Campus Life

Local donors jump on board to assist women's rugby program

The Pronghorn women’s rugby team will see a significant increase in the program’s Athletic Financial Awards (AFA) thanks to the commitment and generosity of a local couple.

Lorne and Diane Patzer, CI Financial and Assante Financial have collaborated to create up to 10 new awards per year with a donation of $20, 000 over the next two years.

“"We are happy to support Pronghorns women's rugby,” says Lorne Patzer. “Few, if any, other sports embody all the skill sets, body types and camaraderie that we have found so evident in rugby.”

“We have watched  and marvelled these embodiments while following our daughter, Ashley (Patzer) Steacy, from high school, to club, to age grade rep teams, to university and finally to the national team.”

Over the next two years, awards will be given to the Horns' top back, forward and rookie in addition to the CI Financial/Assante Financial women’s rugby awards, which will be awarded to two to seven players that meet specified criteria.

“We consider it to be an honour to help several members of the women's rugby team advance their education while at the same time they give their all to make the Horns the best they can be," says Patzer.

Pronghorn Athletics and the women’s rugby team are honoured and very grateful for this generous scholarship gift and support of Pronghorn athletes.

“We are privileged to be supported by the Patzer family, CI and Assante and this provides a big boost to the program,” says head coach Ric Suggitt. “The faith that they have demonstrated in our program will assist in attracting top level athletes.”

“This, in turn, will translate into excellence on and off the field as it will allow our players to focus on what is paramount for our student-athletes to be successful.”

The Patzers are no strangers to the Pronghorns women’s rugby program, as their daughter Ashley starred for the Horns from 2005 to 2009. During her famed Pronghorn career, Ashley was twice named the Canada West and CIS player of the year (2006, 2009), was the Canada West and CIS rookie of the year in 2005 and was a four-time CIS All-Canadian.

She was also part of four consecutive Canada West Championships (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009) and three straight CIS Championships (2007, 2008, 2009), including the 2008 CIS Championship hosted in Lethbridge, where she was named the CIS Tournament most valuable player.

Ashley has gone on to star with the Canadian Women’s Sevens team, winning bronze at the Rio Olympics, and was named to the 2015 IRB Women’s Sevens Series dream team, recognizing the top seven players of the season series.