(Courtesy of Rugby Canada)
To all of our supporters and friends along the way,
At the conclusion of the Rugby World Cup, it is with fond memories that we thank all the supporters and friends that helped the National Senior Men's Team throughout the 2011 tournament.
Whether at home in Canada or on the ground in New Zealand, cheering us on or helping us out at training sessions, the Canadian team experienced unbelievable support along the way.
At home, the numbers shown by TSN made it clear the Canadian fans were cheering us on as our men slogged it out on the field.
In the stands, the sea of red could sometimes be confused as Tongan or Japanese fans, but when push came to shove it was clear from the overwhelming cheers and chants from the crowd, that the Canadian contingent was just as strong.
The support started with Tonga, when the Canadian fans could be heard loud and proud in the stands, willing our men to a 25-20 victory.
Hard work and dedication played a big part, but after the match the players also acknowledged the fan support played a factor.
This was clear when many players leapt into the stands to thank their friends, family and all Canadian fans for their contribution as the 23rd man in the squad on the day.
It is no small feat that all of our games were sold out and we know many of those seats were filled with Canadian fans. So for taking the time and expense to travel across to world to support us, we thank you.
In fact, so many friends and family made the long journey to New Zealand that several functions were staged by the national team in order to host them all. So thank you for your overwhelming support of the team.
On the ground in New Zealand, the logistical support from volunteers and World Cup employees cannot be understated. Every step of the way the team was helped by scores of willing volunteers, just eager to be involved in the spectacle of the World Cup.
From our first base in Waitangi and KeriKeri, to Whangarei, Napier and Wellington, you all helped along the way and we cannot thank you enough.
Much like the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, when waves of keen Canadians gave up their time to volunteer. The 'blue jackets' of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand were out in force and many became good friends to the Canadian team as they worked hard to achieve whatever was necessary off the field to help with our performance on the field.
Much like the fans, the volunteers are too many to name, but you know who you are, so thank you.
Similarly, our Rugby World Cup liasons Billy Preston and Darren Larsen ensured the team was not left wanting. They worked tirelessly for the players and the staff, making sure they knew the lay of the land in each of our locations so they could best serve the team.
The team was also kept safe by police officer David De Lange, who travelled everywhere with the team from the moment of our arrival in Auckland.
And, of course, before the team had even left Canada, the support of donors, sponsors and clubs was overwhelming as they made contributions essential to helping the team along the way.
All in all, our experience at the Rugby World Cup was evidence of just what can happen when so many people band together in the name of a sport we all love so much.
Every interaction we had at this Rugby World Cup enriched the experience and made it one that will last in all our memories for many years and hopefully it will last on in yours as well.
So from the Canadian National Senior Men's Team, the players and the staff at Rugby World Cup 2011 New Zealand, thank you.We could not have embarked on this journey without all of your support and we greatly appreciate it.