Meet the Thunder – Lydia Toorenburgh (player)

Q: When and why did you start playing rugby?

I grew up playing touch with my dad, but I didn’t put my own jersey on until I was 14, my first year of high school. My grade 12 friend insisted that I skip soccer try-outs to practice with the Stelly’s girl’s rugby team. In my first game I scored three tries and I fell in love with the sport.

Q: What position(s) do you play?

I am a Flanker but I have played frequently as an Eightman and a Lock.

Q: What is your favorite rugby team, and who is your favorite player?

Obviously, my favourite team is Canada, both women’s and men’s. I don’t have a favourite player however because I have been fortunate enough to work closely with some of our country’s best like Barbara Mervin, Marlene Donaldson, Julianne Zussman, Nanyak Dala, and Phil Mack just to name a few but I can’t choose a favorite.

Q: What is your favorite rugby experience, why?

My favourite rugby experience was watching the Stelly’s Queen Bees girl’s rugby team travel to UBC to compete in the High School Provincial Championships. As the captain and assistant coach of the team, it was extremely rewarding to see the girls elevate their game play and team work. It really served to highlight the immense improvement that the team and the girl’s High School program has achieved.

Q: What are your short and long term goal with your rugby career?

My short term goals are to play for the U18 BC team and compete at nationals as well as to play for the UVic Vikes. My long term goals are a bit more relaxed; I would like to become a referee and further explore coaching.

Q: How did you discover the Thunder program?

As a young member of the Velox Rugby Club, I hear about many development programs on the lower island. I was very happy to join Thunder when John Lyall invited me.

Q: Tell us about your Aboriginal heritage.

My family recently discovered our Metis heritage and it has been a goal of mine to learn about and embrace my culture. Though I was not raised with knowledge or connection to my lineage I am excited to reclaim my heritage.

Q: Share your thoughts on the Thunder Program so far.

I have had a lot of fun playing for Thunder. It has been truly wonderful to learn from experienced coaches and to forge connections with other youth from both the island and the mainland. I am very thankful for the friendships that this team has given me and I believe that this team will continue to create a positive change in the indigenous community as it grows. As a person who is highly involved with indigenous education and indigenous youth support, I am very excited and hopeful about this team and it’s ability to gather and connect kids like me who are looking for a source of passion and sense of community.

Thank you for that Lydia, we wish you the best of luck! See you in Victoria!

Lydia Tide


About Samantha Jack