Four Canadian Premier League teams to open Voyageurs Cup campaign away from home
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TORONTO – The Canadian Championship draw doesn’t take place until next Tuesday but it has already been determined that Cavalry FC, HFX Wanderers FC, Valour FC and Vancouver FC will open on the road.
The Canadian Premier League said the four teams cannot play at home because of stadium availability and weather conditions.
The knockout tournament kicks off April 18 with 14 clubs, including the defending champion Vancouver Whitecaps and three first-time participants.
The four-round tournament features teams from Major League Soccer, CPL, League1 BC, League1 Ontario and Quebec’s Premier League (première ligue de soccer du Quebec or PLSQ).
New to the tournament are the CPL’s Vancouver FC, League1 BC’s TSS Rovers FC from Richmond, and Quebec’s FC Laval.
Returning clubs are: Vancouver, Toronto FC and CF Montreal from MLS; Pacific FC, Cavalry, Valour, Forge FC, York United FC, Atletico Ottawa and HFX Wanderers from the CPL; and Vaughan SC Azzurri from League1 Ontario.
Vancouver and Toronto will receive first-round byes as the 2022 champion and runner-up,
The remaining 12 teams will play first-round matches April 18-20, with the quarterfinals scheduled for May 9-11, the semifinals May 23-25, and the final in early June.
The Canadian Championship winner gets to hoist the Voyageurs Cup as well as qualify for the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, the elite club competition in the region.
The 14 clubs will be drawn from different pots.
Western Clubs (5): Vancouver Island’s Pacific FC, TSS Rovers FC, Vancouver FC, Calgary’s Cavalry FC and Winnipeg’s Valour FC.
Eastern Clubs (5): Forge FC Hamilton, York United FC, Atletico Ottawa, CF Montreal and HFX Wanderers FC
East Semi-Pro Clubs (2): Vaughan SC Azzurri and FC Laval
2022 Finalists (2): Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Toronto FC
The draw will begin by finalizing the pots — drawing an Eastern club to put in the Western club pot to make six teams. The semi-pro clubs will be added to the Eastern clubs pot to make another six.
Clubs will then be drawn for the preliminary round.
Toronto has won the Canadian Championship eight times, compared to five for Montreal and twice for Vancouver.
Draw assistants will be Terry Dunfield and Tosaint Ricketts. Dunfield was alternate captain when the Whitecaps were runner-up in 2011 and won the Voyageurs Cup with Toronto in 2012. Ricketts was a back-to-back winner with Toronto in 2017 and 2018 before he won again in 2022 with the Vancouver Whitecaps
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2023.