Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Chad Bain Joins the Pro Ranks.
Chad Bain is making history.
The Belleville native and Quinte Secondary School graduate has become the first-ever Ontario player to sign with the expansion Toronto Wolfpack professional rugby league team. The club announced the signing Monday.
Eric Perez, CEO of the Wolfpack, who'll open their inaugural season in May in Toronto, said Bain is a solid addition to the fledgling club.
"I’m really pleased to welcome Chad to the team,” said Perez. “He worked really hard and has proven to us that he has what it takes to contribute to the squad, and it’s even better that he is a native of our province of Ontario. Chad is the first Ontario domestic player to be signed by the Wolfpack, and is a perfect example of the growth of rugby league in this province.
"We're eager to grow the sport in our region, and it’s players like Chad who're helping us lead the way.”
Bain, a six-foot, 265-pound prop, participated in open tryouts for the Wolfpack held across North America last summer and was among only 18 finalists invited to participate in a trial match in December in England. The Wolfpack hopefuls defeated semi-pro rugby league club, Brighouse Rangers, 28-26, and Bain was named Man of the Match after leading the Toronto tackle count.
The 24-year-old Bain said he was thrilled to officially join the Wolfpack.
"It's been a crazy 24 hours,” he said. “I still can't believe it. There's no other club I'd rather play for. Not only am I representing Toronto, but I'm representing Canada as a whole.
"I appreciate everyone who's supported me. This is the start of something big for rugby league in Canada and around the world and I'm glad to be part of it.”
Bain played junior and senior rugby for the Belleville Bulldogs before being introduced to rugby league through an Ontario domestic competition. Rugby league features 13 players per side, as opposed to 15 in rugby union, with other technical differences.
Bain went on to play for the Canadian national rugby league team — the Wolverines — including at a World Cup qualification tournament in Florida.
Wolfpack officials, in a press release, said Bain brings “rugby league experience alongside his impressive size, speed and strength” to the Toronto club.
Brian Noble, the Wolfpack's director of rugby, said Bain earned his opportunity with the club through grit and determination.
"I'm so thrilled that Chad is continuing his rugby career with the Wolfpack,” said Noble. “He joins an elite program with elite players and thoroughly deserves his place at the top table. Throughout the trials he has excelled at overcoming obstacles, and like his playing style, has smashed them out of the way.
"Now the hard work begins."
Bain’s first official match with the Wolfpack will take place on Jan. 22 in an exhibition match against Hull FC, in the U.K.
Beginning in May, the Wolfpack become the first-ever trans-Atlantic team to play in the English Rugby Football League (ERFL). They'll play home games at Lamport Stadium in the ERFL's Third Division, which is two steps below the Super League — the NHL of rugby league.
The Wolfpack have already signed the bulk of their roster, featuring a mix of veteran and up-and-coming professionals, mostly from the U.K. Bain is among a select group of developmental players who'll each make their debut as professionals this year.
Need to know: Bain is the third Canadian-born prospect to be signed by the Wolfpack.
Note: Chad Bain began his football career with the Belleville Minot Football League. Several local players have gone on to play professional sports from the Belleville Minor Football League.