Voyageurs Cup to be awarded as rivals clash in Canadian Championship Final Tuesday night

Toronto FC will host the Montreal Impact in the second leg of the Canadian Championship Final Tuesday, June 27 at BMO Field in Toronto. Despite a 1-1 draw in the opening leg, Toronto lead the two-game aggregate score series with an all-important away goal.

With Tuesdays match now sold out and standing room tickets having been released, the 10th Anniversary Canadian Championship Final is certain to be a memorable match as the two rivals vie for the national title.  Fans coast to coast will also be able to catch the action live on TSN 1, 3, 4, and 5 and RDS, the Canada Soccer’s official broadcaster.

"I like that rivalry aspect, I like that it's a little bit unfriendly," said Toronto FC Coach Greg Vanney. "It becomes you and your team, and us against them and I think that's what it should be about. That's why these rivalries are so special. I don’t think either team wants to give an inch in this rivalry. Whenever rivalry teams play each other in meaningful matches it just adds to the storyline of the rivalry. The emotion continues to build.”

Despite having given up a home goal, the Impact are looking forward to giving Canadians a show on Tuesday, leaving nothing behind.

“I think that it’s going to be a game (next Tuesday) where it’s a Final and we’re still in it,” Montreal Impact Mauro Biello said last week.  It’s a rivalry for sure.  Going into Toronto, there will be 30,000 fans there screaming and we’re going to try to spoil the party.”

Should the Montreal Impact prevail as 2017 Canadian Champion, a special one-match playoff between Toronto FC, the 2016 Canadian Champion, and the Montreal Impact will be played on 9 August in Toronto to determine who will advance, due to the launch of the new CONCACAF Champions League format which places the Canadian representative in Phase II beginning in March 2018.

With a Championship and the potential to represent Canada on the international stage, the second leg of the final is likely to be as intense as the opening leg played in Montreal last week. 

“The Canadian Championship shows which team is the best in Canada,” said Impact and Men’s National Team player Patrice Bernier. “It’s like in every other country, we want to show that we are the best. And we know where this can bring us, up to the CONCACAF Champions League in which we went to the final and this an experience we want to live again.”

The addition of a new Canadian Content rule requiring a minimum of three Canadians to start for each side ensures the rivalry will be on display between Canadians, who will come together following the match for Gold Cup preparations.

“Growing up in Ontario, it’s something I take great pride in to be able to call myself a Canadian Champion and something I have dreamed of since I was a young boy,” said Toronto FC’s Jordan Hamilton.  “To be able to keep playing in these tournaments and having the opportunity to play for the Canadian Championship is a great honour.”

For now though, each squad is focused on its goal of hoisting the Voyageurs Cup.

"It was intense," Toronto’s Raheem Edwards said of the first leg. "It was back and forth, both teams wanted to score. It's 1-1, that what we wanted, or a win, obviously, but we'll take it back to BMO [Field]."

Additional information on the competition format and the clubs’ rosters can be found on the Canadian Championship official website at canadasoccer.com/championship.

Fans are encouraged to follow @CanadaSoccerEN on Twitter using #CanChamp for tournament updates, and live highlights, but also to connect with the two finalists @impactmontreal and @torontofc for more match coverage.

The Battle of the North remains the only path for Canadian clubs to reach international competition, as the conduit to the CONCACAF Champions League and onto the FIFA Club World Cup, one of the most distinguished club level trophies in soccer which pits the winners of CONCACAF Champions League against the winners of the five other continental championships.  Since 2008, three Canadian winners have reached the Quarter-final stage or further in CONCACAF Champions League: Toronto FC once (Semi-finals in 2011-12), Impact Montréal FC twice (Quarter-finals in 2008-09 and Grand Final in 2014-15), and Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Semi-finals 2016-17). 

Two distinguished trophies will be presented to at the conclusion of the 2017 Canadian Championship, the Voyageurs Cup, which has been awarded to the Canadian Championship winner since 2008, and the George Gross Memorial Trophy which recognises the Canadian Championship's most valuable player. The Trophy is named after the late George Gross, a respected journalist and honoured member of the Soccer Hall of Fame. Last year's winner was Benoît Cheyrou of Toronto FC.

The 10th edition of the Canadian Championship featured five clubs from across three professional leagues: Vancouver Whitecaps FC (MLS), FC Edmonton (NASL), Toronto FC (MLS), Ottawa Fury FC (USL), and Impact Montréal FC (MLS).

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