WESTMAN HIGH SCHOOL RUGBY
HALL OF FAME
Builder (Inaugural Member)
Bob Miller has been involved in rugby since 1993. Bob had no prior rugby experience when he was asked to help the Brandon Barbarians RFC film games and get involved with the club.
Bob enjoyed the camaraderie and culture of the game that he stayed involved with rugby for 20 years. Bob saw the importance of an established high school league in Western Manitoba and didn't hesitate to get involved.
Westman High School Rugby was established in the Spring of 2003 and Bob became the league's first communications director. He established and operated the WHSR website for 10 years. Bob was known for the great photos he took at countless rugby games, which were then posted on the WHSR website for athletes and parents to enjoy. Bob selflessly drove all over Manitoba attending games and taking photos which he loved to do. With Bob's help, high school rugby garnered plenty of media exposure and helped promote the game to the public.
Bob remained on the WHSR board for 10 years where he worked with others to make the league as successful as possible. Bob decided to step away in 2012 to fully enjoy his retirement and Westman High School Rugby knew that it would be a challenge to fill the void left by Bob as he brought so much to the game. Bob passed away peacefully in Brandon on December 20th, 2017. He will be greatly missed.
For his contributions as a builder, Bob became the inaugural member of the Westman High School Rugby Hall of Fame in 2013.
Dr. Gavin Roche
Dr. Gavin Roche began coaching rugby in Minnedosa at the high school level in 1999 and helped create the rugby program at Minnedosa Collegiate, which has been one of the top programs in the Province. There was no rugby in Minnedosa prior to 1999.
Since that time, Dr. Roche helped establish a positive and winning culture at Minnedosa Collegiate. He helped lead the Chancellors Varsity Boys program to five Westman High School Rugby Championships in 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2011. Minnedosa also won a Provincial Championship in 2010.
Dr. Roche also helped develop many local players who went on to represent Manitoba at the Provincial level and Canada at the International level including his own son Tom. He also helped contribute to the Minnedosa Youth Rugby program for many years.
Although the aforementioned highlights are impressive, the most important accomplishment is what rugby means to the students and community. Dr. Roche created a winning environment in which the youth wanted to get involved. They wanted to learn and were motivated to work hard and have fun.
Dr. Roche encouraged everyone to come out at all levels and he made them feel welcome. Participants from all socio-economic backgrounds and with differing ability levels were welcome. These children felt involved and accepted which made them all feel good about themselves.
Dr. Roche not only inspired the students to play rugby, he also inspired them to coach.
During WHSR games, whether at home or on the road, the Chancellor coach’s box was always full of graduated players, much to the chagrin of opposing coaches. In 2012, Dr. Roche moved to Winnipeg and relinquished his coaching position to four Minnedosa Collegiate Alumni, and subsequently, the initial spirit and intent of the game has been preserved.
The community, once apprehensive, is very supportive of the rugby program. They come out to watch and are keenly intent on learning the game. Dr. Roche always took the time to help the community understand the game. In fact, youth from other communities and their parents got involved in Minnedosa rugby at both the high school and community levels.
Although Dr. Roche no longer resides in Minnedosa, he will always be a part of the rugby culture at all levels. He still watches games that he can attend, offers his input from the stands, and follows the Chancellors as closely as he can. Dr. Roche has been an excellent rugby ambassador and coach within the Minnedosa community and the Westman area. He fostered an enjoyable, welcoming winning opportunity for the youth of Minnedosa and will always be considered a respected and highly revered coach within Manitoba’s rugby circles.
For his contributions as a Coach, Gavin became the second member of the Westman High School Rugby Hall of Fame.
Sandy Donald started playing rugby when he was 9 years old back in Scotland and continued to play when he moved to Canada in 1983 where he began to play for the Brandon Barbarians R.F.C. Sandy was a player for 15 years and is a continued supporter of the club.
Sandy decided to get involved as a referee after his playing days and became Westman High School Rugby's first Referee in Chief in 2003. Sandy played a crucial role in recruiting, scheduling, certifying and developing referees in the Westman area. Sandy was an experienced referee himself from 2002-2012.
Sandy also played an important role in the development of the Crocus Plains Varsity Boys rugby program. Sandy coached the Plainsmen team from 2002-2008 where he developed many young players who would go on to represent Manitoba at National Championships and the Canada Games. Sandy coached the Plainsmen to a Westman High school Rugby Championship and Provincial Championship in 2003. He also coached the Plainsmen to a Westman High School Rugby Final in 2004.
At the High Performance level, Sandy coached the Rugby Manitoba U18 Men's team in 2003 with fellow WHSR Hall of Fame inductee Gavin Roche and then with league President Brian Yon from 2004-2008. Sandy would also coach the U18 men in the 2005 and 2009 Canada Summer Games. Along with Brian Yon, he was named an assistant coach with the Canada U17 team which toured England in the Fall of 2006. Sandy took a brief step away from coaching the U18 men in 2010 but returned to coach the team in 2011 and 2012.
In 2012, Sandy stepped away from coaching and decided to get involved at the administrative level where he became President of Rugby Manitoba in 2012. Sandy would hold that position until 2018 when he stepped down. During that time, Sandy worked tirelessly to forge positive relationships with other Unions and Rugby Canada which created more rugby development opportunities for Manitoba.
Sandy was always a great mentor to new coaches, referees and players. His influence and contributions both on and off the field helped rugby grow in Westman and forged what Westman High School Rugby is today.
The Westman High School Rugby Executive are extremely delighted to induct Sandy Donald to the Westman High School Rugby Hall of Fame in the Builder category.
Barry Dowsett first got involved with rugby in the 1980's when he was introduced to the game while serving in the armed forces. Barry joined the Brandon Barbarians Rugby Football Club in 1998 as a player and he made many contributions off the field as well serving as a volunteer and a member of several organizing committees.
Barry has contributed to the game immensely including the establishment of the Minnedosa Varsity Boys High School rugby program in 1999. Barry served as a coach and manager of the team. Barry was also one of the founding members and organizers of Westman High School Rugby in 2003. Barry was crucial in developing a constitution and by-laws for the league and also recruited Wilf Taylor as the first president. The league's first year of operations took place in 2003. Barry ran as Vice President from
2003 - 2006 and continued to play an important role in developing the league in it's early years. With the departure of Wilf Taylor as President in 2006, Barry readily stepped up and ran as President for the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Even during his presidency role, he continued to coach and manage the Minnedosa Chancellors.
Barry also recognized the need for Rugby officials in the Westman area. He attained his referee certification and refereed games from 2003 to 2008. He did all this while being a member of the League executive and also managing the Minnedosa Chancellor Rugby program.
Barry was also instrumental in establishing a Minnedosa youth rugby program. The Minnedosa youth program has helped young girls and boys develop and prepare for High School rugby in their community. He stayed involved until 2012.
With the Busy life of having a family, Barry decided to step away from the game as president and coach of the Minnedosa Chancellors in 2008 and wanted to focus more on his children and their extracurricular activities including Youth Rugby. Barry made his return to the Minnedosa high school program in 2013 and 2014 as a volunteer but stepped away at the end of the 2014 season. Although Barry is no longer involved, he is still seen attending games from time to time and supporting the Minnedosa Chancellors and all those involved in the game of rugby
Barry Dowsett will always be seen as a founder, builder and major contributor to the game of rugby in Western Manitoba. The Westman High School Rugby Executive and Members are extremely proud to induct Barry Dowsett to the Westman High School Rugby Hall of Fame in the Builder category.
Hall of Fame Nominations
Nominations must include full name of nominee and nominated in one of the following categories:
Special circumstances may allow a nominee to be inducted into more than one category. Nominations must be submitted in a Word Document including history and list of achievements of the nominee. Nominees must have demonstrated a strong link and made significant contributions to Westman High School Rugby.
All nominations will be reviewed by the WHSR Executive. Any unsuccessful nominations may be nominated again the following year.
All nominations can be submitted to: