The Ontario Arrows are still in their infancy but have been quietly busy behind the scenes preparing for 2018. A sudden and somewhat abbreviated introduction saw the new privately-funded high performance team take the field for the first time against the Glendale Merlins (aka Raptors) at Infinity Park in September. It would be their only fixture of 2017 but more are on the way in the spring.
Already confirmed was a friendly against the Houston SaberCats of Major League Rugby in Sugar Land, Texas, on March 3. The Arrows have also arranged matches against the Utah Warriors, another MLR franchise, and a new team in New York, with dates and venues yet to be finalised. At least two more fixtures will be added to the spring schedule with others possible for later in the year following the June test window and Canadian Rugby Championship.
A new logo has been unveiled with an arrowhead representing the Ontario First Nations front and centre, a jet stream and outline for the Avro Arrow, and a silhouette of the Toronto skyline. The latter is an interesting addition given the team is currently retaining its ‘Ontario’ branding though a change to the city name in the future would seem closer in line with other professional sports models.
Also announced is a an invitational combine, aka talent identification session, planned for Saturday, December 2. Expected to attend are a number of CRC reps from both the Ontario Blues and Atlantic Rock franchises, with others from the Prairie Wolf Pack and BC Bears also possible. The combine is not solely restricted to regional level players, however, with an application process for other local or international players outlined in a release that can be seen below.
Players who have NOT previously been part of a Canadian Rugby Championship team and who wish to be evaluated for the Arrows program are asked to send a current rugby CV, along with supporting video clips and a letter from a current coach, to Mark Winokur (email@example.com) by November 16, 2017. You must be registered with a club or Rugby Canada and possess valid health insurance to participate.
Players from outside Canada must provide proof of insurance in their application. Those players who are then invited to participate will be notified by November 23. There will be a one time $20 fee to participate which includes an Arrows training shirt.