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A Father-Daughter Rugby Legacy at BCS

More than 40 years separate the days when Tim Price, BCS’75, and his daughter Chella Price, BCS’19, each played 1st XV rugby for BCS. However, we learned in a recent interview with them that ‘like father, like daughter,' they both fell in love with the game at first glance and share a similar enduring passion for the game today.

Tim and Chella are fourth and fifth generation members respectively of the Price and MacDougall clans who have attended and excelled in sports at BCS, including Chella’s older brother Tom, BCS'17, who also played 1st XV rugby for the school.

Tim was part of the nascent years of rugby at BCS in the early ’70s. He went on to play for Queen’s University and at senior clubs in Canada, the UK and Bermuda, and at the international level representing Bermuda. Tim remains a keen follower and student of the sport and was part of the BCS 1975 1st XV contingent that attended the Rugby World Cup in the UK in 2015 decked out in special BCS 'tour' jerseys.

Chella arrived at BCS in Form VII but unlike her dad, she was already an experienced player having captained U16 and U18 Quebec teams to national championships, and rugby was a well-established sport at the school. Like her dad, she went on to play for Queen’s, who took home the USports National Championship this past season. While Tim’s best playing days are likely over, Chella is a rising star in the sport, and we will be watching and pulling for her as she carries on the family tradition.

The impressive rise of women’s team sports at all levels around the world in the past decade is no more prominent than in the successes achieved in women’s rugby, especially in Canada. Our interview with Tim and Chella celebrates that reality and highlights the special bond that the sport represents between a BCS father and daughter.

Here are some of the highlights of our interviews with Tim and Chella.

How were you introduced to rugby?

T:  When I arrived at BCS in 1970 there was no rugby. At the time cricket was compulsory for new boys (co-education was a couple of years away). I really enjoyed the sport, and I made the 1st XI in the spring of ’73. The following spring, it was natural to move to rugby, a sport that had been introduced only the year before. I then played on the 1st XV in ’74 and ’75.

C: I began playing in Grade 7 at ECS in Montreal, where there was a reasonably long-standing tradition under my coach Stephen Kaplan (who was also my coach for Quebec Rugby U16 & U18). It had always been a sport on my radar, hearing my dad speak about it, followed by my brother playing it and being a very successful team at my school growing up.

What other sports did you play at the time?

T:  I played football and hockey during the other seasons with some tennis and squash thrown in part-time.

C:  My other main sports were basketball and soccer. Basketball was even arguably my main sport up until getting to university.

What was your first impression of the game of rugby?

T:  I enjoyed the game immediately. It was intuitive for me from the beginning.

C:  Instantly loved it. Although it was different from other sports I had played because usually you see other sports on TV all the time but I had never watched rugby before so I had no preconceived idea of what it would be like the first time I stepped onto the field.

What was your first competitive rugby game like?

T:  I have no recollection. Too long ago! 

C:  My first game was a 7s game at the GMMA 7s tournament at Concordia. I had no idea how the game was supposed to be played, having only had a handful of practices leading up to it. My coach decided to start me, thinking being thrown into it would be the best learning curve. I remember it being the most fun and exhausting 14 minutes!

What position(s) did you play and why?

T:  I have played every position competitively at one time or another with wing forward or flanker being the position I played by far the most. I probably gravitated to wing forward because I wasn’t particularly big or fast, but I was quick enough and could read the play well. In those days back row forward soften filled in for injured players wherever they were needed. I was also fairly versatile, and I could move into various positions as needed, which I did while playing club rugby.

C:  Mostly #10, but playing a bit of centre as well. It just worked out that my number in basketball had always been #10 and when I converted to rugby it worked perfectly! I had good ball-handling skills and was good at kicking, so it just made sense to put me into the backs.

What attracted you to playing rugby?

T: Many things but it was particularly nice not to have to wear a lot of equipment (like hockey or football). Rugby is also a game that flows and requires lots of different skills.  It also requires good teamwork to be successful.

C: I think it was something that my dad always talked about, then my brother got into it, and me being surrounded by it at school, I knew that it was always something I wanted to try. I was lucky to have amazing coaches who also prompted me to play for Quebec and I was fortunate to have a good intuition for the game once I started playing!

What was your most memorable game?

T: One game that stands out for me was known as the Bermuda Classic, played on the island back in the '80s. It brought together the national team of Bermuda and 15 well-known internationals including players such as Andy Irvine, Steve Smith, and Graham Price for an exhibition match. I pushed against the hindquarters of Graham Price, one of the all-time great Welsh props. Playing for and against some of the best players in the world was a real thrill and privilege.

C: A couple stand out for me. At the junior level, winning the nationals for Quebec beating an Ontario team which included many of my future teammates at Queen’s was a definite highlight. But the most memorable match by far was winning the National University Championship this past season after two years of preparation throughout the ups and downs of the pandemic. Being on our field, in front of our home crowd of hundreds of fans cheering under the lights was something I will never forget!

Tim, what is it like for you to have Chella play rugby?

T: I always enjoyed watching Chella play all her sports—one of the many great things about being a parent! When she started at ECS in kindergarten, I learned at the orientation that the girls played rugby, which was unusual at the time. At that point, I had a pretty good idea that she would pick up the sport. She is a talented athlete and a natural rugby player.

Chella, what influence did your dad have on your playing?

C: I was lucky because both my parents were very supportive of me playing rugby. Many of my friends worked hard to convince their parents, whereas mine were just as excited for the season to start as me. My dad has always loved watching me play any sport, but it was special to have one that we both played and loved. Plus, I would always get an “expert” full post-game breakdown from dad on how I played during the car ride home!

What do you like best about rugby?

T: It’s a great team sport that engages everyone in a common goal and it emphasizes a positive spirit of competition. It also involves a variety of skill sets on a team including, strength, speed, and coordination. All types of people can find their niche on a rugby team. And beyond the game itself, rugby reinforces many positive life values; respect, fair play and teamwork, to name a few. Wherever my work took me around the world, I immediately found a fun and supportive group of friends through rugby. This is part of the strong social aspect of the sport, which is one of its great attributes.

C: It is truly the ultimate team sport. There is a role for every player—it doesn’t matter what you like or how athletic you are, there really is a place for everyone. It’s a super-inclusive sport with a strong supportive culture on and off the field. I have met some of my best friends in the world through rugby. The sport has also given me the opportunity to play alongside some truly amazing players some of whom I have watched play professionally, and internationally and whom we will see play in the Rugby World Cup for women in New Zealand this fall.

What was the best part about playing rugby for BCS?

T: We were a close-knit group at BCS, we succeeded as a team and, if I do say so myself, we were pretty good! I think we only lost two games in three seasons, and they were close too! The best teams have good chemistry, and that was true for the rugby teams I played on at BCS.

C: I had an injury in my 7th form year that kept me out of sports at BCS until rugby season. But once we started playing in the spring it was such a fun way to meet lots of new friends and connect with people I hadn’t already met through my house or classes.

What was the biggest adjustment from high school to university rugby?

T: I don’t remember any real challenges in the transition. We had successful teams at Queen’s also and the level of competition was high. I was fortunate to have great rugby coaches at both BCS (Merv Gray) and Queen’s (Gavin Reid) both coincidentally originally from Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe). Excellent coaching in those years set a strong foundation for my success and enjoyment of the sport.

C: Coming into training camp my first year at Queen’s everything was different, and it was a huge adjustment. This was the first time I had played with women who were often 4-5 years older than me. Everyone seemed bigger, more skilled, and more experienced than me. One of the biggest adjustments was the much faster pace of the game and the hits were harder. But you adjust and soon you are just out there with the incredible feeling that you are playing fast-paced, high-quality rugby alongside amazing teammates!

What advice would you give young people thinking of playing rugby?

T: There is a tremendous sense of accomplishment and camaraderie in competitive rugby. While it is a relatively rough sport, it is generally well-spirited! These features make it probably my favourite sport to play and I can strongly recommend it to anyone.

C: Even if you are apprehensive about rugby for whatever reason, you just have to jump in! I have played many different sports, but my best memories come from the rugby pitch. There is something so satisfying about being on the field with 14 of your friends and playing a tough-fought physical 80 minutes all to finish with a win. There is no better feeling of accomplishment!

What is your vision of rugby for BCS?

T: First and foremost, to maintain and help the sport thrive at the school. As students now generally come for fewer years, it is more difficult to introduce the sport and set them up to prosper in the game beyond BCS. We need to encourage more students to try the sport—I am confident they won’t be disappointed if they do!

C: There is a real opportunity to develop the sport at the school, especially for women. It is a sport where you can quickly rise to the top even if taking it up 'later' in life. Many women who play at the national and international level including in the Olympics were good athletes who only started the game when they were 17 or 18 years old. Continuing the stellar legacy of rugby at BCS is so important. Attracting good athletes, especially girls, will continue to elevate the level of play and encourage the many positive things associated with the sport. Being part of the rugby family brings so many opportunities for travel, friendship, leadership, and even cool opportunities for pursuing higher education that may not otherwise have been possible.



1. (Main Photo) Tim Price, BCS'75, (bottom right corner) and his daughter Chella, BCS'19, (far right, red hair tie) share a love for the game of rugby.

2. Chella Price, BCS'19, playing rugby while at BCS.

3. Tim Price, BCS'75, back row far right.

4. Chella Price, BCS'19.