TORONTO, April 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Mayor John Tory announced Toronto as the newest expansion team to join the English Rugby Football League (RFL). This makes Toronto home to the first transatlantic, professional sports team. The Toronto Wolfpack are set to become the 16th team in League 1 and the 40th team in the RFL, which was founded in 1895. The RFL has teams based in England, France, Wales, and now Canada.
"We offer an enthusiastic welcome to the RFL and the Toronto Wolfpack. Toronto is home to the country's top sports teams and boasts a strong and loyal fan base in addition to having a reputation as a great host city for traveling teams and fans" says Toronto Mayor, John Tory.
"Sports fans have long waited for a transatlantic major league team and we're proud to be the first with the launch of our club, the Toronto Wolfpack" says Eric Perez, Founder & CEO. "With 220 million global participants across all codes of Rugby playing the sport, the RFL's decision to expand its competition across the pond becomes obvious and it makes me very proud as a born and raised Torontonian that the RFL has selected our city as the beachhead into North America."
The Wolfpack will begin play in March 2017. The regular season will have 11 home matches to be played at Lamport Stadium "The Den", in Liberty Village, Toronto and 11 away matches to be played in England, Wales and France before the playoffs and the Challenge Cup.
To lead the anticipated on-field performance, the Toronto Wolfpack named Paul Rowley, veteran Rugby League coach and former England international player, as Head Coach with internationally capped & captain, former Great Britain Coach and 3-time Super League Champion, Brian Noble, as Director of Rugby.
"Approximately half of the team will comprise experienced RFL players to provide the on-field leadership and code skills with the balance of the squad to be drawn from a very large pool of talented and athletic North American rugby players, collegiate Canadian and American football players as well as former CFL and NFL players", says Head Coach, Paul Rowley.
Open city trials will be held in Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver commencing mid August 2016. "I'm excited about the prospects of scouting North America to find gridiron and rugby players that can make the transition to become professional rugby players", says Brian Noble, Director of Rugby.
"This is a truly unique and exciting time in the sport's history. A platform has been created to expand the game professionally into North America", says Nigel Wood, RFL CEO. "We look forward to watching the new team prosper, the fan base grow and to significantly increase the levels of participation in rugby in North America. Rugby League is more than a game, it teaches life lessons including teamwork, integrity and loyalty."
"For visiting players and fans, the excitement of the road trip to Toronto will add to the match day experience and I believe our home matches will have an international test match feel so we have added live entertainment and other unique Wolfpack touches making every game at The Den memorable" says Joe Santos, Wolfpack COO.
At the Toronto Wolfpack official launch earlier today, the team logo, created by the award winning marketing communications agency MacLaren McCann was also unveiled.
Fans are invited to sign up for the season ticket waiting list today by visiting torontowolfpack.com.