Toronto Arrows Will Not Compete In The 2024 Major League Rugby Season

Toronto Arrows Will Not Compete In The 2024 Major League Rugby Season

The Toronto Arrows will not play the 2024 Major League Rugby season, leaving Canadian Rugby without any professional club teams and leaving doubt over MLR.

Nov 28, 2023 by Philip Bendon
Toronto Arrows Will Not Compete In The 2024 Major League Rugby Season

In a significant development within the realm of North American rugby, Major League Rugby recently disclosed that the Toronto Arrows, a prominent contender at the highest echelon of the sport in North America, would cease operations immediately, opting out of the forthcoming 2024 MLR season. 

This decision, arrived at after extensive deliberation between MLR and the Arrows organization, was not a choice made lightly, signaling a poignant moment for Canadian Rugby and its fans.

Nic Benson, the chief executive officer of MLR, expressed profound gratitude for the Toronto Arrows' leadership, underscoring their unwavering dedication to fostering and expanding the reach of rugby in Canada. 

Despite the evident disappointment surrounding the Arrows' withdrawal, Benson reassured stakeholders that the vitality of MLR remains robust, with a firm commitment to exploring avenues that could see the return of a team to Canada in the future.

Tim Matthews, the general manager of the Toronto Arrows, conveyed the news with a palpable sense of regret, formally announcing the team's non-participation in the upcoming 2024 MLR season. 

Matthews shed light on the formidable challenge posed by the passing of Bill Webb, a figure integral to the club's identity, which, despite exhaustive efforts, proved insurmountable. 

In the spirit of the club's co-founder, the Arrows are actively collaborating with the league office and contracted players to navigate the intricate steps that follow such a significant decision.

The announcement undoubtedly has cast a shadow over the upcoming MLR season, prompting a reflection on the journey of the Toronto Arrows and their contributions to the sport in Canada. 

The team, known for its passionate fan base and competitive spirit, leaves an indelible mark on the rugby landscape.

As MLR grapples with the logistical intricacies of the transition, there is a commitment to transparency regarding player disbursement processes and a forthcoming update on the revised 2024 MLR schedule. 

Toronto Arrows, in a testament to their commitment to their supporters, pledged to share timely updates on ticket refunds in the coming weeks.

The loss of the Arrows will undeniably be felt next season, but there is optimism in the possibility of a future return, symbolizing a renewed chapter for the Arrows and their dedicated fanbase. 

In full the MLR announcement read as follows: 

“We’re deeply grateful to the leadership of the Toronto Arrows, who have cared so deeply about supporting and growing the game of rugby in Canada. Our immediate focus is on doing right by the Club and its players as operations wind down,” said Nic Benson, CEO of MLR. “While this news is unfortunate, and we feel for all individuals associated with the Arrows organization, the health of MLR remains strong, and we look forward to exploring options to bring a team back to Canada in the future."

Matthews also provided additional context.

“It is with heavy hearts we formally announce that the Arrows will not participate in the 2024 MLR season,” Matthews added. “Despite extensive efforts, carrying on following the passing of Bill Webb was simply too great a challenge for the club to overcome. We are working with the league office and contracted players regarding next steps – and in the spirit of the club’s co-founder, we are also working with partners regarding the Arrows Academy and the continued development of Canadian rugby talent. To our fans, friends, partners and the broader rugby community, thank you for your support over the years.”