It was confirmed in March that the Ottawa Aces would become the second Canadian city to boast a club in England’s storied RFL professional leagues.
The news came two years after a Canadian consortium purchased the RFL license owned by Hemel Stags, with the Aces taking a spot in League One from the 2021 season.
Unlike Toronto Wolfpack, Ottawa will get a share of the game’s central distribution funding having taken over the license of a registered RFL member club.
Headed up by Eric Perez, the same man who founded the Wolfpack, the Aces have left no stone unturned in making sure they are fully prepared for their first rugby league season.
Playing out of the impressive TD Place Stadium, located at the historic Lansdowne Park, Ottawa Aces will be in the heart of the Canadian capital at a stadium that boasts a 24,000 capacity.
There is no doubt the foundations of the club are looking strong off the pitch, and on it they have wasted no time in assembling a fearsome squad for their inaugural campaign.
First there was the announcement of Laurent Frayssinous as head coach, with the Frenchman providing Super League experience having coached Catalans Dragons from 2007 to 2012.
Then a whole host of signings have followed, 15 in total, all of whom are listed below…
Louis Jouffret (Featherstone Rovers) – The 24-year-old French international half-back became the club’s first signing in late July, arriving from Featherstone.
Tom Gilmore (Halifax RLFC) – Former Widnes playmaker Gilmore, 26, became Ottawa’s second signing at the start of August, underlining the club’s intent.
Matty Fozzard (London Broncos) – The 25-year-old Welsh international hooker was signing number three, another impressive capture having become one of London’s best players.
Ted Chapelhow (Widnes Vikings) – Part one of the powerhouse twin duo, Ted comes in from Widnes and will add brute force to the Aces pack for their inaugural season.
James Chapelhow (Widnes Vikings) – Part two in the shape of James, also arriving from Widnes, and much like his twin brother he will provide valuable go-forward.
Sam Wilde (Widnes Vikings) – Former Warrington man Wilde, 24, is an energetic back-rower who has played in a Super League Grand Final and has his best years ahead of him.
Pat Moran (Widnes Vikings) – Following a similar path to Wilde, Irish international prop Moran has great potential and also arrives in Ottawa via Warrington and Widnes.
Gavin Marguerite (Catalans Dragons) – One to get fans off their seats, electrifying French back Marguerite comes in from Catalans after scoring 50 tries in 75 games for Toulouse.
Ellis Robson (Warrington Wolves) – The hard-working loose-forward is only 21 and recently made his Super League debut for Warrington, following loan spells at Widnes, Dewsbury and Rochdale.
Declan O’Donnell (Workington Town) – Providing another option at hooker, O’Donnell came through the academy at Wigan before signing for Leigh and more recently Workington.
Sam Luckley (Newcastle Thunder) – Front-rower Luckley has been a consistent performer at Newcastle for almost five years and is another solid signing for the Aces.
Olly Ashall-Bott (London Broncos) – The highly-rated back broke on the Super League scene at Widnes in 2018 and despite numerous injury problems, he still has huge potential.
Jack Johnson (Widnes Vikings) – Providing yet more top-flight experience, Johnson is a solid full-back who made 18 Super League appearances for Warrington prior to stints at Featherstone and Widnes.
Clement Boyer (Toulouse Olympique) – Signing number 14 came in the shape of French front-rower Boyer, a consistent performer with 110 appearances for Toulouse since 2016.
Calvin Wellington (Workington Town) – A player who has switched codes throughout his youth, Wellington is a pacey Welsh winger and became Ottawa’s latest signing on Wednesday (Sep 9).
As well as the signings above, the club will be holding an elite level combine / tryout in Ottawa when Covid-19 restrictions are fully lifted.
It is expected the Aces will look to field a number of Canadian players throughout their first few professional seasons, with the aim to build a strong home-grown foundation at the club.