From Hockey to Rugby: Josh Windley
We have many athletes that transition from other sports to rugby including soccer, football, lacrosse, and hockey. A prime example of this is our current captain Josh Windley who didn’t pick up rugby until university. He grew up playing hockey and after stints in KIJHL decided to trade in his skates for the oval ball. Josh has worked hard on his understanding of the game, the development of his rugby skills, and has worked his way into our first XV and now wears the ‘C’.
We sat down with Josh to pick his brain on how he made the transition.
Tell us about your athletic background and hockey journey?
Growing up I played multiple sports including Hockey, Soccer, Golf, Volleyball, Tennis, and Baseball. As I got older I realized that I wanted to get serious with one sport so I chose Hockey. I ended up playing two years of junior hockey after high school, but after getting traded to a team in Saskatchewan in 2017 I decided to hang up the skates and go to school.
What made you decide to give rugby a try and how did you get connected to the Dinos men’s rugby team?
When I came to school I realized that I missed being in a team atmosphere more than I thought, so I ended up joining the rowing team. After a year of rowing I realized that the sport wasn’t for me so I told one of my best friends, Ryan Littlewood, who then suggested that I try rugby. Ryan was on the rugby team and also became our captain during his Dinos career.
What was the skills transition like from hockey to rugby? What aspects did you have to work hard on to develop in the transition?
The skills transition was a challenge for sure, passing and kicking etc. However, the part that I struggled with the most was my game sense and my ability to read the pitch. Playing a season of club rugby with the Calgary Saracens really helped with this challenge and evidently lead me to playing fly-half.
What is your favourite part about rugby and the Dinos?
My favourite part about rugby is the companionship and grit that comes with the sport. It’s a sport where you have to battle for the other 22 guys beside you because you know that they’re going to do the same. This type of culture is essential within our program and I’ve never seen anything like it throughout all my years in sports.