The 2023 Canadian Championship Draw took place on OneSoccer on Tuesday night, live for the first time. It was exciting to see Terry Dunfield and Tosaint Ricketts juggle some balls for our entertainment.
(Shoutout to Tos for an excellent career and good luck in your retirement - I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of you on television in a broadcasting role!)
The Canadian Championship - (née – Voyageurs Cup) has a total of 14 teams competing in the 2023 edition. The competition welcomes a League 1 Ontario champs Vaughan Azzurri SC, League 1 BC champions TSS Rovers, and PQSL winners FC Laval. CanPL side Vancouver FC enters the competition for the first time, as it’s the team’s inaugural season. Interestingly enough, Vancouver FC will face York United in only their second ever game on April 18th to the 20th.
Here’s what resulted from the Draw:
Since Toronto FC was a finalist, they, along with 2022 Champs Vancouver Whitecaps, receive a bye into the second round. In all likelihood, TFC will face CF Montreal in the second round, as it’s expected that Montreal will be victorious over Vaughan Azzurri.
Since Toronto FC isn’t playing in the first round, here are some intriguing matchups to watch:
York United v. Vancouver FC – York United plays at York University, which is a short drive from lots of places in the Greater Toronto Area (if you live here). While it’s early in the year to be watching football outdoors, it will be a chance for you to take a look at a new CanPL team. Also, Vancouver only has 8 players on its current roster – including TFC Academy products Rocco Romeo and Shaan Hundal.
TSS Rovers FC v. Valour FC – In looking at the first round, this match is providing the most likelihood of an upset of a CanPL team. The Rovers are entering the competition as League 1 BC Cup champions. Valour FC, once again, has significant roster turnover in the offseason. This match should be interesting to watch to see if there is an early upset.
HFX Wanderers v. Atlético Ottawa – Speaking of changed rosters, the Wanderers have a number of new players, including former PSG player Lorenzo Callegari. Also, a trip to Halifax and the Wanderers Ground is a definite must-do if you haven’t made the trip yet. Ottawa Atleti are the defending CanPL League Champions (regular season) and were playoff finalists, eventually losing to Forge. Ottawa has a few notable departures, including Ballou Tabla, Drew Beckie, and a handful of Spanish loanees/transfers.
If you enjoyed the recent FA Cup drama of Wrexham and Sheffield United, then be sure to support Canadian football. It can be found on OneSoccer if you don’t plan on attending any matches in person. Maybe I’ll see you there!