In 1967 Clint Evans conned Bob Rialland into a jog along Churchill Drive, one early June evening. Heading back home in front Rod Kachulak’s house they stopped to have look at a bunch of guys tackling without helmets. Bob thought they were nuts. Clint told Bob it was Rugby. The smallest of them, came over and introduced himself as Ian Williams. They joined him on the field and also recruited more guys.
During the fall of 1967 a group of guys (Clint Evans, Dwight Evans, Bart Evans, Rod Kachulak, John Silver, John Samm, Greg Hull, Vic Krisciunas, Mike Forbes, Bob Rialland, Dennis Caine, Gord May, Don Steele) – originally from Churchill High School – were playing with the Winnipeg Wasps Rugby Football.
Jim Platt (a scrum half), pitched an idea of developing a new rugby team that would feature mostly home-grown talent from the fort-rouge area and to compete in Division A of the Manitoba Rugby Football Union (considering they supplying the Wasp’s 13 out of their 15 player roster). Soon after Bob Rialland and Clint Evans began having meetings in Bob‘s parent’s house with a case of beer & a bag of chips; free of course to those who showed up. Clint and Bob brought together interested parties who would make up the executive. Many names for this new team were thrown around including “Bingo” as well as other selections that are not to be mentioned. Jim Platt proposed the “Assassins” nickname, and it stuck.
Jim Platt loaned the money for sweaters and they had bonfires & beer to raise money. They also had a social and Grey Cup Party at Rialland’s house, where they wore their new sweaters. They were Blue with white squares, a white collar and red numbers created by Jim’s wife, Jan. Bob’s brother-in-law designed the Crest. It became the letter A; a symbol of the club.
When the 1968 season started the Assassins were ready with new red and white knee high socks and two scrum caps and two old rugby balls with Jim as player/coach and Clint Evans as team captain. We had more and more supporters at every game and more players willing to give it their all for the Assassins Rugby Football Club.
Al Wilson & his Brother, David Samm, Bill Forbes, Bill Dowie, Dick Forbes, Bob Boughey, Jamie Horne, Don Wiles, Tom Poff, David Iles, Bruce Zimmer, Ken Crozier, Basil(John) Crozier, Vince Aiello, Terry Gregg, Ron Odgers, Jim Platt.
Under Jim’s leadership, the Assassins thrived. By 1969, the Assassins were fielding 2 teams: one in the A Division and one team in Division B. Through our network of friends we attracted many new players from the Churchill area, as well as beyond the ‘Rouge,’ including players from the U of M Football Team. Players like:
Tom Haines, Jim Brown, Garry Milne, Sheldon Ready, Nick Atkinson, John Burman, Wilf Ericksen, Ed Chapman, Adrian Long, Vince Lovallo, Mike Murray, Don Pincock, Scott Gibson, Gary Gilbert, Trevor Holland, Bob Keating, Karl & Tony Ruban, Larry Shields, Jim Jarman, Dan Farkas, Brian Fries, Remo Aiello, Ray Ash, Barry Brolly, David Yauniskis.
Two 1969 photos show the first Bison football players, B. Keating and I. McLeod (in addition to C. Evans and J. Silver) to join the Assassins. By 1970, the club consisted of three teams (two teams in the A division and one team in the B) and during spring season, 1971, our Division A team won the provincial championships (i.e., Carling Cup). Notably, the 1972 provincial rugby team roster included 6 Assassins.
Thanks to the many Guys & Gals who come out every year to play for the Assassins Rugby Football Club. The Assassins will continue to be a Premier Rugby force in Manitoba because of you.
Let us not forget its beginning… From Sunday touch & tackle football in the snow on Churchill Drive, what a future Rugby has become in the hearts of young men and women.
As part of the 50th-anniversary celebration held in 2017 a commemorative volume outlining the club’s history throughout the decades was produced. This book, filled with photos and an in depth club history can be viewed online: Assassins RFC – 50th Anniversary Book