Durham rugby fans howl to become official Toronto WolfPack supporters

Photo by Tyler Hodgkinson

John Butcher and Andrae McRae of the Wolves.

Two Durham Region rugby fans are howling for the Toronto WolfPack, and hope to encourage others to do the same on an official level.

Andrae McRae and John Butcher are currently in talks with the GTA-based team to make their assembly, The Wolves, the official supporters’ group.

If the deal is reached, it means The Wolves will be the promoted fan group for the professional team.

It is the inaugural season for the WolfPack, who is playing in League 1 in England, and the first time a Canadian team has been in the Rugby Football League.

The WolfPack play their first home game on May 6 at Lamport Stadium.

Although the conversation between The Wolves and the team have quieted in recent weeks and a decision has yet to be made, both McRae and Butcher are optimistic that their hard work will pay off before the season starts.

“We will get that slot,” said McRae. “Nothing comes without hard work. Just stay steadfast, and [good] things will come.”

Both men have been big rugby fans their entire life.

Butcher said he wants to share his love for the sport with others because it’s a “beautiful” game.

“Besides the fact that it’s such a tactical game, the respect displayed on and off the field in this sport is incredible.”

The Wolves currently have 103 likes on Facebook. Part of the team’s plan to grow the group is to engage fans and non-fans of the sport through social media.

Additionally, the duo hopes the group’s enthusiasm will shine on the broadcasts of the games, and people will seek them out because of the lure of the atmosphere and camaraderie.

Admittedly, McRae said it is difficult to project how the season will play out.

“I obviously want them to win and succeed, but at the same time, if they dominate too much, it may go to their heads. Humility never does anyone wrong.”

Butcher is “incredibly hopeful” because the team has “multiple players with experience at high levels of rugby.”

This isn’t the first time the pair have attempted to make a supporters’ group. McRae and Butcher currently run the Durham Red Army (DRA), a supporters’ group for the Major League Soccer team Toronto FC.

The DRA has branded scarfs, jerseys, and weekly meetups long after the season ends.

The pair looks to apply their experience with the DRA to the Wolves, and become connected with the WolfPack on the ground level.

“If we do get the official supporters’ group status, it will be huge,” said Butcher. “The backing of the club would lead to more exposure, and more diehard fans will reach out to us. Fingers crossed!”