Home Canadian Premier League CanPL News and Notes Victoria is in for CanPL: League exploring “several opportunities” on Lower Mainland

Victoria is in for CanPL: League exploring “several opportunities” on Lower Mainland

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In the wake of the Victoria Times-Colonist‘s story that the Greater Victoria area would indeed be home to a Canadian Premier League team in 2019, the league itself confirmed the report Friday.

So, Victoria is in, with a group fronted by former national-teamers Rob Friend and Josh Simpson. The money (or at least, some of the money) behind the bid comes from Dean Shillington, the president of Knightsbridge Capital.

The team will play out of Westhills Stadium in Langford. Improvements still need to be made to the facility and a lease deal needs to be put in place. The stadium, right now, only has a capacity for a little more than 1,700 souls.

“We are incredibly excited about the possibilities in Greater Victoria and are confident that a professional team representing Vancouver Island can be an overwhelming success,” said CanPL Commissioner David Clanachan in a release issued by the club. “We have a terrific local ownership team with a track record of business success, combined with vast soccer experience and an undeniable passion for the game. With the successful completion of a lease and needed stadium improvements, which will bring Westhills Stadium to CPL standards, the team will officially launch in time for our inaugural season in 2019”.

Now, the question is, where does this leave a Greater Vancouver team? Friend’s name had been bandied about as being part of a group looking to bring a team to the Greater Vancouver Area. Does this mean the Victoria and Vancouver bids have merged? Or did we all have this wrong right from the start?

When I called the CanPL offices after the release went out, I was told that the “Port City” club that received its official sanction from Canada Soccer a month ago was, yes, the Victoria team. But, when Cavalry FC was launched just two weeks ago, Clanachan said that the Victoria bid still needed to be vetted. I know that Clanachan said that the CanPL was getting a lot more efficient in vetting its potential investors groups, but two weeks from “needing to be vetted” to “approved,” well, heck, can these guys please work on my next grant proposal?

So, we know Victoria IS Port City. But, then, will CanPL start without a Vancouver-area team in 2019?

The CanPL followed the Victoria release with this statement on the status of the league in the Greater Vancouver Area.

“We are in active discussions with more than a dozen communities across the country, this includes several opportunities in the Lower Mainland.  It is a key market – one that we firmly believe in.”

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One Comment

  1. Mad Cap Mac

    June 5, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    A team in Surrey would be a lost cause, just like one in Laval, Longeuil, Brampton, Oshawa, or anywhere in “York Region” will be. Canadian MLS teams have crowds of 20,000 or so. It’s delusional to think 10,000 new fans are going to show up for a Div 2 league in those cities. Shillington, Simpson, and Friend dodged a bullet by not getting a stadium on the mainland.

    Reply

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