New Canadian semi-pro league is unveiled


AFTER weeks of being teased by everyone from Rhys Jacks to Boy George, the new semi-professional competition in Canada has been launched.
Sheffield-based tech industry professional Chris Coates and Leeds-domiciled Toronto Wolfpack superfan Sandy Shipley have been revealed as leading forces behind six-team men’s and women’s Nines competitions which are slated to begin in 2022.
A media release describes the league as the first fan-owned professional league in the world. Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta will each be represented.
Explaining the administrative structure, the release said: “Based out of Toronto, the co-operative with the support of the Ontario Co-Operative Association will employ over 100 employees from players to backroom staff, to broadcasting and production.
“Founded in 2020, its primary mission is to deliver professional rugby league in Canada and in turn support the national growth of the sport by direct re-investment of a portion of profits back into the CRL. As a co-operative league it will be publicly owned with dividends going back to its members. “
The new competition has the support of Canada’s governing body, the CRLA, which is still seeking government recognition as a separate sport to rugby union.
In-depth coverage of the new league coming up at



  1. This is good news, and hopefully they learn from the mistakes of Toronto Wolfpack which Ottawa Aces seems too eager to replicate. They need to include domestic players, that is the only way for the sport to actually grow and for it to receive mainstream media coverage in Canada outside of some online articles which nobody sees other than those looking for it.

    Comparing RL to basketball to justify not having domestics was an absolute fallacy. Basketball was already a well-known sport in Canada and everyone knew what the NBA was so getting a following was not hard. Furthermore, Canadians and Americans have similar culture and accents, whereas a bunch of Brits and Aussies sound completely foreign. You can’t pretend it’s comparable at all.

    Wolfpack’s promotion in their first year was good. They updated their YT channel frequently, and even had a reality show following the club. Then in their second to fourth years, there was no reality show which is fine but they hardly updated their YT channel either. They abandoned trying to use social media and marketing to get new fans, but it made no sense. When they won their Championship title, they got no mainstream coverage. I guarantee you if they had Canadians on the team, they would have been invited to come on talk radio shows to talk about their win. This is why you need domestic players because it creates greater interest and need for coverage.


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