Toronto Arrows Announce Evolution of Senior Leadership Ahead of 2023 Season
December 19, 2022 – Major League Rugby (MLR) – Toronto Arrows News Release
TORONTO, ON – The Toronto Arrows announced today changes to its senior leadership roles as the club continues preparations for its fifth season in Major League Rugby and readies for its next stage of growth.
Mark Winokur, who has led the club’s rugby operations since 2017, will complete his service as Chief Operating Officer and General Manager, and effective Dec. 19, 2022, the role will be assumed by Tim Matthews.
Winokur will remain with the organization as Co-Founder and Senior Advisor reporting to club President, Bill Webb, assisting with a variety of special projects.
As the club’s first and only general manager to date, Winokur guided the team through two exhibition seasons before leading the Arrows into Major League Rugby in 2019. He managed the club through its first four seasons in MLR, notably overseeing the team to a winning regular season record of 28-25 over that time – one of only four teams in the league to cross the 25-win threshold between 2019 and 2022.
“On behalf of the entire organization, I want to thank Mark for his tireless leadership and dedicated service,” said Bill Webb, Toronto Arrows President and General Partner. “Without Mark’s vision, drive and initiative, the Arrows would not have come into being.”
“Mark’s role was critical in assembling the Arrows roster from scratch in our early days, demonstrating viable success during our 2018 proof-of-concept season, building a ready-to-compete team that earned a playoff berth in our inaugural 2019 MLR season, and providing the club with a strong foundation to succeed as we prepare for the 2023 season.”
“It’s been a pleasure to serve as the team’s first general manager and an honour to work with such a talented group of players and staff over the past six years,” said Winokur. “I’m very proud of what our team has accomplished over this time, notably bringing professional rugby to Canada and establishing the Arrows as a fixture in the Canadian and North American sports landscape.”
“I look forward to continuing to help the club develop a number of initiatives that require attention as we continue our push to bring the MLR Shield to Toronto, and to develop our brand, for years to come. I am pleased to have enjoyed a 20-year relationship with Tim Matthews going back to our club rugby days here in Ontario, and I know he will serve superbly as Arrows VP and General Manager.”
The club will appoint Matthews as Vice President and General Manager, effective Dec. 19, 2022.
Matthews arrives at the Arrows as an experienced operator with a demonstrated track record in building and leading teams. On top of a decade of experience serving in executive leadership roles across the private sector, he possesses a Master of Business Administration degree from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, which was achieved following his studies at both the University of Victoria and the University of Guelph.
Matthews also comes with an advanced understanding of the current state of rugby in Canada, informed by experience and relationships maintained as a player and coach throughout school, club and representative rugby across the county.
His on-field achievements include representing Ontario at the age-grade level, winning two McCormick Cup provincial club titles, earning selection to train in the Pacific Pride national development academy, and competing in the Rugby Canada Super League. Following his playing days, Matthews continued his involvement in the sport as a coach at various club and representative levels.
Born and raised in Toronto, Matthews and his family now live just north of the city. He currently serves as a Rugby Ontario Board Member.
“We are pleased to welcome Tim as the Arrows’ incoming Vice President and General Manager,” said Webb. “Tim’s in-depth knowledge of the Canadian rugby landscape, coupled with his leadership skills and business acumen, will be valuable assets to our club as we grow and target winning the MLR Shield.”
“Tim has long been a great supporter and friend of the Arrows. His strong track record of success and leadership in both rugby and business make him a great addition to our team.”
“I am tremendously excited to take on this role with the Arrows,” said Matthews. “It is the alignment of my professional career with the game that has long been a passion of mine – something that I have been working toward for some time – and I am very grateful for this opportunity.”
“The foundation built by Bill, Mark, and the rest of the team at the Arrows is truly something to be excited about. The mandate is clear: achieve sustained success on the field, deliver an exciting product for our fans and the tremendous rugby community that supports us, and make Toronto a destination of choice for current and future players.”
“Major League Rugby didn’t exist when I was a player, and to now be a part of a domestic professional league that gives kids playing the game a home team to support and strive to play for, all in my home town, is very special.”
“With Tim stepping into his new role right away and primed to hit the ground running, the transition will be seamless,” added Webb. “Preparations for our upcoming campaign are continuing as planned, and we won’t miss a beat as we ramp up for the exciting milestone season ahead.”
The club will begin its fifth season in North America’s top-flight professional rugby league with a road match against Rugby ATL on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023.
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