Come June 4, 2014 we will find out who will be the latest to claim the Voyageurs Cup as champions of the 2014 Amway Canadian Championship. Before crowning a winner though the field will have to be narrowed down from five. The 2014 edition of the tournament will be the first time in 10 years that 5 teams have been in the running for the top club prize in Canada as the Ottawa Fury join FC Edmonton, Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps, and Montreal Impact in the field.
The event gets underway with an opening round between the two NASL sides to decide who will get the final place in the semifinal round. That preliminary round will be a two game series between Ottawa and Edmonton with Ottawa hosting the first leg on April 23rd and Edmonton hosting the return leg a week later on the 30th.
The prize for winning that series is a date with the top seeded Montreal Impact. The Impact will begin their title defence on May 7th when they travel to either Edmonton or Ottawa. That same night will see Toronto hosting the first leg of the other semifinal as the Vancouver Whitecaps will be at BMO Field. The second leg of both semifinals will take place on May 14th with Montreal and Vancouver, the top seeds, getting the chance to host.
The event final will once again take place over two legs with the higher seed getting the option of which leg will be played first. That first leg will take place on May 28th, unless Vancouver are hosting in which case it is the 27th, and the second leg will follow on June 4th.
So in little over a month the field will be narrowed down from five teams to determine which club will represent Canada in next summer's CONCACAF Champions League and claim the Voyageurs Cup. The good news for fans is that once again all of the games will be broadcast by Sportsnet and hopefully they will be on a channel that the majority of fans have access to.
In the six years since the Voyageurs Cup was first awarded as part of the Canadian Soccer Championship (and in fact going back to it's early pre Canadian Championship days) only two clubs have managed to claim the prize. Montreal won in 2008 and again in 2013 but between that there was a run where Toronto hoisted the cup for four straight years. Vancouver have of course never won the Voyageurs Cup. Toronto certainly do not have an easy road to get back on top having to likely go through Vancouver and Montreal to do so but then again they did win this event with some teams that were less than competitive in MLS play.
The full schedule for the event is as follows:
2014 Amway Canadian Championship schedule
(home team listed first)
23 April 2014 Preliminary round - first leg Ottawa Fury FC v FC Edmonton
30 April 2014 Preliminary round - second leg FC Edmonton v Ottawa Fury FC
7 May 2014 Semi Final 1 - first leg Ottawa Fury FC/FC Edmonton v Montreal Impact
7 May 2014 Semi Final 2 - first leg Toronto FC v Vancouver Whitecaps FC
14 May 2014 Semi Final 1 - second leg Ottawa Fury FC/FC Edmonton v Montreal Impact
14 May 2014 Semi Final 2 - second leg Vancouver Whitecaps FC v Toronto FC
28 May 2014 Final - first leg*
4 June 2014 Final - second leg
*this game will be played on 27 May if Vancouver Whitecaps FC plays at home.