The Canadian Premier League made its debut over the weekend, with the upstart circuit getting off to a solid start.
After years of planning, the Canadian Premier League is getting its first season underway. The seven-team circuit’s first match was played on Saturday afternoon, when Forge FC hosted York9 FC in a contest of regional rivals at Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field.
The game was played before an announced crowd of 17,611, though there is an asterisk involved, as we noted in our week one attendance report: the Hamilton numbers at Tim Hortons Field came after team ownership gave away free tickets to the match. However, the crowd was reportedly very enthusiastic amidst cold and windy conditions as the teams played to a 1-1 draw, giving the Canadian Premier League a positive debut. More from The Hamilton Spectator:
A goal by Ryan Telfer in the league’s third minute looked like it might stand up despite several chances thereafter by the home team, but substitute Kadell Thomas wrote himself into Forge FC history with the equalizing goal in the 77th minute.
It was an entertaining introduction to the ambitious new league as, despite contending with a strong south wind, both teams were able to play strong possession games, which hadn’t been universally anticipated because soccer is a game oriented to systems built on repetitive training and players on both teams began practising together only seven weeks ago.
Forge FC, which, like the Tiger-Cats, are owned by Bob Young, distributed more than 25,000 tickets to the game, hoping to break the record (24,512 for the Ticats 2016 Labour Day Classic) for a sports event at their east-end stadium. On a frigid and blustery day, the official turnstile count was still a remarkable two-thirds of that.
“It was a bit windy and cold but it’s a great crowd,” said CPL commissioner David Clanachan, who said also that his discussions with people at CBC TV, which was broadcasting the game nationally, indicated they were very happy with the product.
The match in Hamilton was not the only CPL game played over the weekend, as Pacific FC hosted HFX Wanderers FC at Langford, BC’s Westhills Stadium in front of a reported crowd of 5,100 on Sunday. To keep up with CPL attendance numbers all season long, be sure to follow our weekly attendance reports.
Image courtesy Forge FC.