Yesterday afternoon the word came out that there would be a few changes to Canada's National Club Championship. Now these changes are nothing like the ones that Duncan called for a few weeks back on Sportsnet and in fact the changes have nothing to do with the actual format of the competition. In the end all we actually found out was that the Canadian Championship was getting an even worse corporate name as well as the opening round matchups.
In previous years the championship went by the name of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship. It was a name that many of us begrudgingly used for the competition as we all understand that the CSA runs on a tight budget so any little bit of corporate sponsor money is a good thing. In fairness, the abbreviation NCC was actually one that was fairly easy to use when referring to the competition and when you did call it that everyone knew what you were referring to.
For this year though Nutrilite is out the door and has been replaced by Amway. Now this change really is not a big deal because Amway is actually the owners of the Nutrilite brand so the sponsor money will still be coming from the same place. The change to Amway is a bit of a pain though because even though Nutrillite is an American company as well, the name Amway is a lot more in your face about it. Amway does have a bit of a history in Canada but it is certainly not a good one as in the past they have pled guilty to tax evasion and customs fraud. Ideally the tournament to crown Canada's club champion would not be named after an American sponsor at all but to be so in your face about it is just painful. Then you get to the issue that we can no longer get away with avoiding using the name and using the abbreviation instead. I think we can all see that calling the competition the ACC would be a bit confusing, at least for Toronto based fans.
In the end, most of us will continue to call this competition by the name that it rightly should go by. In a world where corporate dollars were no longer important to the CSA then we could have everyone calling it the Voyageurs Cup but alas that is not the world we live in. So I for one say let the corporate folks have their Amway label but for the rest of us, the Canadian fans, lets not forget that this really is our tournament and it is our prize because we are all Voyageurs.
Now as for this years first round matchups. For the last couple of months there was a bit of an ongoing debate about how the seeding would work itself out thanks to the Montreal Impact joining MLS. Some read the rules to say that since Montreal is in MLS for 2012 that would make them the third seed while others read it that based on Montreal finishing below FC Edmonton in the NASL last year they would be the fourth seed. In the end it was that latter reading that has prevailed as the CSA confirmed that the seeds for the 2012 edition of the Voyageurs' Cup would be as follows:
1. Toronto FC
3. FC Edmonton
4. Montreal Impact
That means that Toronto is now set for a first round date with the Impact and that bumps their meetings this year up to a minimum of 5. That is basically getting into the range of the El Clasico for frequency of playing which will be fun at first but at some point we might just get sick of playing each other all the time and it could take away some of the lustre from the new MLS version of this rivalry.
For Toronto FC the games against Montreal are set for May 2nd at Olympic Stadium and May 9th at BMO Field. The final round would then be played on May 16th and 23rd against the winner of the Vancouver - Edmonton match-up. For Toronto FC it will be a chance to win the Voyageurs Cup for a 4th year in a row as well as book a return to the CONCACAF Champions League so regardless what name they want us to call it this year it is something to be excited about as Canadian fans.