July 28, 2016 (HONOLULU, HI)
WESTERN UNION OHANA CUP SUCCESS STEMS FROM ITS UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII WARRIOR FOOTBALL ROOTS
6th Annual International Rugby League Festival is the Biggest Yet
July 28, 2016 (HONOLULU, HI) – If you had asked former All-WAC Right Tackle Kelly McGill where he would be nearly 25 years after his University of Hawaii Warriors beat Illinois in the 1992 Holiday Bowl, bringing International Rugby League matches to Hawaii would not have been the answer.
“Back in 1992 I didn’t even know what rugby was, I actually had aspirations to play in the NFL but my physical build and player mentality were actually more suited for rugby,” said McGill, President of Grand Pacific Events and co-owner of Tiki’s Grill and Bar. “Now that I look back on my decision to pursue a rugby career I can honestly say it’s been a dream come true and I wouldn’t change a thing.”
As a former player, manager and assistant coach with the United States National Rugby League team named the Tomahawks, McGill traveled the planet and had the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life even including the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles himself.
However, it wasn’t until McGill moved back to Hawaii and became co-owner of the popular Tiki’s Grill and Bar in Waikiki that he had the idea of bringing International Rugby League matches to Hawaii.
“Tiki’s was already sponsoring smaller events and fundraisers, so it made perfect sense to lay the foundation for a Rugby League event in Hawaii, said McGill. “We started off small with only a few teams traveling to Hawaii and playing on Kaiser High School’s field. Now the event has grown into a two-day festival with national and international sponsors, teams, dignitaries and world-wide recognition.”
McGill credits his business as well as the Ohana Cup’s success to the discipline gained and the relationships forged while playing football at the University of Hawaii.
“The year we won the Holiday Bowl we were such a strong unit and due to our focus, discipline and determination on the field we felt like no one in the country could have beaten us at that time. Off the field, my lifelong friendships and ties to the UH Football Program were born from playing on that team and it’s the reason why I have been able to help develop the sport of rugby in Hawaii.”
By recruiting former UH Warrior Football standouts such as Jayson Rego and Leonard Peters as well as Kahuku High School Football star Vai Notoa to play Rugby League in Hawaii, McGill laid the foundation for the sports popularity across the entire State.
“It’s not only the youth and young adults who play rugby but it is also the ever growing rugby fan base that is creating a buzz around the sport,” said McGill. “Now with rugby’s inclusion in the Summer Olympics this year the potential is limitless.”
The 2016 Western Union Ohana Cup, A Rugby League Festival presented by the Hawaii Tourism Authority will be held Friday and Saturday, August 19 - 20, 2016, at Aloha Stadium.
The two-day event kicks off with a Polynesian Cultural Festival and a not-to-be missed pre-game concert featuring Willie K., Kapena, Nesian Nine and Josh Tatofi. This will be followed-up by non-stop International Rugby League action with Team Tonga battling Samoa, Fiji taking on Canada and the New South Wales (Australia) Police going up against Oahu’s own Hawaii Chiefs.
Day - 1 (Friday, August 19, 2016)
4:00 p.m. - Gates Open
5:00 p.m. - Prayer and Team Recognition
5:30 p.m. - Tahitian Drumming and Dance Ensemble
5:45 p.m. - Samoan and Tongan Performers
6:00 p.m. - 6:45 p.m.- Kapena
7:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m. - Fijian Dance Ensemble
7:15 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. - Josh Tatofi / Hawaiian Halau
8:15 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. - Nesian Nine
9:15 p.m. - 10:15 p.m. - Willie K.
Day - 2 (Saturday, August 20, 2016)
2:30 p.m. - Gates Open
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. - National Anthems (All Six Nations plus Hawaii Pono'i)
4:00 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. - New South Wales Police vs. Hawaii Chiefs
6:00 p.m. - 7:45 p.m. - Canada vs. Fiji
8:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. - Tonga vs. Samoa
The sixth annual Western Union Ohana Cup, A Rugby League Festival is a Grand Pacific Events production and is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Western Union and the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
In addition, a portion of this year’s proceeds will benefit R.E.A.C.H. (Resources for Enrichment, Athletics, Culture, and Health) an initiative created by Hawaii’s Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui.
ESPN 1420 AM will again broadcast live the main slate of games on August 20, 2016 as well as streaming live audio of each of the matches via their website at: www.espn1420am.com.
Tickets for the concert and the game are on sale at the Aloha Stadium box office. Ticket prices are as follows: TWO DAY PASSES: $40 (Includes General Admission to concert and Game) SINGLE EVENT TICKETS: Adults - $25, Military (with ID) - $20 and Keiki (under 12 years old) - $15. There is no charge for Keiki ages 5 and under. Tickets will also be available at most Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) offices on military bases across the island
For more information about the schedule of events please log onto www.ohanacup.com or charge your tickets by phone at 808-483-7123.
For additional information please contact Kelly McGill at (808) 392-8454; by email at
About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of March 31, 2015, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of over 500,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories and over 100,000 ATMs and kiosks. In 2014, The Western Union Company completed 255 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $85 billion of principal between consumers, and 484 million business payments. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.
About Hawaii Tourism Authority
Established in 1998, the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) is the lead state agency for tourism. Among its responsibilities, the HTA’s is charged with: (1) Setting tourism policy and direction with the goal of contributing to the ongoing, sustainable growth of Hawaii’s economy (2) Developing and implementing the State’s tourism marketing plan and efforts (3) Managing programs and activities to sustain a healthy visitor industry (4) Developing and implementing the Hawaii Tourism Strategic Plan (5) Coordinating tourism-related research, planning, promotional and outreach activities with the public and private sectors. For more information, visit: www.hawaiitourismauthority.org.
Resources for Enrichment, Athletics, Culture and Health (R.E.A.C.H.) is an initiative of the Office of Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui (OLG) working in collaboration with the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) and the Office of Youth Services (OYS) within the Hawaii State Department of Human Services.
The purpose of this statewide initiative is to provide an organizational framework and a funding base for public schools to offer after-school programs for middle and intermediate school students so they can stay on track toward high school graduation and be better prepared for future success. The after-school programs offer instruction and activities from three general areas: academic enrichment, arts and culture, and athletics. For more information, visit: www.reachouthawaii.org.
About Grand Pacific Events
Grand Pacific Events (GPE) creates sporting opportunities for international rugby competition in Hawaii in addition to providing venues and occasions for enthusiasts to watch the sport live and in person. GPE specializes in the management, logistics and promotion of Premier Rugby events in Hawaii. For more information please contact Kelly McGill at (808) 392-8454; by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook at facebook.com/GrandPacificEvents.