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Battle of the North kicks off as Canada Soccer opens the expanded 2018 Canadian Championship

06/05/2018, 4:15pm EDT
By Reprint courtesy of Canada Soccer

Click photo to find further coverage of Canadian Championship 2018

It will be a historic Canadian Championship opening round when AS Blainville faces Oakville Blue Devils this Wednesday 6 June at the Stade Desjardins au Centre Bois-de-Boulogne in Laval. For the first time ever, Canada Soccer’s signature competition will feature champions from leagues in Ontario and Québec in a First Qualifying Round to face professional side Ottawa Fury FC.
 
Fans can watch the 2018 first round on MyCujoo.tv/canada-soccer with matches on Wednesday 6 June (19.30 ET / 16.30 PT) and Wednesday 13 June (19.30 ET / 16.30 PT). AS Blainville, 2017 winners of the Première ligue de soccer du Québec, host the first leg while Oakville Blue Devils FC, 2017 winners of League1 Ontario, host the return leg a week later. Fans can follow the competition on the official website at canadianchampionship.ca as well as through Canada Soccer’s digital channels on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the #CanChamp hashtag. 
 
"We are excited to add an additional round of qualifying matches as we start the second decade of the Canadian Championship with the addition of league champions from Quebec and Ontario’s top leagues," said Peter Montopoli, Canada Soccer General Secretary. "After Toronto FC's historic season and run to the 2018 Concacaf Champions League Final following Montréal Impact FC's run a few short years ago, we anticipate all teams will show extra motivation to win Canada’s top domestic competition."
 
Toronto FC were the second Canadian Championship winners in four years to make it to the Concacaf Champions League Final. In 2014-15, Montréal Impact made it through to the Grand Final with the last match the highest-attended in-stadia sporting event in Canada that year.
 
In 2018, Toronto FC will travel to meet the Qualifying Rounds winner in the opening leg of the Semi-final round, while Montréal will host Vancouver Whitecaps FC to open the other Semi-final. Both games kick off at 19.30 local on Wednesday 18 July with the second legs scheduled one week later on 25 July. 
 
The Voyageurs Cup will be presented on 15 August along with the George Gross Memorial Trophy to the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. 
 
 
2018 Canadian Championship Schedule (home team listed first)
 
1QR - First Qualifying Round
 
2018-06-06 - AS Blainville v Oakville Blue Devils - 19.30 ET / 16.30 PT
2018-06-13 - Oakville Blue Devils v AS Blainville - 19.30 ET / 16.30 PT
 
2QR - Second Qualifying Round
 
2018-06-20 - 1QR (Winner/Gagnant) v Ottawa Fury FC - 19.30 ET / 16.30 PT
2018-06-27 - Ottawa Fury FC v 1QR (Winner/Gagnant) - 19.30 ET / 16.30 PT
 
SF - Semi-Final Round
 
2018-07-18 - 2QR (Winner/Gagnant) v Toronto FC – 19.30 ET / 16.30 PT 
2018-07-18 - Impact de Montréal v Vancouver Whitecaps FC – 19.30 ET / 16.30 PT
2018-07-25 - Toronto FC v 2QR (Winner/Gagnant) – 19.30 ET / 16.30 PT
2018-07-25 - Vancouver Whitecaps FC v Impact de Montréal – 22.00 ET / 19.00 PT
 
Final Round
2018-08-08 - SF (Winner/Gagnant) v SF (Winner/Gagnant)
2018-08-15 - SF (Winner/Gagnant) v SF (Winner/Gagnant)
 
 
About the Canadian Championship
 
• The Canadian Championship is Canada Soccer’s highest domestic professional soccer competition and it is the sole qualification route for Canadian professional clubs into Concacaf Champions League and onto the FIFA Club World Cup
• The current champions are Toronto FC who have won the tournament six times
• Canadian content is a focus of the content and since 2017 competition regulations state that each team must field a minimum of three Canadian starters for each match
• The Voyageurs Cup has been awarded to the Canadian Championship winner since 2008; created by the Voyageurs Canadian Supporters group, the trophy represents Canadian fans’ commitment to the game in our country
• The George Gross Memorial Trophy recognizes the Canadian Championship's most valuable player, with Sebastian Giovinco the reigning winner in 2017; the award is named after the late George Gross, an honoured member of the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame
• In 2018, the competition will feature six clubs from four different leagues: Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Toronto FC and Impact de Montréal from Major League Soccer (all earn automatic berths to the Semi-finals); Ottawa Fury FC from the United Soccer Leagues (who enter in the Second Qualifying Round); Oakville Blue Devils from League1 Ontario (who enter in the First Qualifying Round); and AS Blainville from the Première ligue de soccer du Québec (who also enter in the First Qualifying Round)
• Since 2008, three Canadian winners have reached the Quarter-final stage or further in Concacaf Champions League: Toronto FC twice (Semi-finals in 2011-12 and Grand Final in 2018); Impact de Montréal twice (Quarter-finals in 2008-09 and Grand Final in 2014-15); and Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Semi-finals in 2016-17)
 

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