Eagles surprise student with tickets to match at Soldier Field

The entire Eagles Select XV roster and coaching staff visited Esquimalt High School in Victoria, British Columbia, Wednesday before the second match of the 2014 IRB Americas Rugby Championship to present a special gift to a local student.

Esquimalt rugby player Mikayla Evans received a round-trip package to the USA Eagles’ match against the New Zealand All Blacks at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill., Nov. 1. The senior was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma about a year ago and has continued to volunteer her time with organizations like Gold for Kids Charity.

The players and staff filed in to the gymnasium during an “awards assembly,” with Head Coach Mike Tolkin, tournament captain Louis Stanfill, and other players saying a few words before calling out a list of names, which ended with Evans’.

“It’s unheard of, on a game day in international rugby, for a national side to show up beforehand for a public-service appearance, but the American team did it for Mikayla,” team liaison and Esquimalt Rugby Academy Advisory Board Chairman Tom Woods told the Times Colonist.

Learn more about the Esquimalt High visit

“It was a great moment for her, and our guys volunteered to be there on game day and did a fantastic job,” Tolkin said.

As a Canadian wanting to see the All Blacks live, Evans may not have expected any favors from the Eagles, but now she has two teams to root for in Chicago.

“These U.S. players are just so amazing . . . and, of course, the All Blacks are amazing,” she told the Times Colonist. Evans also took the time to thank and hug each player and staff member at the school.

The Eagles went on to defeat Canada ‘A’ at Rugby Canada’s Centre of Excellence Wednesday night, 16-3, to improve to 1-1 at the ARC.

For more information on the match featuring the world champion All Blacks at Soldier Field, please visit the event website. Tickets to #USAvAllBlacks are almost sold out and can be purchased here.