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New Major League Rugby Franchise Announced

Chicago will have the newest team in the American professional league

Earlier this week, Major League Rugby (MLR) announced the name, logo, and ownership group for their new franchise in Chicago.

The new franchise will be called the Chicago Hounds.

The Hounds will start the 2023 season playing in the league's Western Conference. Their home field will be at SeatGeek Stadium a 20,000 seat stadium that has current tenants in the NWSL's Chicago Red Stars, and Chicago Fire II minor league soccer team.

"We are thrilled to add the Chicago Hounds to Major League Rugby for the 2023 season,” said MLR Commissioner George Killebrew in the team's initial press conference. “Chicago is one of the best sports towns in North America and we couldn’t be happier to be part of the competitive landscape. Rugby has a long-time tradition in the city and throughout Northern Illinois and we look forward to growing the game even further.”

“This is a special day for all of us,” said James English, Chicago MLR CEO and former Rugby New York GM. “This organization plans to continue growing the game of rugby at the grassroots level here in Chicago and build a fanbase that can be proud of the way our team operates and competes.”

The ownership group leading the franchise's efforts include Matt Satchwell (Chicago attorney), Phil Groves (President, DAC Management), and Rob and Dave Kearney (Irish rugby legends). The group is deeply committed to rallying Chicago’s community spirit to establish rugby as America’s next great sporting pastime.

The Hounds will be lead by Head Coach Sam Harris, former coach of the Austin Gilgronis (AGs), in their inaugural season. Coach Harris made the transition when the AGs could not find a new owner after their previous owner, Adam Gilchrest, faced bankruptcy from his fitness empire. MLR decided that the AGs and LA Giltinis would suspend operations beginning in 2023. MLR will continue to help grow the LA and Austin markets while they wait for new ownership by relaunching Rookie Rugby and establishing rugby clubs in local community colleges.

With the two former franchise gone, the Hounds are looking to make quite the splash in their debut season. To see their schedule, click here.


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