No Major League Rugby deal for Hawaii team in 2021
NEWS: Major League Rugby said Friday an exclusive negotiating agreement with a Hawaiian group for an expansion team expired with no deal but wants the organization to keep working on development.
The Kanaloa Hawaii group had talked to MLR about a club for the 2021 season and been mentioned in talks for a realigned Super Rugby circuit in the Southern Hemisphere.
The idea of a Polynesian squad backed by several former New Zealand All Blacks would see Hawaii as a home base for talent from Tonga, Fiji and Samoa as well as other spots in a top-level series.
But a week ago, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported the Aloha Stadium Authority asked Kanaloa Hawaii for a letter of credit to cover rental costs at the venue, former home of the NFL Pro Bowl all-star game and the prospective MLR club.
“MLR and Kanaloa Hawaii have not reached any agreement by which this team may join MLR for the 2021 season,” the league said in a statement.
“MLR commissioner George Killebrew has encouraged this potential ownership group to continue with its development plans so that it may be in a position to join MLR for a future MLR season.”
The Seattle Seawolves won the 2018 and 2019 MLR titles while the 2020 season was shut down and cancelled last March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The league is set to reach 13 clubs in 2021 with expansion teams in Dallas and Los Angeles.