YORKTON - When the regular Major League Rugby season was completed the Toronto Arrows were on the way to summer vacation, and not the playoffs.
But for one Arrow, Andrew Quattrin, he would also walk away as recipient of a major new award in the MLR S. Marcus Calloway Community Impact Award.
Quattrin was presented with a commemorative trophy and a $5,000 donation to Optimism Place (his non-profit of choice) at the MLR Championship which saw New York top Seattle.
The award, named for the late S. Marcus Calloway, former chairman and majority owner of Rugby ATL, is awarded to the player who shows passion, excellence and integrity on and off the field, inspires others to action, shows strength in character, aids those less fortunate, and embraces the core values of rugby, while displaying solidarity, discipline and respect.
“It was a super honourable man that it was named after,” said Quattrin in a recent interview with this writer, adding it was “unfortunate he passed,” but his efforts in the community live on.
“I was really humbled to have the award.”
Quattrin, in his fourth season with the Arrows, said meeting Calloway’s widow at the presentation really brought the significance of it home.
“It was awesome (to meet her),” he said.
“Major League Rugby is honored to name Andrew Quattrin as the first-ever recipient of the S. Marcus Calloway Community Impact Award,” said MLR Commissioner George Killebrew in a release announcing the award. “Andrew epitomizes the leadership and legacy that Marcus Calloway stood for. Andrew’s commitment to community and inspiring others is a tribute to Marcus’ spirit. We’re proud of Andrew and the many other worthy candidates who were considered for the award this year. Major League Rugby will continue to follow Marcus’ lead in our commitment to community.”
By conservative estimates, Quattrin poured more than 100 hours into community initiatives across Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area throughout 2022, and inspired teammates to invest several hundred more, noted the release.
Quattrin from Holland Landing, Ont., was quick to share the award with his Arrow teammates.
“I couldn’t have done it without teammates. I think I brought some good ideas to the table, but without team buy-in they couldn’t happen. This is really a team award,” he said.
Quattrin said working in the community is very much part of the culture of rugby with it quite normal to see top pros in New Zealand, Australia and England out doing good things in their communities.
“Guys in MLR are continuing that in North America,” he said,
While part of being out in the community is about “growing the grassroots” of the sport, and the MLR, being supportive of the community, “is just super important to us,” offered Quattrin.
As for the season the Arrows settled with an 8-8 record scoring 414 points and allowing 390 finishing fourth in the MLR East with only the top-three teams making the playoffs.
It was a season which will be remembered for the extensive injured list the team dealt with week after week after week.
“It was definitely difficult. It always seemed there were guys hurt that could have helped us,” said Quattrin, 25, a hooker with the Arrows. “It was obviously upsetting we had that many injuries.”
With the sidelines often looking like triage centre with the number of walking wounded, Quattrin said it was hard to find a rhythm.
We did not have the consistency, the cohesiveness,” he said, adding injured players always face a tough time feeling connected to the team, which he terms FOMO the ‘fear of missing out,” not just on playing but the culture around the team like knowing the latest inside joke making it way around the dressing room.
If there was a silver lining to the injuries, it was a number of young players getting their first taste of MLR which they might not have gotten with a healthy roster.
“There’s some young talent that’s super great to see,” said Quattrin, adding he looks forward to seeing the young guys growing their games.
Following the season Quattrin’s summer vacation was put on hold a few weeks as he joined Team Canada as the team played host to Belgium and Spain in a pair of test matches on home soil.
The Canucks rolled over Belgium 45-0 in a game played in Halifax then dropped the game to Spain 57-34 in Ottawa.
“It was definitely a different pace of play. It was much more up tempo – not as much room for errors,” said Quattrin.
Quattrin said the Canadian team is in something of a rebuild, with the average age around 24, and with limited practice time leading up to the games more work was needed.
“There’s a lot of learning to be done,” he said, adding there were mistakes made on defence, especially versus Spain and they took advantage.
“It was not a lack of effort on our part. We’re just getting the chemistry down,” he said.
Quattrin now gets some time off the pitch, although he said he might be playing some club games, before hopefully suiting up for Canada for some more test matches in November ahead of season five of MLR, which he added he is really looking forward too.
“I see so much potential it these guys it’s just amazing. I just love the guys. I think next year will be a really good opportunity for us,” he said. “I’m super excited to see it.”