Stingers Help Raise Awareness for Domestic Abuse in 9th Annual Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup
The Stingers women’s rugby team wasn’t the only winner in last week’s Kelly-Anne Drummond Cup. Their opponent, the McGill Martlets, won too—and so did everybody against domestic abuse.
Nine years after Kelly-Anne Drummond was stabbed to death by her boyfriend, Concordia and McGill University competed in Molson Stadium to keep the former Stinger’s memory alive in the annual rugby cup game named in her honour.
Wednesday’s game served to raise awareness for battered women and to raise money for Women Aware, a charity that gives women tools and support to overcome domestic abuse.
“I think it’s important for students and all the people of that age group to keep talking about [domestic abuse], because it’s still happening among the youth and people are still not talking about it,” June Mitchell, co-president and director for Women Aware, told The Link. “It happens with men against women, women against men and in same-sex couples. It has to be talked about.”
The charity raised nearly $2,000 on the night alone—the most in the annual game’s history.
“The passion and the atmosphere was fantastic,” said Mitchell. “[Fans and players] don’t even know Kelly-Anne and they continue to support. That’s inspiring.”
Drummond played for the Stingers from 1999 to 2001 and graduated from Concordia with a degree in communications in 2002. She was fatally stabbed on Oct. 3, 2004 when her boyfriend stuck a knife in the back of her neck and severed her brain stem.
Drummond was taken to hospital, where she died two days later when the decision was made to take her off life-support.
Since the cup’s inaugural game that year, over $10,000 has been raised for Women Aware.
“It’s amazing. People never stop surprising us with their generosity,” said Stingers coach Graeme McGravie. “Hopefully we’re bringing that awareness to 60 other women that play here and to the people that come watch.”
McGravie coached the men’s team when Drummond was killed, and helped start the annual fundraiser.
“I just remember thinking, ‘This is ridiculous, someone needs to do something about this,’” said McGravie. “So we got together with the McGill coaches and the idea was that we would help raise awareness [of] violence against women.”
Although the night was one to remember Drummond, neither team’s players were distracted as they ran, pushed and tackled for victory.
The two teams were evenly matched throughout, and in the closing minutes the Stingers held off a late McGill push to seal a 17-15 win.
Drummond’s mother, Doreen Haddad, presented the Drummond Cup to the Stingers, who have won it five consecutive years after losing the first four.
“Kelly would be so humbled to know that all these events go on year after year in her name,” Haddad told The Link on Monday. “Obviously she can’t send us a message, but I know that she is just smiling because she knows that […] people are remembering her—not just the way that she died but the way that she lived, and she lived her life through sports.”
Despite the context of the night, the banter in the stands reflected the great rivalry that exists between the two schools, as fans and both men’s rugby teams came out to support their team.
Chants, cheering and trash talk were heard throughout the night like in any other game, but at the end of the night both sides knew they fought for more than a winning score.
“It touches my heart,” said Haddad. “These girls didn’t know Kelly-Anne and they played with all their heart and soul in that game. For me it’s much more than just a game knowing that these girls wanted to be there.”
After defeating the Sherbrooke Vert et Or on Sunday, the Stingers now sit in second place in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec conference standings, with a 4-0 record. They’ll next travel to Ontario to take on the first-place Ottawa Gee-Gees on Friday.