Toronto, already a haven for major professional sports franchises, is now bringing international rugby into the fold.
The new expansion club, the first in Canada to join the Europe-based Rugby Football League, will be named the Toronto Wolfpack and play its home games at Lamport Stadium in the city’s Liberty Village neighbourhood.
“It’s a massive feather in the cap for the City of Toronto,” said Toronto Wolfpack CEO and founder Eric Perez during the announcement Wednesday. “It’s an honour to bring this team to our city.”
The club, which will begin play in the 2017 season, is being touted as the world’s first major transatlantic professional sports team.
Perez said a number of tryouts will be held across North America to attract top-end rugby talent, although a good portion of the players will also come from the United Kingdom.
“We’ll promise a team that will bring the best kept secret of rugby league over to Canada and entertain you in a special way with the brand that we’ll play,” said new head coach Paul Rowley.
The team will be placed in League 1, the third tier of rugby league in the United Kingdom, with plans to move up to the elite Super League by 2019.
VIDEO: New Toronto rugby team to recruit players from Canada, UK