Fear Mounting For Kent Havoc’s Future After Loss Of Home Field

Kent Havoc Rugby Club

The Kent Havoc organization is without a home field, which could mean the end of rugby in Chatham – Photo by Chris Marvell/ CKSN.ca

Fear is mounting among local rugby enthusiasts for the future of a beloved member of the Chatham-Kent sporting community, as the future of the Kent Havoc Rugby Football Club is in jeopardy after their home field, the old CCI Field, was sold last August.

Immediately following the sale of their home field, the organization commenced talks with the Municipality of Chatham-Kent looking for a new home, but those discussions haven’t produced any suitable options for the organization, although suitable fields do exist in Chatham.

Established in 2001, the Kent Havoc have been playing at the CCI location since their inception. With their field gone, the club, which has ingrained itself in Chatham-Kent as not only a proud sporting representative for the Municipality, but as volunteers and ambassadors, is being asked to move.

One individual knowledgable on the situation, who asked for anonymity, stated the organization is being asked to consider locations as far as 30 minutes from their current field. The current options being presented to the club by the Municipality feature safety concerns, or unsuitable set ups for the game of rugby.

With the club growing in recent seasons, the local rugby community feels a move outside Chatham will crush the club.

For the organization, which now features 140 players, including a youth program aged 2-8, U9 girls, U15 girls, U16 to U19 girls, and the senior men’s and women’s teams, they need a field which allows them 6 days per week usage, which is what the Kent Havoc currently utilize.

The Havoc have been instrumental in building youth rugby programs in the area, and promoting athletes to the college and university ranks, as well as current Team Canada member Breanne Nicholas. They also brought the Nations Cup event, featuring Canada, the USA, South Africa, and England to Chatham in 2011.

Off the field, the Havoc are ingrained in the community, volunteering at events, and for organizations including the Pride Parade, Chatham Goodfellows, Cenotaph Vigil, Big Brothers and Sisters, Walk-A-Mile in Her Shoes, the Legion Poppy Appeal, and Chatham’s Christmas Parade.

Although the Havoc have been pushing for a permanent location in Chatham for over a decade, and have ramped up their search since the sale of the CCI Field, many in the rugby community fear that inadequate and unsafe locations, and a preference to give prime fields to local soccer, will soon lead to the demise of the sport of rugby in Chatham-Kent.

What can be done? According to one local member of the rugby community, they will need the Municipality to go to bat for the club, as the Havoc have done for Chatham-Kent many times over.

“If a suitable location is not found, the Kent Havoc Rugby Club will cease to exist,” CKSN’s source explained.

For the local sporting community, and the Kent Havoc, failure is not an option.

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  • comment-avatar
    Brenda LeClair 4 months

    Chatham Kent had to step up in this one. There had to be a durable solution I have watched them play it’s a wonderful sport we cannot loose this opportunity for our youth 

  • comment-avatar
    Peter Darbishire 4 months

    As a rugby referee who has been involved as a match official in games hosted by The Havoc, I am dismayed to think that a new home cannot be found locally. Rugby is a sport that is founded on respect, team building and community. In these aspects, members of Chatham Kent Havoc Rugby Football Club  have contributed in spades. Time for the community to support the club.

  • comment-avatar
    Buck Strickland 4 months

    I’ve been watching those beefy, sweaty men lay boots to asses ever since the cows came home. Slick Rick Nicholls needs to step in. #savethehavoc #bootstoasses #ILoveIt