Canada welcomes Coventry Bears
Canada welcomes the Bears!
This Saturday will see history being made as Coventry Bears play Toronto Wolfpack over in Canada [kick-off 9.30BST], a game being broadcast live on TV both sides of the Atlantic.
We believe this to be the first occasion a Coventry side has played a competitive league fixture on another continent, and it has come about from Toronto’s vision of Rugby League becoming a major sport across North America.
Toronto Wolfpack are aiming for the top, and that has tobe Super League, but they have to start somewhere,and they have joined League 1 where the Bears are now in their third season.
And they are taking it by storm, with a galaxy of full-time professional recruits from across the globe who not only remain undefeated, but thrashed the team in second place by 70-2.
And their crowds are already reaching 8,000 as Torontonians take the team and the game to their hearts.
So, this will not be a picnic for the Bears, but they hope to benefit,enjoy and learn from the experience.
Coach Tom Tsang spoke of the trip;
‘We are all very excited about the trip to Canada. We have been watching the Wolfpack's entry into the league and impressive progression through the first half of the season with interest and can only applaud how they are selling the sport overseas and bringing in new audiences to the greatest game.
We at the Bears are doing something similar in the Midlands, albeit on more modest budgets, but we embrace any venture that is looking to spread the Rugby League gospel.
Clearly it will be very difficult for us; one look at the league table and playing form will show that there is a gap between us and Toronto, added to that the travel and acclimatization required of my semi-professional players and the cards are very obviously stacked against us.
However, we will go there and give it our best and make sure to make the most of the experience and really enjoy ourselves.
We have three players unavailable for the trip, plus some late fitness checks on three others, but other than that, the lads are healthy and raring to go.’
Bears 19 man squad for the trip to Toronto:
1. Harry Chapman
2. Mikey Russell
3. Tommy Briarley
4. Eddie Medforth
5. Jamahl Hunte
6. Billy Gaylor
7. Brad Delaney
8. James Geurtjens
9. Jay Lobwein
10. Alex Beddows
11. Kieran Sherratt
12. Chris Barrett
13. Matt Reid
14. Hayden Freeman
15. Liam Thompson
16. Dan Gover
17. Paddy Jones
18. Jack Morrison
19. Joe Prior
Note for the diary; The Bears will be back on UK soil and roaring to go in their next home game on Sunday June 11th at the Butts Park Arena kick off 3pm versus Hemel Stags.