they will be playing at a different division in the tournament and they’ll have a lot of guys watching us,” said Gagnier.

For more information, visit  www.gofundme.com/k7t300.