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Cam Kilgour Details Kanaloa Hawaii Rugby Plans


Cam Kilgour sat down with the MLR Rant Podcast and gave Major League Rugby fans their first look into the plans for a Major League Rugby team in Hawaii.

Cam started the interview talking about his history in Cook Islands and Pacific Islands rugby and why he thought it was important to bring rugby to the Hawaiian Islands. He said this venture would bring Hawaii its first professional sports franchise and get the US more connected with Pacific Island rugby.

Kilgour wants the Hawaiian MLR franchise to be the Chicago Bulls of Major League Rugby. "Basketball wasn't that big before Michael Jordan, we're gonna be the Michael Jordan of rugby..." said Kilgour in the half hour interview.

Plans about expenses for other teams were touched on. Kilgour stated that the team would cover airfare and hotels rooms for the visiting squads and that they have the support of the Hawaiian government, the Hawaiian tourism board, local hotels, and a local airline.

Kanaloa Hawaii Rugby expects to get started in February 2021, if they get their license as expected. They have a female CEO in Tracy Atiga. Mick Byrne will the head coach, Tamati Ellison will be an assistant coach, and Matt Atiga will be in charge of high performance and the academy system. The team is also going to get local coaches involved and they are shooting for 25% of their players being Hawaiian.

Similar to Austin, Kanaloa is going to have cheap tickets so that everyone can come. The word culture was mentioned a lot through the interview and along with the Pacific Island culture the team will have their own Ha'a (although in the interview both Cam and the interviewers used Haka in its place).

When asked about finances, Kilgour didn't reveal specifics but did mention that they have a plan in place to be in the game for the long run. He mentioned that their were five ownership groups interested originally and that was narrowed down to a combination of two ownership groups. Kilgour also mentioned that there would be an All-Black/International Rugby feel with the ownership group.

Along with the previously mentioned local support, Kanaloa is also going to partner with the University of Hawaii. They are going to start with a smallish pop-up stadium with around 10,000 seats and hope to eventually move over to Aloha Stadium.

Down the road, the leadership group would like to bring international matches to Hawaii. They would like Japan and New Zealand to come for matches. They want USA and Canada to play there and they would also like to host women's matches as well, including a stop on the women's 7's series.

At the end of the day, if this thing gets off the ground, this could be a great thing for Major League Rugby and rugby in general in the US.

If you would like to watch the whole interview, you can watch it here:


~Josh Fredlund