Toronto Wolfpack

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Toronto Wolfpack
Toronto Wolfpack RLFC logo.svg
Club information
Full name Toronto Wolfpack Rugby League Football Club
Nickname(s) The Pack
Short name Toronto Wolfpack
Colours New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg Black and White
Founded 2016; 2 years ago (2016)
Website torontowolfpack.com
Current details
Ground(s)
Coach Paul Rowley
Captain Josh McCrone
Competition Championship
Rugby football current event.png Current season
Records
League 1 1st (2017)
Championship 1st (2018)
Most capped 38 - Adam Sidlow
Highest points scorer 436 - Craig Hall

Toronto Wolfpack RLFC is a Canadian professional rugby league club, based in Toronto, which competes in the British Rugby Football League system. In 2018 the club is competing in the Championship, having begun to play in 2017 in League 1 and won a promotion in its inaugural season.[1] The club is noted as being the first North American team to play in the Rugby Football League system, the first fully professional rugby league team in Canada and the world's first transatlantic rugby league team.[2][3][4][5][6][7][note 1]

History[edit]

The Toronto Wolfpack taking the field against the London Broncos in the Challenge Cup at the Trailfinders Sports Ground in Ealing in March 2017

2014–2016: Origins and foundation[edit]

The Rugby Football League first received an application from a Canadian consortium based in Toronto, led by the Chairman of the national governing body Canada Rugby League Eric Perez, in 2014 to compete in the United Kingdom's third tier of professional rugby league.[14] Perez was denied permission to join the first-tier Super League directly, and instead attempted to build the club up to the point where it can be promoted.[15][16] A press conference was held on 27 April 2016 at which details on the franchise, which began to play in 2017, were revealed.[17][18] The team will be the first professional rugby league team to be based in Canada.[18] A group of 10 businessmen, consisting of mostly Canadians and an Australian mining millionaire David Argyle, own the club,[19][20] having paid around $500,000 to be granted admission to the league.[21] A condition for the team to join the British rugby league system was that they would be responsible for covering travel and accommodation expenses incurred for all visiting teams outside of the first division Super League.[21]

It was suggested that it was an attractive market as Canada has the largest amount of rugby league followers outside of Australia, France, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.[22][23] The club plans to play in blocks of four home matches, four away matches, and cover all expenses for visiting teams throughout the season.[24][25]

The Wolfpack held tryouts in five cities across North America starting September 24; those were: Philadelphia, Tampa, Kingston, Vancouver, and Toronto itself. From these tryouts 18 athletes were selected to take part in a tour in England, culminating in a victorious game against an amateur club, the Brighouse Rangers. Three players won professional contracts with the Wolfpack following the tour, with another round of tryouts to be held in Toronto in the following few months for the unsuccessful trialists.[26]

The Toronto Wolfpack owns rights to all broadcasts of their matches. In Canada games are broadcast on CBC Live and on Game TV,[27] in the USA games are broadcast on Eleven Sports, and in the UK and Ireland Premier Sports broadcasts through the Sky Network.

2017–present: First seasons[edit]

On 22 January 2017, The Wolfpack played their first professional game, a pre-season friendly against Hull at the KCOM Stadium. The final score was 26–20 in favour of Hull.[28] The club played its first competitive match on the 25th of February 2017, resulting in a 14–6 victory in the third round of the Challenge Cup against the amateur NCL champions: Siddal.[29]

On the 4th of March 2017, Toronto played its first League 1 match, away at London Skolars. They won the match 76–0.[30] Their first home match was played on 6 May 2017, where they defeated Oxford in front of 6,281 fans at Lamport Stadium.[31]

The Wolfpack would go on to have a successful campaign, winning all fifteen of their regular season matches and five out of seven playoff games. The Wolfpack finished the season with 41 points from 22 games and points difference of +921.

Promotion to the Championship, and the Kingston Press League 1 Title, was secured on 9 September 2017 with the Wolfpack defeating Barrow Raiders 26–2 in front of 7,972 spectators.

They closed the season on 16 September 2017 with a win against Doncaster. This game also drew a record attendance of 8,456.

The following season saw continued success by the Wolfpack; winning the league leaders shield in the championship competition, and a season that has seen a 17 game winning streak as of July 14th. [32]

Stadium[edit]

Lamport Stadium based in the Liberty Village neighbourhood of Toronto.

The team's home stadium is Lamport Stadium in Toronto, which is known as The Den for Toronto matches. The stadium seats 9,600.[18] The stadium was opened in 1975 and has an artificial field. In addition to rugby, it has also hosted soccer and lacrosse.[14] The team signed a three-year lease.[33]

Home games have also been held at Fletcher's Fields in Markham, Ontario and New River Stadium in London, England.

Logistics[edit]

As most players on the roster are not from Toronto, the team stays at the George Brown College residence in West Don Lands that is the former site of the 2015 Pan American Games Athletes' Village and trains at Lamport Stadium. Away teams stay at York University residence[34] and train on York University athletic facilities. Through a sponsorship deal with Air Transat, the team covers the travel and accommodation cost for all of the away teams.[35] Toronto Wolfpack continues to cover expenses for the visiting teams in the 2018 season.[36]

Toronto signed an agreement with Brighouse Rangers to share their training ground for pre-seasons and while the Wolfpack are in the UK for away fixtures for 2017.[37] At the end of the 2017 season the Wolfpack confirmed their intention to switch to a base in Manchester, England, during the 2018 season, and in 2018 announced the deepening of their partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University and its community.[38] Manchester now serves as the Wolfpack's home in the United Kingdom.

Media[edit]

Toronto Wolfpack games are broadcast on Canadian speciality channel GameTV, with further digital rights extended to CBC Sports with games streamed on the CBC Sports website. Matches are also archived on the Toronto Wolfpack YouTube Channel.

All Toronto Wolfpack games are broadcast live in the UK on Premier Sports which reaches 11 million homes across the Sky Network. In the USA Eleven Sports send broadcasts into 50 million homes.

There are agreements in place to broadcast the 2018 season in China, Brazil and Australia.

Kit sponsors and manufacturers[edit]

Year Kit Manufacturer Main Shirt Sponsor
2017–2019 Kappa Air Transat

2018 squad[edit]

2018 Toronto Wolfpack
First Team Squad Coaching staff

Head coach

Assistant coaches


Legend:
  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice captain(s)

Updated: 11 July 2018
Source(s): [39]

Staff[edit]

Coaching staff[edit]

Position Staff
Head coach England Paul Rowley
Assistant coach Ireland Simon Finnigan
Assistant coach Ireland Kurt Haggerty
Head of strength and conditioning Ireland Bob Beswick

Management Staff[edit]

Position Staff
Owner Australia David Argyle, et al
Director of Rugby England Brian Noble
Founder Canada Eric Perez
General Manager - Commercial Australia Scott Lidbury

Captains[edit]

Coaching register[edit]

Records[edit]

Individual Records[edit]

  • Drop Goals In A Match: 1, Ryan Brierley vs Dewsbury Rams, 15 April 2018
  • Goals In A Match: 13, Craig Hall vs Donaster RFLC, 9 April 2017
  • Tries In A Match: 5, Liam Kay vs York City Knights, 1 July 2017
  • Points In A Match: 38, Craig Hall vs Hemel Stags, 15 July 2017
  • Drop Goals In A Season: 1, Ryan Brierley, RFL Championship 2018
  • Goals In A Season: 170, Craig Hall, League 1 2017
  • Tries In A Season: 27, Liam Kay, League 1 2017
  • Points In A Season: 436, Craig Hall, League 1 2017

Team Records[edit]

  • Biggest win:
82–6 v. Doncaster colours.svg Doncaster (9 April 2017)
  • Biggest loss:
66-10 v. Wolvescolours.svg Warrington Wolves (13 May 2018)

Attendance Records[edit]

  • Highest attendance:
8,546 v. Doncaster colours.svg Doncaster (at Lamport Stadium, 16 September 2017)

Honours[edit]

Winners: 2018
Winners: 2017

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ While they have been described as the world's first trans-Atlantic professional sports team,[8][9][10] there are earlier examples of teams participating in trans-Atlantic competitions such as the World League of American Football,[11] and Super Rugby.[12][13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bower, Aaron (27 April 2016). "Toronto Wolfpack to enter League One next season, RFL announces". Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  2. ^ "Toronto Wolfpack: Meet the first transatlantic rugby league team". BBC. 24 February 2017. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  3. ^ "Toronto Wolfpack cross the Atlantic for rugby league home opener". CBC Sports. 7 May 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2017. 
  4. ^ "Toronto Wolfpack to enter League One next season, RFL announces". Guardian. 27 April 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2017. 
  5. ^ "New boys Toronto Wolfpack are in for the long term". Yorkshire Evening Post. 21 December 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2017. 
  6. ^ "Can Toronto's English rugby league club teach NFL to cross Atlantic?". EPSN. 27 April 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2017. 
  7. ^ "New York team managed by former Bradford and St Helens coach Mick Potter sets sights on Super League". Daily Mail. 26 August 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2017. 
  8. ^ "About the Team". Toronto Wolfpack. Archived from the original on 13 March 2017. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  9. ^ "Meet the Toronto Wolfpack, Canada's first professional rugby team". CBC. 25 February 2017. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  10. ^ "Trans-Atlantic rugby league trailblazers Toronto Wolfpack seek beauty in the Halifax beast". The Telegraph. 24 February 2017. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  11. ^ Stellino, Vito (7 April 1991). "WLAF attendance surpassing early hopes in Europe and Canada". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  12. ^ "¡Bienvenidos a Super Rugby Jaguares" (Press release). SANZAR. 17 December 2015. Archived from the original on 13 March 2017. Retrieved 13 March 2017. 
  13. ^ "Jaguares start with historic win". SANZAAR. 27 February 2016. Retrieved 27 February 2016. 
  14. ^ a b "Canadians seek to join League One in 2016 - Rugby League News, Forum & Features". 13 October 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  15. ^ "Canadian team to join English rugby league setup". ESPN. 2016-04-24. Retrieved 2016-04-26. 
  16. ^ Proszenko, Adrian (2016-04-21). "Canadian team to play in UK next year as part of Super League bid". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2016-04-26. 
  17. ^ "TORONTO ANNOUNCED AS HOME TO WORLD'S FIRST TRANSATLANTIC PROFESSIONAL SPORTS TEAM". Toronto Wolfpack. 2016-04-27. Archived from the original on 2016-05-02. Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  18. ^ a b c "Rugby Football League officials joined by Mayor John Tory to unveil team brand and league information". 2016-04-25. Archived from the original on 2016-04-26. Retrieved 2016-04-25. 
  19. ^ "New Toronto Wolfpack rugby league team won't divulge its ownership". Winnipeg Free Press. 2016-04-28. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  20. ^ Mohdin, Aamna (28 August 2017). "The future of sport is this Canadian rugby team that flies 3,500 miles to play in England". Quartz (publication). Retrieved 28 August 2017. 
  21. ^ a b Dixon, Ryan. "Running with the Wolves". Sportsnet. 
  22. ^ Bower, Aaron (7 May 2015). "Toronto-based rugby league team in talks to join England's League 1". Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  23. ^ "Canadians confident of being competitive in League One - Rugby League News, Forum & Features". 16 October 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  24. ^ Bower, Aaron (2016-04-27). "Toronto Wolfpack to enter League One next season, RFL announces". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  25. ^ "Barrie McDermott: Canadian team would boost League One". Sky Sports. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2016. 
  26. ^ "Tryouts". Toronto Wolfpack. 8 January 2017. 
  27. ^ Toronto Wolfpack sign TV deals in Canada and UK
  28. ^ Toronto Wolfpack impress in pre-season loss to Hull FC
  29. ^ Toronto Wolfpack win Challenge Cup tie at Siddal in first-ever match
  30. ^ Wolfpack dominate in their first league match
  31. ^ Toronto Wolfpack win ill-tempered home debut
  32. ^ [1]
  33. ^ Yuen, Jenny (2016-04-27). "Toronto to be first transatlantic team in Rugby Football League". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  34. ^ Davidson, Neil (2017-07-09). "Toronto Wolfpack foes enjoying free trips to Canada, but rugby league journeys taking their toll". Toronto Star. 
  35. ^ Davidson, Neil (2017-05-06). "Toronto Wolfpack win ill-tempered home debut". The Canadian Press. 
  36. ^ Campbell, Morgan (June 8, 2018). "Wolfpack have eyes on promotion to Super League as home season begins". Toronto Star. 
  37. ^ Rangers welcome Wolfpack
  38. ^ https://www2.mmu.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/story/7293/
  39. ^ "Player Profiles". torontowolfpack.com. Retrieved 11 July 2018. 

External links[edit]