Chicago Hounds CEO James English (left) and head coach Sam Harris. (Supplied photo)

Chicago Hounds CEO James English (left) and head coach Sam Harris. (Supplied photo)

Major League Rugby coming to SeatGeek Stadium

Spread the love

Chicago Hounds expansion team to play games at Bridgeview facility

By Bob Bong

A new professional sports team will be playing its matches at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview next month.

The Chicago Hounds, an expansion team for Major League Rugby, will be calling Bridgeview home when they begin their inaugural season in February.

Chicago Hounds Rugby logo“We’re honored that the Hounds have chosen to call SeatGeek Stadium their home,” said Bridgeview Mayor Steve Landek. “They will be practicing in our dome and playing on our award-winning field, all of which fits into our long-range goal of making Bridgeview a good place to live, a destination for non-residents to enjoy, and a place that is home to successful businesses.”

The Hounds will be the 12th team in the league and will compete in MLR’s Western Conference, donning team colors of green and sky blue. Chicago will play its inaugural match on the road at Old Glory DC on Saturday, February 18. The team’s home opener at SeatGeek Stadium will be on Sunday, March 4, vs the Utah Warriors.

“We are thrilled to add the Chicago Hounds to Major League Rugby for the 2023 season,” said MLR Commissioner George Killebrew. “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.”

Led by longtime Chicago rugby players and fans Matt Satchwell and Phil Groves, the Chicago MLR Founders Group is deeply committed to rallying Chicago’s community spirit to establish rugby as America’s next great sporting pastime.

Satchwell, an attorney who also serves as Board Chair, has been playing rugby his entire life and for the past 20 years in Chicago.

Groves is president of DAC Management and a part team owner who has been playing with and sponsoring rugby teams in Chicago and around the world for years.

Hounds CEO James English led Rugby United New York to the semi-final in 2019 as their first GM, and Irish rugby legends Rob and Dave Kearney round out the Founders with their collective decades of world-class rugby on the pitch and civic leadership off the pitch.

It was not long after departing New York at the end of 2019 that English was first approached by investors interested in establishing an MLR team in Chicago. Those approaches never came to much but having done plenty of research and seeing the value of placing a side in such a sports-crazed city, two-and-a-half years later and now the Hounds are a reality.

“There have been a lot of groups that looked at Chicago, we are not the only ones,” English said. “They weren’t quite able to get it over the line.”

“This is a special day for all of us,” said English. “We are very excited to formally introduce the Chicago Hounds name, as well as our logo and team colors. 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.”

Sam Harris, 42, has been hired as the first head coach in the franchise’s history. He spent the previous two seasons as the Austin Gilgronis’ (AGs) head coach.

In 2021, Harris’ first year with Austin, he led the team to a 9-7 record, finishing third in the western conference. During the franchise’s previous three years competing in Major League Rugby, they amassed four wins total.

Harris’ team excelled in 2022 and Austin finished with a 12-4 record, ending the regular season as the best team in the western conference. The Gilgronis led all teams in Major League Rugby with a +246 point differential.

“As a kid, Chicago was always on my radar and I’ve always loved it as a city,” Harris said. “It’s not lost on me, the honor of being able to be the head coach that leads this great team into the MLR. We will have some good foreign talent that will add to this group. But this team will be about American talent, and growing American talent. We’ll find them. We’ll develop them. And we’ll expose them to high-level rugby.”

“Sam has a lot of qualities that you look for in a coach at this level,” said English. “His experience and what he accomplished during his time in Austin speak for themselves. We’re excited to be working with one of the top Head Coaches in Major League Rugby.”

Major League Rugby is entering its sixth season and represents the highest level of rugby competition in North America. The league started with seven teams in 2018 and now features 11 from the United States and one from Canada.

Matches are televised on Fox Sports, among other national and local market platforms. Select matches are available to stream live in North America on The Rugby Network, and all matches are available on The Rugby Network for international fans.

The Hounds will join the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League as full-time tenants at SeatGeek Stadium. The Chicago Fire men’s professional soccer team left Bridgeview a few years ago for Solder Field, but still play the occasional match at SeatGeek Stadium.

For more information about MLR, visit www.MajorLeague.Rugby

Local News

The Worth Public Library, 6917 W. 111th St., has a free Seed Library available to patrons. (Supplied photo)

Worth Library offers seeds for free

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White A seed library collects and stores seeds and shares them with members of the community for free. Similar to a normal library, gardeners borrow seeds from the seed library at planting time. At the end of the growing seasons, they save seeds from the plants and return a portion of…

Oak Lawn Mayor Terry Vorderer joins Girl Scout Gold Award winners (from left) Maddie DeBleyzer, Aine Kelly and Lilly O'Dea during the village board meeting on Tuesday night. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Paisans Pizza eyes May opening in Oak Lawn

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle Paisans Pizzeria is a step closer to opening in Oak Lawn with the approval of a liquor license for the establishment that will be part of the Stony Creek Promenade. Plans for the restaurant were originally approved at an Oak Lawn Village Board meeting in March of 2022. Tom Phelan,…

Palos Park resident Nick Hoffman said his patience is wearing out with noise and parking problems caused by the Palos Islamic Center.

Palos Park residents, mosque reps discuss noise issues at council meeting

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva What could have been an explosive situation was actually quite civil. Some Palos Park residents were angry about loud activity and behavior of some members of the Palos Islamic Center the past two years and sounded off at the April 8 village council meeting. Fresh on their minds was noise…

The Obbie’s Pizza sign will remain a familiar sight on Archer Avenue. Taking time out for a photo are new owner John Caputi; his son, Giovanni; and Obbie’s longtime managers, Jim Triak and Jeff Twaragowski. (Photo by Cosmo Hadac)

Comings & Goings: Obbie’s Pizza to stay ‘unique and delicious’

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Tim Hadac Archer Avenue’s long-time king of pizzerias will continue to rule. Same recipes at Obbie’s Pizza, 6654 W. Archer. Same pizza and ingredients. Same pasta, broasted chicken, shrimp, perch, Italian beef/sausage/meatball sandwiches, sides and pop. Same seasoned, Middleby Marshall pizza oven built in 1947—the type of pizza oven every restaurant owner…

stickney health district logo

Stickney Public Health confirms measles case in Bedford Park

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports The Stickney Public Health District has confirmed that a person with measles related to the ongoing situation in the City of Chicago was at the Walmart Supercenter at 7050 S. Cicero Ave. in Bedford Park on Friday, March 22, roughly between the hours of 2 and 4 p.m. Anybody who…

Endless Summerfest in La Grange’s Gordon Park will not be held this year, sponsors have announced. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

La Grange cancels Endless Summerfest over higher costs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch It turns out the summer is not endless, at least not in La Grange. Endless Summerfest, a three-day event held the first weekend in August at Gordon Park for many years, will not be held this year. The cancelation was announced Tuesday in a joint new release from the La…

regional orland park police logo

Midlothian man arrested for Orland Park carjacking

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom wire reports The Orland Park Police Department announced the arrest of a suspect in a vehicular hijacking that occurred on the evening of April 3. Shawn Flores, a 44-year-old Midlothian resident, faces charges following his apprehension on April 4. The incident began when a male victim was forcibly removed from his vehicle…

big PoliceLights1

Blotter: Evergreen Park police issue scam alert

Spread the love

Spread the loveThe Evergreen Park Police Department is warning the public of an ongoing scam where a caller claims to be an Evergreen Park Police Officer, and instructs the individual to send money in order to avoid criminal charges. In some versions of this scam, the offenders tell individuals they missed a court date related…

The Palos South eighth-grade Girls Volleyball Team is: Top row (left to right) Dorian Urquizo, Annika Hock, Maja Pszczola, Elaina Yasin, Hannah Koenig, Makaleigh Terry, Maya Surdel, Brooklyn Parr, Maggie Purtill, Coach Marty Duggan. Bottom row (left to right) are Raliyah Bruce, Sarah Cairo, Sofia Wilson, Katy Zumerchik, Khadija Faisal, Alexa Morales. (Supplied photos)

Palos South eighth-grade girls volleyballers go undefeated

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports Palos South’s eighth-grade girls’ volleyball team finished first in the Southwest Interscholastic Conference (SWIC) on March 9, completing an undefeated season with a record of 19-0. This is the fifth straight year that Coach Marty Duggan has led the Cardinals to a first-place finish in the tournament, which was held…

Funeral2

Obituaries April 11, 2024

Spread the love

Spread the loveSHARON AAGAARD Sharon Aagaard died peacefully March 18 after a prolonged illness and a life well lived. Sharon leaves behind her loving husband Kevin Aagaard, her beloved daughter Elizabeth (Liz) Vieth, her treasured granddaughter Lia Vieth, and many in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews, and good friends. Sharon was born in the former St.…

Neighbors

Capitol Briefs: Bill creating new early childhood agency among 244 to advance

Capitol Briefs: Bill creating new early childhood agency among 244 to advance

By ALEX ABBEDUTO HANNAH MEISEL & COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker’s plan to create a new state agency to oversee Illinois’ various early childhood programs moved forward on Friday after the state Senate’s unanimous approval. It was one of 244 bills that cleared the Senate this week. Early childhood…

Lawmakers, cannabis industry calls for ban on ‘delta-8’ and other psychoactive hemp products

Lawmakers, cannabis industry calls for ban on ‘delta-8’ and other psychoactive hemp products

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ largest cannabis business association is pushing to ban the sale of delta-8 THC, an increasingly popular psychoactive substance that’s popped up in corner stores across the country in recent years. New legislation filed in Springfield this week revives an ongoing debate over delta-8 and other…

As state continues to inventory lead pipes, full replacement deadlines are decades away

As state continues to inventory lead pipes, full replacement deadlines are decades away

By COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois Clongcor@capitolnewsillinois.com Lead pipes in public water systems and drinking fixtures have been banned in new construction since 1986, when Congress amended the Safe Drinking Water Act, but they are still in use across the U.S. and in Illinois.  The presence of lead pipes has persisted due in part to…

Illinois Senate advances changes to state’s biometric privacy law after business groups split

Illinois Senate advances changes to state’s biometric privacy law after business groups split

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – It’s been more than a year since the Illinois Supreme Court “respectfully suggest(ed)” state lawmakers clarify a law that’s led to several multi-million-dollar settlements with tech companies over the collection of Illinoisans’ biometric data. On Thursday, a bipartisan majority in the Illinois Senate did just that,…

Giannoulias calls for disclosure of lobbyist contracts

Giannoulias calls for disclosure of lobbyist contracts

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – For decades, lobbyists in the Illinois Statehouse have been required to report how much they spend wining, dining and entertaining lawmakers. Currently, though, there is no law requiring lobbyists to disclose how much they are paid by corporations, industry groups or other special interest organizations.. That…

Komatsu mining truck named 2024 ‘coolest thing made in Illinois’

Komatsu mining truck named 2024 ‘coolest thing made in Illinois’

By COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois Clongcor@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – A mining truck manufactured by Komatsu was crowned the winner of the 2024 “Makers Madness” contest, earning the title of “the coolest thing made in Illinois” at the Governor’s Mansion Wednesday.  The truck was one of more than 200 entries in the 5th annual contest hosted…

Regulators weigh future of gas industry in Illinois, while clamping down on Chicago utility

Regulators weigh future of gas industry in Illinois, while clamping down on Chicago utility

By ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois aadams@capitolnewsillinois.com CHICAGO – Natural gas is fueling a fight between consumer advocates, a powerful utility company and the state. Amid competing advertising campaigns, accusations of mismanagement and state decarbonization efforts, the Illinois Commerce Commission is starting a process that will shape how the state regulates the increasingly controversial industry. …

Capitol Briefs: State allocates additional $14M for grocery startups

Capitol Briefs: State allocates additional $14M for grocery startups

By ALEX ABBEDUTO & COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillnois.com Grocery startups can now apply for funding allocated in last year’s $20 million Illinois Grocery Initiative aimed at preventing and eliminating food deserts in Illinois. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, which is administering the grants, is currently accepting applications in the second round…

Pritzker names Sen. Ann Gillespie new head of state insurance oversight agency

Pritzker names Sen. Ann Gillespie new head of state insurance oversight agency

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday announced a change in leadership at the agency in charge of regulating the state’s insurance industry. State Sen. Ann Gillespie, D-Arlington Heights, will take over as acting director of the Illinois Department of Insurance starting April 15, replacing Dana Popish Severinghaus,…

Capitol Briefs: State allocates additional $14M for grocery startups; announces first awardees

Capitol Briefs: State allocates additional $14M for grocery startups; announces first awardees

By ALEX ABBEDUTO & COLE LONGCOR Capitol News Illinois news@capitolnewsillnois.com Grocery startups can now apply for funding allocated in last year’s $20 million Illinois Grocery Initiative aimed at preventing and eliminating food deserts in Illinois. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, which is administering the grants, is currently accepting applications in the second round…