Eric Perez unveils 2021 League 1 expansion team Ottawa Aces

RUGBY league’s second trans-Atlantic expansion team will be known as the Ottawa Aces with black and red their colours, it was announced at a media conference today.

Team chairman Eric Perez, the founder of the Toronto Wolfpack, was joined by RFL chairman Simon Johnson, British High Commissioner Susan Jane le Jeune d’Allegeershecque and Ontario minister for culture, sport and tourism Lisa MacLeod for the launch at TD Place sports complex.

Perez said that aside from fielding a team in the RFL’s League 1 next year, the Aces would set up an academy for Canadians which would produce players for other clubs as well as the new franchise.

“It’s a massive day for sports in the National Capital Region, in Ontario and Quebec, and in Canada as a whole,” said Perez, who timed the launch to coincide with Commonwealth Day.

“By approving our relocation to Ottawa the RFL has shown a firm commitment to advancing rugby league in Canada. We hope to build a sustainable legacy of winning, and some shiny silverware to TD Place Stadium.

“We’re starting in 2021, we’ll be in League 1 – just like the Toronto Wolfpack started in 2017 in League 1.

“Our goal is to one day do what they did and make it to Super League. We’ll do that with patience and hopefully with some home grown talent as well.”

Perez, who purchased the Hemel Stags licence and moved it to Canada, said it would carry on in England as an amateur “inclubator” for the Aces.

“Our plan is develop a full academy here for Canadians – not only on our roster but maybe even provide opportunities for Canadians to play in the League in general,” said Perez.

Edwards said he hoped some fans of the Aces would travel to England for the World Cup at the end of their debut season.

MacLeod said Ottawa had a strong history in rugby, with the first concussion legislation in Canadian law arising from a local game.

Jeune d’Allegeershecque said that post-Brexit, Britain’s relationship with Canada was “at the heart” of the way both countries see their future places in the world.

The club immediately established a YouTube channel, a Twitter account, a Facebook page and an Instagram account.

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