Skip to main content

It appears Ottawa will wait until 2021 to field its new rugby-league team.

Eric Perez, founder and the first chief executive officer of the Toronto Wolfpack, has already received the green light from the governing body of English rugby league to move the Hemel Stags.

Perez heads a Canadian consortium that acquired the Stags franchise in the hope of moving it to Ottawa. Hemel withdrew from the third-tier League 1 for the 2019 season with an eye initially to returning in 2020.

“It’s not 100-per-cent certain, but it’s pretty much we’re going to start in 2021,” Perez said Monday.

“To do it properly and to make sure that we have enough time to meet our business objectives, personally, I think that 2021 is the best move,” he added.

The Ottawa team, which will start in League 1 as the Wolfpack did in its inaugural season in 2017, is slated to play at TD Place Stadium.

The Wolfpack won promotion to the second-tier Championship in 2017, narrowly missing out on graduating to the elite Super League last year. Toronto currently tops the Championship table at 21-1-0.

Perez’s ownership group is working with the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), which owns the CFL’s Redblacks, OHL’s 67’s and USL Championship’s Ottawa Fury FC (USL). OSEG also manages the TD Place Stadium and Arena.

The Stags made their debut in 1981 in Hemel Hempstead, located 35 kilometres northwest of London.

Now prepping the Ottawa franchise, Perez said he will step down from the Wolfpack’s board of directors while maintaining a minority ownership role. David Argyle, a Toronto-based Australian entrepreneur, heads up the Wolfpack ownership group.

In addition to Toronto, the Rugby Football League currently has two French clubs in the Catalan Dragons (in the Super League) and Toulouse Olympique (in the Championship).

Rugby league is the 13-man version of the game, distinct from 15-man rugby union.

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe