Alexis Creek’s Jake Ilnicki has finished his professional rugby contract with San Diego and has now signed with the Manawatu Turbos in New Zealand.

Alexis Creek’s Jake Ilnicki has finished his professional rugby contract with San Diego and has now signed with the Manawatu Turbos in New Zealand.

Jake Ilnicki signs with New Zealand Turbos

Jake Ilnicki says that he’s very excited to have signed with the Manawatu Turbos in New Zealand.

Jake Ilnicki says that he’s very excited to have signed with the Manawatu Turbos in New Zealand.

“New Zealand is one of the best places to play rugby and learn as a player, so when the opportunity came up to play professionally here, I was very thrilled,” Ilnicki explained.

“It is something not many foreign players get to do in New Zealand.”

He added being one of the first players to play professionally in North America as something he was pretty proud of.

“My time with the San Diego Breakers was certainly a positive one.

“I got the chance to play with some of the U.S. players who we always come up against when I am with the Canadian team,” he noted.

“There were, of course, a couple of bumps in the road because it was the inaugural year of PRO Rugby, but it is very exciting to see the opportunity for growth in rugby in North America.”

He said he can definitely attribute part of his success to the opportunity he was given to play in Williams Lake.

“Mike Levitt and Morley Wilson were my coaches while I was attending Williams Lake Secondary School and I’ll always be grateful for the time and effort they put into the rugby program at the school,” he continued.

“It’s guys like them, Rodger Stewart and Todd Pritchard who were the backbone of my career.

“They put the work in for me and countless other kids, giving us the chance to try the sport out.

“I think I can say that when Matt Weingart, a former Canadian rugby player, came to do a rugby camp one summer when I was younger, it definitely lit a little fire inside me. I told myself, hey, if he can do it, so can I!”

The rugby community is awesome in Williams Lake, said Ilnicki, who hopes the game will continues to grow here.

“It’s important for older guys like me, and other senior guys at the Rustlers Rugby Club to continue their great support for youth in Williams Lake  to give young kids an opportunity to play,” he said.

 

“There are countless people in Williams Lake who have been supporting me throughout my career, many family and friends, which makes it so great when I come home.”

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

School District 27 (SD27) issued notice Thursday, Feb. 25 of a COVID-19 exposure at Mountview Elementary School. (Angie Mindus photo)
School district reports positive COVID-19 case in Williams Lake elementary school

A letter went home to families of Mountview Elementary School

The City of Williams Lake is asking for public feedback on whether it should explore the opportunity to host a Greater Metro Hockey League team in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
City of Williams Lake seeks feedback on hosting junior hockey league team

A league expansion application in Quesnel is also pending

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

LADDER USED IN FIRE FIGHT: While smoke billows out of the second floor of the Maple Leaf Hotel, members of the Williams Lake Volunteer Fire Department fight to contain the blaze. The department was called out Tuesday morning to battle the blaze that wreaked havoc on the interior of the 57-year-old hotel. One man, Harold Hurst of Riske Creek, died in the fire. (Ernest Engemoen photo - Williams Lake Tribune, April 12, 1977)
FROM OUR ARCHIVES: Ladder used in fire fight

The department was called out Tuesday morning to battle the blaze

Provincial funding in the amount of $300,000 has been announced for the Cariboo Regional District’s plans to improve the Anahim Lake Airport runway. (CRD photo)
$300,000 provincial funding to fuel Anahim Lake Airport runway upgrade

The recovery grant is one of 38 announced to support jobs in rural communities

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

Most Read