Laurent Frayssinous will be the Ottawa Aces’ first-ever head coach. The former Catalan Dragons head coach and player has not been involved with the game of rugby league since 2017.
Now though, he has the opportunity to grow the game of rugby league in Canada’s capital city Ottawa, and in the province of Quebec. There are a few big reasons why Laurent Frayssinous was chosen. This includes his experience and his ability to speak both French and English.
Laurent Frayssinous is the Ottawa Aces’ First-Ever Head Coach
— Ottawa Aces (@ottawaaces) July 2, 2020
Frayssinous’ experience with the Catalan Dragons will prove to be helpful. He was part of their first-ever Super League season in 2006. With the Dragons, he played 19 games, scoring four tries and 37 goals for 90 points in total.
He was also their head coach from 2013-17. From 2013-16, Frayssinous’ team was able to keep the Dragons above the bottom four teams in Super League. The highest position the Catalan Dragons had during Frayssinous’ time was sixth in 2016. In total, he was a Super League coach for five years.
He had a winning percentage of 47% with the Catalan Dragons. Laurent Frayssinous coached in 139 games. He won 66 games, lost 67, and tied in six rugby league games. This is what Eric Perez said about how important his experience was according to Rugby Football League:
“Super important because Laurent saw that transition as a player, then as an assistant, and then as a head coach. He’s seen it from all the levels.”
A coach with a wealth of experience, Frayssinous will be a huge asset for the Ottawa Aces XIII organization.
Frayssinous’ Ability to Speak Both English and French
Good Fit for the Canadian Capital
While it is not mandatory for a head coach to speak both English and French in Ottawa, it is certainly a big plus. According to the 2016 Statistics Canada census (based on the census subdivision), 59.5% of people living in Ottawa speak English. This is while only 1.37% of people in Ottawa just speak French.
However, the number of people in Ottawa who speak both English and French is much larger. In fact, 37.63% of people in Ottawa speak both English and French according to Statistics Canada. It is also right beside Quebec, which is a province in Canada that predominately speaks French as their first language.
Communicating with fans in both English and French will be important in maximizing the sports market in Canada’s capital. There are no professional rugby teams (either league or union) currently in Quebec. So Ottawa has a great chance of making Quebec part of the Aces’ fanbase. This includes the second biggest city in Canada, which is Montreal.
Growing the Game in Ottawa and Quebec
When the Ottawa Aces XIII was formally introduced in March, this is what Perez said according to BBC Sport:
“Our plan is to develop a full academy to help players play in the league in general, whether it’s here or across the league.”
An academy is obviously a big deal and it will help in growing the game in Canada. This fall, the Ottawa Aces XIII is planning to award up to ten contracts to players (according to LeagueUnlimited.Media) who participate in the Canadian try-out in Ottawa this fall.
Think you have what it takes to be a professional Rugby League player? The Ottawa Aces will be holding an elite level combine/tryout in the fall in Ottawa, exclusively for Canadian athletes. Send all enquiries, CV’s, and footage to [email protected] pic.twitter.com/Dsinp1btLL
— Ottawa Aces (@ottawaaces) April 23, 2020
Perez has visited Carleton University to check out the players according to Tim Baines of Postmedia. Lastly, there are plans to promote the game in the province of Quebec, which can be read in this previous article. There are right now three amateur leagues in Canada, which are in Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario.
There is however no amateur league in the province of Quebec, which Ottawa borders. This is what Perez, one of the founders of the Aces, said about growing the game according to the Howlin Hour podcast:
“Growing the game in Ontario and Quebec, through Ottawa.”
Having a coach like Laurent Frayssinous, who knows the game of rugby league can promote and improve the talent of rugby league in Quebec. Lastly, the birth of the Ottawa Aces XIII could mean the birth of a Quebec amateur league in rugby league.
He can also promote the game in a province where French is the most spoken language in the province of Quebec. According to Statistics Canada in 2016, 50% of people in the province of Quebec speak French. There is also 44.5% from Quebec who speaks both English and French, and only 4.6% speak English.
Laurent Frayssinous News Overview
This was inevitable, but a big step for the Ottawa Aces XIII. Laurent Frayssinous is the perfect head coach for the Ottawa Aces XIII. His mixture of experience and his ability to speak English and French makes him the perfect head coach for the Ottawa market. The person that should take credit for breaking this news is John Davidson, who broke the story out on Canada Day (July 1).
Tommorrow Ottawa Aces will announce their first head coach is to be Laurent Frayssinous, which I revealed back in March. A solid coach & a French-speaker, which should go down well with the Ottawa locals. He's been out of the coaching game since getting sacked by Catalans in 2017
— John Davidson (@johnnyddavidson) July 1, 2020
This will be the first of many announcements of the Ottawa Aces XIII that will come in the next few months. According to Tim Baines of Postmedia in the Ottawa Sun, 15-20 players are expected to sign with the Aces in the next few months. According to Tim Baines, Frayssinous already has some players in mind.
“Before COVID arrived, I watched all the League 1 and Championship games,” said Frayssinous. “I’ve got a lot of players in my mind. We want them to be the right players on the field and off the field.”
Many of these players are most likely going to be foreign players. However, there are two former Canada Wolverines rugby league players that the Aces could look at, who are Rhys Jacks (played for the Toronto Wolfpack in 2017) and Ryley Jacks (who currently plays for the Melbourne Storm).
This is an exciting time for Ottawa sports fans, even in the uncertain world of COVID-19. With the addition of the Aces among other sports teams, Ottawa has a chance to prove themselves as a sports-crazed market. The Ottawa Aces XIII is Canada’s second professional rugby league team and will look to start in League 1 next year.
“Main photo credit”