When Canadian businessman Eric Perez signalled his ambition to enter Canada’s first professional rugby league team into the British league system back in 2014, few believed that his idea would actually come to fruition.

However, five years and two promotions later, Toronto Wolfpack have embarked on their first season within the Betfred Super League, the top flight of the British rugby league, and even boast legendary cross-code New Zealand star Sonny Bill Williams amongst their ranks.

After attracting investment from a host of businessman, including Australian mining millionaire David Argyle, the club set about their journey to the game’s pinnacle by entering League 1 in 2017.

Although the club have enjoyed a swift rise to the Super League, it is their acquisition of Williams that has caught the eye.

Recruiting a player of his calibre just three years into their existence has truly signalled Toronto’s intent. They might be newcomers to the division, but Toronto will have hopes of at least emulating Catalans Dragons’ 2018 Challenge Cup win, if not of surpassing it, in the form of a Super League title.

Williams’ unveiling was a flagship moment in itself though; the event was held at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and attracted coverage from a host of news organisations around the world.

After becoming the highest-paid player in the history of both rugby codes, Williams said: “The club has big ambitions and big goals. I want to be part of all this and do all I can to help reach those lofty goals.”

Whilst results might not have gone in favour of the Wolfpack yet, Argyle and the club’s hierarchy will fully appreciate the time required in order to make Toronto an established side in the top flight.

The club have laid foundations for the future after recently agreeing a partnership with Hopwood Hall College in Rochdale. The deal sees the club utilise the college’s sports facilities when the team are in the UK, whilst also providing them with a first-hand pick of Hopwood’s emerging rugby league talent.

Additionally, as part of the arrangement, Toronto have also forged a link with the town’s rugby league side, Rochdale Hornets.

Aside from their work in the UK, at home, the club have recently developed their Lamport Stadium, as well as securing a deal with the Holiday Inn at the city’s international airport which will act as a base for all visiting teams this season.

Perfecting off-the-field logistics has long been one of Toronto’s biggest struggles, but after attracting an average attendance of over 7,800 in 2019, it’s clear to see that Canada, and Toronto itself, does have a real appetite for the sport and that there’s an avenue for the club to grow.

Despite only being in their first Super League season, Toronto have acted as a trailblazer for transatlantic rugby league. Founding member Perez has also voiced his intention to relocate the Hemel Stags to Canada’s capital, Ottawa, in 2021, whilst a bid from a consortium has also been launched to take rugby league to New York and UCFB study hub location, the Red Bull Arena.

Although these proposed franchises could be considered as risks, one thing that is guaranteed is that if Toronto manage to enjoy any success in the coming years, then the future will be very, very bright for rugby league in North America.