Courser to be inducted into rugby hall of fame

By Brian Smiley, Brantford Expositor

Ken Courser is joining some select company.

During a ceremony on Dec. 10 in Mississauga, Courser will be inducted into the Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame. Not only will he be joining a small group that has made a large impact on the sport in the province but he'll also become just the third Brantford Harlequin to enter the shrine.

"I'm absolutely thrilled," the 56-year-old said. "I get to join George Jones and Bob McGeein, who are the only members of the club that are in the hall of fame."

Jones was the founder of the club, while McGeein has been involved with the game for decades through a variety of roles.

Courser moved to Brantford from Quebec in 1972. Once he hit high school, he started playing rugby for Brantford Collegiate Institute. He joined the Harlequins in 1978 and played until 2005, winning a McCormick Cup with the Harlequins in 2003.

"For me, it was the camaraderie of the teammates," he said when talking about his biggest joy when it came to playing the game. "I enjoyed the social aspect."

But his work on the field was just a small part of the overall picture. Throughout his administrative career with the Harlequins, Courser has been the club's social director, secretary, vice president and treasurer. He also served as the club's president from 1989-92, 1994, 1996-98 and from 2010 to the present.

He has remained a Harlequin because he loves the game and the people.

"The people that I met growing up when playing up in the '80s - Al Prior, Dan Staats, Ian Dorris - are still working with the club," he said.

"It was because of the people that I stayed and worked on the executive with them."

While the sport and the club has taken up a lot of his time, it's also allowed him to stay in touch.

"It's a 12-month career type thing," he said. "I just grew up with the game. That's where I met most of my best friends."

Courser said that a futures committee is working hard, especially with the business community, to ensure the Harlequins' future. With the club in good shape, he could step back at any time. However, Courser doesn't see a day where rugby isn't part of his life.

"I don't think I'll ever stop but I'll wind down," he said. "I've coached the senior women for five years now.

"You never want to lose touch with the game. It's fun to manage and it's always fun to administrate the game but you like to be part of the game on a Saturday.

"I was starting to lose touch and then there was the opportunity to come out and coach the women. That's kind of rejuvenated my excitement for the game."

With his wife, Monica, supporting him through the years, Courser has done a lot of good work for the Harlequins. He said he feels fortunate to have the club behind him.

"It's been a privilege of mine to work with the club for this many years," he said. "I'm thrilled that they've allowed me to be their president for 15 years and allowed me to work closely with the club for 35 years."