The Canada Co-Operative Championship Rugby League (CCCRL) was formed on Monday. This league is a grassroots organization as well as a professional league for both men and women in Canada. It is also the world’s first cooperatively owned sports league.
The new Canada Co-Operative Championship Rugby League
The Canada Co-Operative Championship Rugby League was revealed on Monday. In the video, they described themselves as the “world’s first cooperatively owned professional rugby league organization.”
This means things like having “a sustainable business” and an “opportunity for all.” They also stated in the video that: “10 per cent of all profits go straight back into the grassroots to grow the next generation of players.”
Neil Davidson of The Canadian Press gives more detail about the league. The plan is to start with six-teams in 2023, with plans to increase it to 12 teams. Six of these teams would be men and the other six women. The representation of the teams will come from five provinces in Canada.
These provinces are Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. It is unclear which specific cities these teams will come from. However, there were three Canadian cities shown in the video, but it is unknown whether they will be one of the six chosen in 2023.
The game played will be the rugby league nines version of rugby league. This is instead of the standard 13-men/women on one team in a standard rugby league game.
The people behind the project
Davidson also gives information on the people involved. This includes the founder of the league, who is 37-year-old Chris Coates. He is an English native who is the coach of the Sheffield Forgers that plays in the Yorkshire Men’s League.
“I believe that the game really should be for everybody,” he said. “And I find it perplexing that so many people love the game but don’t want to see it grow outside its (northern England) heartlands.”
Coates is not the only one involved. There is also Toronto Wolfpack super fan Sandy Domingos-Shipley. She is a Toronto-native currently living in Leeds, England. According to Davidson, Coates began talking to other people about the Wolfpack and his co-op league idea including Domingos-Shipley.
“I was like ‘Right I’m helping you do this. I want this to work,'” said Domingos-Shipley, who is billed as the CCCRL co-founder and director of governance and compliance.
Domingos-Shipley also stated that the league will serve as a home for members of both the Canada Wolverines (men’s national team) and the Canada Ravens (women’s national team pictured above). This will be welcome news for the Ravens preparing for the Rugby World Cup this year.
The Ravens are going to make their second appearance in the Rugby Women’s World Cup in November 2021. Players will be paid on a pro-am model. Lastly, private equity will own 40 per cent of the league and the fans 60 per cent.
Overview of the new Canadian grassroots league
Promoting the birth of the league
2021 has begun as a promising year for rugby league news in Canada. This is something Canada needed after what happened in 2020. Most notably, the Wolfpack found themselves kicked out of Super League and the Ottawa Aces XIII deferred their season to 2022. There was also a lot of hype surrounding the league before it was revealed.
It's a new type of game#Trendsetters#TrailBlazers#TimetoPlayEH#ITSCOMING@Rogers @BBCSport @SportCanada_Fr @SportCanada_EN @JustinTrudeau @City_tv @SkySportsNews @YahooSports @RhysJacks @SherAndLil pic.twitter.com/lg7lAHq5zC
— CCCRL (@CAChampRL) February 19, 2021
Former Wolfpack player Rhys Jacks was just one of several people promoting the league. There were also other videos of people saying “It’s coming” since February 18. This included a video from a famous English celebrity, Boy George.
What this means for rugby league in Canada
What is even more important is their vision for both Canadian men’s and women’s rugby leagues. This is what CCC RL YouTube video said about this matter:
“A league where both men and women will be equal from day one.”
There are not many women’s sports leagues in Canada. There is also currently only one professional woman’s sports team in Canada. This is the Toronto Six, a National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) team. Lastly, promoting the women’s game in Canada will possibly allow the national team to compete against top teams in the world.
This is also a huge boost for the men’s side. It will give them a pathway to compete and hone their skills in a competitive environment. This will help the Wolverines when they face Jamaica and the USA. Both teams are ranked higher than Canada in the Americas according to International Rugby League.
It is unclear what this means for both the Aces and the Wolfpack. The Aces are currently interested in starting their League 1 season in 2022. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack are trying to make a comeback.
Toronto Wolfpack are planning a return to the field THIS YEAR as Brian McDermott warns the club is 'dormant, not dead'. https://t.co/LxVPG9fikK
— Matthew Shaw (@M_Shaw1) January 14, 2021
Toronto’s head coach, Brian McDermott aims to bring back the Wolfpack into the RFL (Rugby Football League) structure, most likely in League 1. They hope to promote interest by playing an exhibition game at Lamport Stadium later this year.
Plans for the CCCRL in 2022 and 2023
Overall, this league is massive news for Canada. The CCCRL will be the first-ever professional rugby league for both men and women in the Americas. It gives Canada a distinct advantage over the rest of the Americas in the sport of rugby league.
According to James Gordon of Love Rugby League, the league intends to have a short-form competition in 2022 at Lamport Stadium. They will then have a full league that commences in 2023.