The Canadian Premier League released its 2022 regular season schedule on Thursday to some well-deserved fanfare.
The single-table campaign runs from April to October, concluding in time for the football world to turn its attention to Qatar. The new playoff format, revealed on Wednesday, will switch to two-leg semifinals on October 15 and 22 and culminate in a one-game championship final on October 29.
The 2022 Canadian Premier League season schedule presented by @WestJet is out now ⬇️#CanPL— Canadian Premier League (@CPLsoccer) February 3, 2022
CPL’s fourth season kicks off on Thursday, April 7 at 7:30 PM ET, as up-and-comers York United host east coast contenders HFX Wanderers at York Lions Stadium in Toronto.
The real fireworks launch on the weekend, with defending champions Pacific FC playing host to their CPL Finals opponent Forge FC on Sunday, April 10 at 7 PM ET, 4 PM PT.
This rematch is surely the marquee event of the league’s kickoff week. Forge is looking for some revenge after finally falling to the Langford, BC side in December when the North Star Shield was on the line.
Forge’s offseason moves have ratcheted up the drama of this fixture: striker Terran Campbell and midfielder Alessandro Hojabrpour look to make their orange-clad debut on the very ground where they plied their trade for Pacific FC. Van Isle fans understand the business of football, but they still won’t take that betrayal lightly.
The 2022 #CanPL season will kick off on April 7th with Opening Weekend presented by @WestJet— Canadian Premier League (@CPLsoccer) February 3, 2022
Look out for the full schedule release tomorrow at 2 PM ET ⏰
Looking ahead, the schedule concentrates the bulk of its games to the weekend, with a small percentage of unavoidable midweek games thrown in. That concentration accounts in part for the delayed home openers for HFX, Valour and Cavalry fans, who have to wait until the April 30-May 1 weekend to first see their teams play live.
As is the case every year, Canadian Championship fixtures might require some schedule renegotiations. Increased regional play adds an exciting wrinkle this year: Forge represents Canada’s unprecedented second entry into the Concacaf Champions League, and Pacific is making their debut in the final version of the Concacaf League before the confederation streamlines its club competitions.
Other highlights of the schedule include:
- Cross-Canada derbies (HFX-Pacific) on April 23, June 25, August 20 and September 24
- Forge-Cavalry fixtures on April 16, July 27, August 12 and September 10
- “Al Classico” derbies (Cavalry-FC Edmonton) on May 6, June 26, July 30 and September 17.
- The CPL’s Golden Horseshoe teams (Forge and York) meet on May 6 and July 8 at York Lions Stadium and August 20 and October 1 at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.
For the first time in three years, the CPL can look forward to full, nationwide schedule: all eight teams will play 28 games, 14 at home and 14 on the road. While Thursday’s announcement might seem like a routine affair, it represents a significant achievement for a fledgling league that was forced to play much of the last two seasons in localized bubbles and uncertain conditions. While we aren’t completely out of the COVID19 woods, the 2022 schedule is yet another sign that the CPL is emerging as a confident and stable competition.