Eric Perez excited by Aces’ 2021 debut

Eric Perez says Ottawa Aces are on course and ready to go as excitement for their debut begins to pick up speed.

The Aces are set to enter the competition next year it what will be their inaugural season, with the club already announcing seven recruits for their maiden squad.

However, there have been some suggestions that challenges relating to Covid-19 could put their debut on the backburner, with training facilities on both continents, as well as flight and accommodation deals yet to be announced.

But when contacted by League Express, Perez cooled any fears surrounding their potential involvement and stated that they will be in action next year.

“As long as there is a competition next year Ottawa Aces will be in it,” Perez said.

“The situation is in hand, we’re ahead of where Toronto was at this time before their first season by a mile.

“We are crossing Ts and dotting Is on two big deals for training facilities on both sides of the pond, and we are working with universities to make sure these are world class. They’ll be a really top level for our guys and the visiting clubs’ coming to Canada.

“Accommodation is going to be good quality. Do we have a travel partner on the table? Yes. Can we announce it? No. Why? Because it’s a wider deal with a few other sports teams which we’ll announce in the fall.

We are really excited about it. Travel isn’t our biggest expense and the cost of travel is easily covered by our sponsors.”

Perez also eased any fears that the pandemic may prevent them from hosting games in Canada, and instead having to play from England all year.

“Covid-19 is seriously under control in Ontario, we are one of the most disciplined nations and it seems we’ve stuck together really well. I’m proud to be from here. Ottawa is determined to be in it next year. If this pandemic is still raging on and we can’t play in Ottawa, which I highly doubt, as I believe in science and humanity, we will figure out a way to play and make it profitable in the UK for a year. We already have a contingency plan in place for this scenario.”

Perez doesn’t work directly in recruitment but is excited by the team being assembled.

“I think what we’re doing is putting together a solid, hungry, younger team full of guys we want to move forward with through the years.

“They’ve come from top-level academies, and high-level Championship clubs, if you play with a club like Widnes or London Broncos you’re in a top-level set up.

“I can’t take any of the credit though, I leave pros to do what pros do. So the credit goes to Laurent. We’re also in talks with several Canadians and Covid depending we’ll have a trial for other Canadians to earn a contract too. I think if we had three to five in our 25 man squad that’s an achievement and a brilliant building block for the future. This will depend on many factors but it’s our goal.

“We’re not going to light the world on fire, we’re not guaranteed to win the league but we’ll be among the favourites for promotion.

“To me, Newcastle is still the favourite, they’ve done an unbelievable job, then watch out for Barrow and Donny, I think League 1 looks so exciting that it’s the perfect showcase for the sport for Ottawa and when Ottawans watch the matches they’ll see hard-nosed, exciting rugby that maybe you wouldn’t have seen five years ago in League 1.”

The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.