Barclay Luke became a honourary member of the Sports Hall in 2020 for his accomplishments in rugby. “I played sports because I loved it. After you’re done, being recognized for what you’ve done, it’s a pretty cool thing.” Luke said of his induction.
Barclay began playing rugby in 1990 at the age of 14 for his high school Brantford Collegiate Institute (BCI) in Brantford. During his time there he had the privilege of being coached by fellow Brantford and Area Sports Hall of Recognition inductee George Jones and Rugby Ontario Hall of Fame inductees Bob Boos and Mick Ferras. At age 16, he had to make a tough decision and give up his first love, soccer, for the ‘gentleman’s game rugby’.
His high school career culminated with back-to-back Provincial gold medals. The summer of 1995 was Luke’s first taste of high-level rugby when he was persuaded to try-out for the U19 Ontario team. The season was short with a National tournament in Saskatoon where the team placed 2nd to B.C. After the tournament, Luke was named to the U19 Canadian squad based on his play from the National tournament. Unfortunately, due to funding, this would only be a paper team, with no actual games.
After two university seasons with the York Yeomen (now known as the York Lions), he ended his Ontario University Athletics (OUA) tenure to focus more on the Brantford Harlequins while continuing his education at York. He left University athletics with two OUA all-star nods and a team most valuable player (MVP).
Fast forward to the year 2000, Luke was headed to the west coast as a member of the Pacific Pride. The Pacific Pride was a national high-performance men’s academy program playing in the B.C. Premier league. The team was an assembly of players between the ages of 18 to 24 who have been identified as having the potential to be elite players. The team was coached by David Clarke who also coached the senior men’s national team at the time. At the conclusion of the season in 2001, Luke was selected as a member of the National Rugby 7s Senior Men’s program which was a version of the rugby union. He then headed off to England and Wales for a two-week stint where tournaments were held in each country. It was then he began to gain national credibility.
After garnering 8 caps over the two tournaments, he went home to play for the Toronto Renegades of the newly formed Rugby Canada Super League. Earning more reps with Canada ‘A’ and Canada East representative teams over the next year, 2003 would be a year to remember.
Due to some political issues with Rugby Canada and the Super League, he went back to the Brantford Harlequins. Brantford had a strong team but was over looked at every angle. They were massive underdogs who ended up on-top with their first McCormick Cup victory since 1975. Luke was named MVP of the final game and that year was named Player of the Year for the Province of Ontario.
In 2004, Luke would get his shot with the Senior National Men’s team, heading to Japan for the Super Powers Cup which was a tournament featuring national representation from USA, Russia, Japan and Canada. “The experience was phenomenal,” Luke said of his travels. This is where he received his first official cap in the game Canada vs USA on May 27, 2004. He received his second cap three days later becoming the 316th player to represent Canada at the international level.