On Thursday night, the Canadian Premier League held a launch event in downtown Toronto, where they revealed all 14 kits for the league’s inaugural season.
The event was set up like a fashion show runway, with 14 players — two from each team —standing on a stage and walking down team-by-team, taking off their jackets and revealing the kits.
Modelling was something unfamiliar to many of the players, but they all appeared to have a lot of fun.
“An airplane runway, yes,” laughed Valour FC striker Stephen Hoyle when asked if he had ever been on a runway before. “First time modelling, if you can’t tell by my face. This is my first time on the catwalk.”
FC Edmonton’s Randy Edwini-Bonsu has had similar experiences, but nothing quite like the one on Thursday night.
“In Germany, you normally have the whole team on stage, with the fans asking you questions, but nothing like this. It was special tonight and I’m glad I could be a part of it.”
The kits themselves received a lot of praise from some of the league’s players.
“I think they’re all beautiful. Our one is the best, obviously,” Edwini-Bonsu noted. The Pacific one is beautiful as well, I like the home kit for Winnipeg, Macron did a great job, that’s for sure.”
York9’s Kyle Porter also had a few favourites around the league, pointing out a couple of fan-favourite colour schemes in particular.
“I do like Halifax, the blue-on-blue is definitely unique and looks sharp. And Pacific, I didn’t know what to expect with the purple, what they could do, but it definitely looks sharp.”
“I think they’re beautiful,” said Hoyle when asked about the Valour FC kits. “It’s a little bit biased, but they’re actually a couple of my favourite kits. I really enjoy the home one. The home is probably my favourite kit here.”
He also had high praise for the blue Pacific FC away kit, but was sure to add in “if you’re wearing that, you have to win games,” getting a laugh from the scrum around him.
All of the players were having a lot of fun, and Hoyle also elaborated on what it means to be part of the league in its first season:
“I don’t think there will be (another) westernized country that will start a professional soccer league as its division one, because everyone else is already established,” he said. “Valour at the moment doesn’t have an identity. We don’t know what it is, it’s just something.”
“For me to have an opportunity to go into the changing room with 20 other guys and create the identity, what the values are of Valour, what we do going forward, and hopefully for the next 20 or 50 years after the franchise is established, that’s fantastic. I can say ‘look, when we put that together I was a big part of why Valour is what it is and why these players conduct themselves the way they conduct themselves.”
As for the kits themselves — they are absolutely beautiful.
All 14 of the kits are aesthetically pleasing, but also have small details that you might not have noticed.
York9 FC, for example, have a ton of small details in their white home kit.
Behind their crest, you can see “Y9”. On the back there’s also Ontario’s provincial flower, the white trillium, and the nine municipalities that make up York region, as pictured below.
Cavalry FC honour the Canadian Armed Forces with their kits, as the white sash on the home kit is inspired by Lord Strathcona’s Horse regiment uniform, and the away kit has camouflage on it, as pictured below.
FC Edmonton have a rabbit silhouette at the bottom of the back of their kit, named Rally Rabbit, after a rabbit that ran on the pitch at a game in 2011, which became a good luck symbol after it distracted Montreal Impact players late in a game, helping Edmonton earn a victory.
Pacific FC have a trident underlaid on their home kit, which “boldly summons the Island to fight for the badge,” according to an infographic posted on the club’s Twitter account. All 7 clubs have these graphics for their kits.
Valour FC also pay homage to the brave men and women of the military, as their home kit is another two-tone design, with the left side of the kit having a design similar to the ribbon on the Victoria Cross medal, which is the highest and most prestigious medal a member of the military, awarded for “most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent act of valour, self-sacrifice or extreme devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy,” according to Veterans Affairs Canada.
On the Forge FC home kit, the flame on the logo is all over the kit, symbolizing the steel working industry that Hamilton is known for. The back of the kit also features the club’s secondary logo, and their away kit is “platinum steel” colour.
Halifax Wanderers FC’s home kit has the Halifax Citadel imprinted all over it, as well as it being the outline of their crest. The back of the kit also has their club motto “Ar Cala, Ar Dachaigh, Ar n-Anam”, which means “Our Harbour, Our Home, Our Soul” in Gaelic.
A league official told us a few other bits of information, with the main one being that all 14 kits will be replaced in October.
Which Canadian Premier League club will you be supporting? Which kits are your favourite? Let us know in the comments below!