Concordia and McGill rugby women square off to honour murdered Stinger
Published Sunday, September 29, 2019 6:54PM EDT
Concordia and McGill Universities' women's rugby teams laced up cleats and donned their colours Sunday for the annual Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup to honour the former Stinger player who was murdered by her boyfriend in 2004.
For more than a decade, the crosstown rival schools have met for the game every year but one when Concordia played the University of Montreal.
The game comes with more importance than just each team's place in the standings.
"It's massive. It honours her," said Graeme McGravie, who coached Concordia in the first memorial game. "It's a great game. The girls, they defend it. It's worth defending."
The day gives a chance for players, coaches and family to remember Kelly-Anne and what she brought to the rugby pitch.
"Nothing would stop her, and when she was determined to do something, she just did it," said Doreen Haddad, Kelly-Anne's mother. "She had a competitive way about her, but then she had a loving and considerate heart."
The game always brings back memories of the talented athlete.
"So many of them remind me of her," said her mother. "If I look at their faces, and see the determination on their faces. It's about Kelly-Anne all over again."
This year, Kelly-Anne's alma mater trounced McGill 74-0 in the first year that included a $1,000 scholarship in Kelly-Anne's honour given to Concordia third-year student Tess Armstrong.
Sommer Christie played with Kelly-Anne for four years, and was an assistant coach for the first Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup and when the team retired Kelly-Anne's no. 3.
"It's always hard to put words to how much this means to me and anybody who would have ever played with her," said Christie. "She was really passionate and really embodied what a good rugby player is. She loved it. She showed up head-to-toe dirty, biggest hits, but the biggest smile on the field too. (She was) just a teammate that really embodied what rugby is."
Next year will be the 15th anniversary of the Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup.
"This is one of the most important days of the year for me," said her mother. "I wish I didn't have to be here in this capacity today. I wish Kelly-Anne was on that field coaching, but I can't change the past, none of us can."