About Us

Board of Directors

Name Role
Josh Chambers Chair
Rob Cooke Deputy Chair
Dean Newman Director of Finance
Jo Robinson Director of Rugby
Isabella Hutchison Director of Communications
Dick Howe Director of Fields & Equipment
Brad Charlton Director at Large
Kyle Ripley Director at Large
Ryan Hilmi Director at Large
Ken Fitzgerald Director at Large
Piet Kort Director at Large

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    Mary Anne Sills Park
    140 Palmer Road,
    Belleville, ON
    K8P 4E7

    The parking lot is south of the fields across from Leland Drive.


The Belleville RFC was formally organized in 1976 and original club colours were green and gold, only because Lew Frape, a former Leicester Tiger, was coaching a fledgling boys rugby program at Centennial Secondary School. Early captains were Mike Dollack and Wolf Tausenfreund. Soon after, a meeting was held at the Docter's Hotel and the official club colours of black, red, and white were adopted. As well, another of the club's early captains, Steve Hicks, suggested the nickname “Bulldogs” since it represented rugby's British heritage and a stubborn, courageous breed that defends its turf with great tenacity.

In the late 1970s the Bulldogs joined the old Mid-Ontario Rugby Union. Great rivalries were forged with enemy clubs in Peterborough, Barrie, Brock County, and later Lindsay too. A highlight for Belleville's tenure in MORU was the Bulldogs first-ever junior side which represented Mid-Ontario at the 1981 provincial championships in Brantford. Arriving as complete unknowns, the Bulldogs drew instant attention by knocking off the defending Ontario champs in Game 1. Although they failed to advance to the final, those Junior Bulldogs — whose playing ranks included the likes of Karl Svoboda, Mike Schad, John Ricketts, Blair MacIntosh and others — garnered rave reviews and sent a strong message to the rest of Ontario that this small, blue-collar club in Belleville meant business. Also during this time, Bulldogs embarked on their first-ever tours. Those unforgettable trips included the famous Mardi Gras Tournament in New Orleans, a tournament in Dayton, Ohio and regular treks through the Adirondacks to Lake Placid for the Can Am Festival. Bulldogs also travelled to Florida for an 'international friendly' against the Clearwater Pelicans in 1980, losing a heart-breaking 4-0 decision on a late try in the corner before a crowd of more than 1,000 onlookers at a local high school football stadium. Bulldogs hosted their first touring side — Caerphilly (Wales) — in the fall of 1981, losing a close contest at Loyalist College field. Since then, numerous senior, junior and schoolboys touring sides from the United Kingdom have made Belleville a mandatory stopover on their Canadian visits.

MORU folded in 1984 with the majority of remaining clubs swallowed up by the Toronto Rugby Union. Bulldogs, who had developed strong ties with the Ottawa-based Bytown Blues, resisted the siren call of the GTA and went east to join the Eastern Ontario Rugby Union. Bulldogs enjoyed a successful run in the EROU, including capturing their first and only Cornwall tournament title. By the late 1990s, however, the bloom was wearing off the rose that once was the EORU. With a new field complex under construction at MAS Park, a new women's team having been formed and with Toronto calling again, the Bulldogs opted out of the Ottawa league and joined the TRU. In Belleville's final year in the EORU, 1998, the Bulldogs advanced to the B-Division final, losing a tough 4-3 decision to Bytown in one of the first matches ever played at the new MAS Park. <

In TRU competition, the Bulldogs have endured the roller-coaster rides often associated with small town rugby clubs. There have been plenty of ups — with A Division titles in 2005 and 2010 — and some downs too, including demotion to the obscure Regional League in 2014. Balancing that disappointment, however, was the women's side advancing to the TRU Final Four for the first time in club history in 2014. Rugby continues to thrive in Belleville. On any given weekend the club boasts two senior men's sides, a senior women's side, an over-35 Old Boys side and several boys and girls junior sides, many of which have captured TRU and Rugby Ontario titles. As well, dedicated Bulldog players, coaches and referees have fostered tremendous growth and success in Bay of Quinte high school rugby, featuring a handful of OFSAA championships and many players who've represented the province at national junior championships. Bulldogs' Kiwi import, Peter Hercus, founded a wildly popular Mini Touch program, designed to introduce the fundamentals of rugby to elementary school children without the contact. Graduates of that program have already gone on to star for Bulldogs junior and senior teams. Some of them have even gone on to represent Canada — Matt Mullins and his cousins, twin sisters Katie and Sara Svoboda, along with Cindy Nelles, most recently, at the U20 level.

The club's most accomplished alumni is Karl Svoboda. Picking up rugby in the late 1970s when it was introduced to local high schools for the first time, Svoboda joined the Bulldogs men's team as starting hooker at the age of 16.