The Northmen were established in 1974 and proclaim to be Terrace’s longest standing sports Club. However, in the mid-2000s, the Club was in decline. It was largely dormant until 2006 when custodian, player, coach, and all-round Rugby guy Mike Homeniuk, 45, moved back to his hometown.
Homeniuk, whose father represented the Northmen and first introduced a young Mike to Rugby, could see his old team was struggling. After returning from the south, he started calling up his old Rugby friends to see if they wanted to play again.
“There was a handful of us old guys who played before and then a whole whack of these new guys who had never even experienced Rugby. That was cool,” Homeniuk told BC Rugby.
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One of those newbies was Terrace native Jared Stephens, a wildfire fighter deployed both nationally and internationally. Stephens grew up with soccer and played varsity for Vancouver Island University. He even played for the world’s oldest soccer Club, Sheffield FC, based in England.
But it was Rugby that finally caught his eye.
“We didn’t have Rugby in high school up in Terrace,” said Stephens, who has also represented Nanaimo Hornets and travelled to Dubai with Canada’s Reserve 7s National. “The year after I graduated VIU, Mike tried to reinvigorate Rugby in the town. I saw him at the bar, and he spoke to a group of us about this Rugby thing. I got familiar with it, and I loved it.”
Ben Soucie, one of Mike’s old boys, first picked up a Rugby ball in 1981/2 after hearing tales from his old PE teacher at school. He soon joined the Northmen and, from 1984 onwards, enjoyed representing his home team. Winning or losing never mattered as much to Ben: Rugby was about having fun. He stopped playing after the team went dormant.
“Then Mike got it back together, and I’ve played ever since,” Soucie said.