Major League Rugby announced its first-ever Collegiate Draft to be held on June 13 and 14, 2020.
Subsequently, the Toronto Arrows announced on April 11 that they will not participate in the draft based on the differences in development pathways between Canada and the U.S.
A full statement of the Arrows release is below.
With Major League Rugby recently announcing that its inaugural Collegiate Draft will be held on June 13 and 14, 2020, the Toronto Arrows Rugby Football Club supports the league and fellow member clubs in the creation of this player identification and development initiative.
While the club agrees that the upcoming Collegiate Draft offers another positive step for MLR as it builds towards its fourth season in 2021, the organization can confirm that it will not be participating in the 2020 draft.
“Our organization was founded on an overarching strategic goal — one that’s shared by the entire Arrows ownership group and staff — to improve the caliber of our Canadian men’s national teams,” Arrows Vice-President and General Manager Mark Winokur. “At the highest level, we want our growth to lead to more reps, better preparation, better performance, and more competition for our national team athletes.”
“The development pathways are very different between our two countries, and what works in the United States with a national collegiate system and 12 American-based teams to draft is very different from what works here in Canada, where young players are already on a number of different development pathways.
“Our club has developed identification academies, highlighted by our Arrows Academy, which currently trains 32 young athletes from 10 different post-secondary institutions across two provinces. The non-residential Academy operates in two main training areas, with hubs located in Kingston (East) and Guelph (West). We are also working closely with Rugby Canada in supporting and participating in its rejuvenated Pacific Pride academy, which launched in 2019 and saw four Arrows train in its program.
“In addition, there can be significant hurdles for young Canadian players trying to navigate the US immigration system, which was a major factor in the league’s determination that Canadian athletes will not eligible for consideration in the 2020 draft; challenges with obtaining visas and permits have the potential to hinder development for young Canadians looking to break into the league.
“We want the best young Canadian players to have as many opportunities to develop their game as possible, and our club will continue to build those out here in Canada.”
For all players wanting to express an interest in trying out / playing for the Toronto Arrows, please email your rugby CVs to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upon submission of your rugby CV, Toronto Arrows staff will contact you if any opportunities arise.