Langford, BC - The National Senior Women’s Players’ Committee is set for the 2018 season after completing elections in late 2017.
The player base re-elected Karen Paquin as fifteens representative and elected for the first time Sara Kaljuvee as sevens representative. Karen and Sara join Ghislaine Landry, Andrea Burk and Elissa Alarie on the committee.
The impetus for the players’ committee is to have a direct line of communication between Rugby Canada and its athletes. Players’ Committees are one of the most effective mechanism by which athletes can influence change and champion athlete rights in high performance sport at the national team level.
The committee is currently chaired by former international and current Rugby Canada Board Member, Maria Samson. The group meets regularly with the CEO and senior members of Rugby Canada. By providing information to the board of directors, coaches and the Rugby Canada leadership team, the Players’ Committee ensures that the voices of athletes are represented in a collaborative, professional and effective manner.
Meet the Committee:
Elissa debuted for the sevens and fifteens teams in 2013. She has earned 25 fifteens caps and competed in 6 World Rugby Women's Sevens Series stops. She has been a member of Équipe Québec since 2004 and has a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) from UQTR. Elissa is currently the Talent Development Coordinator for the Canadian Sport Institute in Victoria BC. When asked why she is on the committee, she responded “To represent our players as well as collaborate with members and Rugby Canada to find lasting solutions. I wish to improve our current situation and continue to advance rugby in Canada.
Andrea Burk has been a member of the fifteens team since 2009, earning 38 caps and is second on the all-time scoring list with 159 points. She also represented Canada sevens in 2012 and has been a stalwart for the BC Rugby Union since 2001. Andrea has a Master of Arts from Royal Roads University and a BKIN from Acadia University and is a consultant in leadership & organizational development. Andrea’s focus on the players committee is to help build a more cohesive and high-performing organization and to help increase the visibility of the women's game and the participation of female rugby players.
Sara is a current member of the Women’s Sevens team having competed at 11 World Rugby Women's Sevens Series stops as well as an appearance for the National Senior Women’s Fifteens team in 2013. She was involved with Rugby Ontario from 2009-2014 (U17, U20, Senior) and Team Captain from 2010-2012. Sara is pursuing a BA in Kinesiology from St. Francis Xavier University. Sara wants to have an impact for the future generations that are to follow through the program through the PC. As the system continues to grow, she is eager to contribute in its development.
Ghislaine has been a mainstay for the Women’s Sevens program since 2007, having accumulated 23 World Rugby Women's Sevens Series caps in addition to numerous appearances prior to the launch of the series in 2012. She has six fifteens caps and was been involved in Rugby Ontario at the U17, U19 and Senior level. A graduate from St-Francis Xavier University with a BA in Human Kinetics, Ghislaine’s intentions on the Players Committee are clear: “Our game has come so far because of the efforts of players before us, and I wanted to do my part to leave our programs in a better place than when I arrived.”
Karen began playing rugby in Québec, representing the province at the U19 and Senior level from 2005-2012. She has 26 fifteens caps and 20 Sevens Series appearances. Karen attended the Université Laval (Baccalauréat en Génie Chimique) and has embraced a role with the Minister of Education in Quebec (Ambassadrice de l'esprit sportif pour le Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur du Québec). In her own words, Karen thinks that international women's rugby is going through a phase of important change and wants to be part of the Players’ Committee to help Canadian women's rugby evolve to remain as one of the leading nations. She believes that it is very important to be proactive in order to maintain and improve rugby both on and off the field as we move towards gender equality: “Je pense que le rugby féminin international est en train de vivre de profonds changements et je souhaite faire partie du comité des joueuses afin d'aider à ce que le rugby féminin Canadien continues d'évoluer. Je crois qu'il est important d'être proactif afin de maintenir et améliorer le rugby autant sur le terrain que dans les coulisses alors que nous nous dirigeons vers l'égalité des genres.”