Former Leeds captain Stevie Ward has joined the new Canadian domestic competition in an off-field role.
The 27-year-old has been appointed to the board of the Canada Co-Operative Championship Rugby League and has been named director of welfare and safety.
Ward announced his retirement from the game back in January due to long-term concussions. He will lead strategy towards building a safe and healthy environment for players, coaches and employees in the CCCRL.
Ward will also oversee and manage the community and belonging department, responsible for community impact, diversity inclusion, belonging and overall well-being.
The CCCRL will be the world’s first co-operatively owned sports league, and has been given approval by the Canadian Rugby League governing body.
Ward said: “The concept of CCCRL lit me up from the moment I heard about it. I am proud to be a part of something that is building a league where the welfare and safety of the people on the pitch is paramount.
“I and the rest of the CCCRL team are dedicated to implementing a culture where the player’s individual needs, talents, and wider life dreams are at the heart of the game’s success.
“We plan to lead the way surrounding player mental health, wellbeing, protecting long-term health and promoting the all-round development of the player.
“The CCCRL will be an organisation that hopes to offer players the opportunity to perform at the highest level within sport but also build their brand, skills, and dreams so that they can have success that outlasts their playing career. I truly believe in what we are building and I can’t wait to ignite the new era of rugby league in Canada and North America. Now’s the time.”
— Canada Co-Operative Championship Rugby League (@CAChampRL) March 15, 2021