The John Cannon Memorial Touch Tournament is back after a one-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)

The John Cannon Memorial Touch Tournament is back after a one-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)

John Cannon Memorial Touch Tournament returns to Abbotsford fields

Bateman Park hosting 2021 edition of the event on Saturday Aug. 7, first since 2019

After taking a one-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual John Cannon Memorial Touch Tournament will return on Saturday, Aug. 7.

The Abbotsford Rugby Football Club announced the return of the event on July 7. The 2021 edition of the tournament will occur at Bateman Park.

The co-ed event will feature six-aside on the pitch and there must be one female and one “old boy” on at all times. There is a cost of $30 per player. For more information, email pp.grewal@gmail.com

Funds raised from the tournament will help the annual John Cannon Memorial Fund scholarship provide money to local rugby players.

RELATED: John Cannon Memorial Fund established

The fund has been set up to help aspiring representative players from Abbotsford offset the financial cost to achieve their goals and dreams of representing their province or country.

Through consultation with the Cannon family, a player or players from Abbotsford area schools every year is awarded financial assistance from the fund.

Cannon died at the age of 35 back in 2016 and he is recognized as one of the best rugby players to ever come out of Abbotsford.

Cannon’s stellar rugby career began while playing for W.J. Mouat, Abbotsford Senior and the Abbotsford Rugby Club. He went on to play for Canada’s Under 17 team on tours to England and Germany; Canada’s Under 19 team in France and Wales; and Canada’s Under 23 Pacific Pride Program.

He also played for Canada’s Senior National Team from 2001 to 2007 earning a total of 31 caps, competing in tournaments around the world. He also suited up for Canada in the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia, starting a game against the New Zealand All-Blacks in the tournament.

RELATED: Cannon tournament raises over $7,500

John’s professional rugby career began in 2001 playing for England’s Rotherham Rugby club then later for clubs in Coventry and Doncaster – all National Division One Clubs in the United Kingdom. In 2004 and 2005 John was named to the National Division One All-Star team and in 2006 was described by Rugby World Magazine as “perhaps the best centre outside the Premiership in England.”

His career came to an abrupt end in 2007. While attending a soccer game in England, he was the victim of an unprovoked mugging by a soccer hooligan. During the attack, he hit his head on a concrete curb, and was advised by brain specialists not to play rugby again.

He returned to B.C. in 2009 and volunteered as a coach with ARFC before his passing.

RELATED: Abbotsford rugby star John Cannon dead at 35

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