TORONTO – We’re just over two months away from the launch of the new Canadian Premier League, and we still don’t have a full schedule.
The only thing we know for sure is the inaugural season of the CPL will kick off on April 27 at Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field with a match between Forge FC and York 9 at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Dubbed the “905 Derby” by the CPL, the first game of the 2019 season pits local rivals against one another – Forge FC is based in Hamilton, while York 9 is based in York Region. The CPL announced the details about its opening game at a gala event last month, but the rest of the schedule remains a mystery.
However, league commissioner David Clanachan confirmed the schedule for the entire 2019 CPL season will be officially released in the coming days.
“The full schedule is going to drop next week. There’s some other news that’s going to drop, relatively shortly, [about] home openers. We have some other partner announcements that are coming up, so things are moving,” Clanachan said.
Among the news expected to drop are details about official uniforms for all seven CPL teams.
The CPL is a new professional soccer league with seven clubs from coast to coast: Forge FC, York 9, FC Edmonton, HFX Wanderers (Halifax), Valour FC (Winnipeg), Cavalry FC (Calgary), FC Edmonton and Pacific FC (Vancouver Island).
Sanctioned as Canada’s first division, the CPL features high-profile owners such as Canadian businessman Bob Young (who also owns the Hamilton Tiger-Cats), and is designed to develop Canadian players and give them a chance they otherwise might not receive.
In a one-on-one interview with Sportsnet last month, Clanachan confirmed the CPL will have a 28-game season the in 2019, with 14 games at home and 14 away for each team, that will start in late April and run until the end of October.
Clanachan also said this week that the CPL’s pre-season starts in March, and that the league plans on take all seven teams to the Dominican Republic for a portion of training camp.
Why is it taking the CPL so long to release the season schedule? Shouldn’t it already be set in stone so close to the start of the season?
Clanachan maintained that coming up with a schedule for seven teams across the country is not as easy as it sounds, as there a number of variables to take into consideration. One such factor is that CPL’s teams share their home venue with other teams and events, which means the league has had to work around dates that have already been booked.
On Wednesday, the CPL officially unveiled Mediapro, a Barcelona-based company, as its official media partner. Mediapro markets the international TV rights for La Liga. Part of the reason the CPL schedule isn’t out yet is because the league wanted to first consult with Mediapro, relying on its expertise in terms of the optimal times and dates to schedule games.
“We needed to give them an opportunity to get some face time with the schedule and give us the advice that we need,” Clanachan said.
“[They checked] our work and gave us some suggestions on how we can do things differently.”