Funnily enough, since the first time we published an article like this, two of the possible cities I suggested did indeed get teams! In the Canadian Elite Basketball League, (CEBL) both Calgary and Vancouver will have teams for the 2023 season. No promises about replicating such good fortune, but here’s hoping! Same as before, here are cities we believe could be possible expansion destination in three of Canada’s domestic sports leagues; The Canadian Football League (CFL), the Canadian Premier League (CPL) and the aforementioned CEBL!
Moncton, New Brunswick
This one admittedly is somewhat depended on the faith of another potential expansion bid. Should it come to pass that an expansion team won’t be moving to Halifax, Moncton would be the next best option for putting a team in Atlantic Canada. Croix-Bleue Medavie Stadium has a rich history of hosting CFL games, it can be expanded to seat 20,000 fans, and from 2010-2019 it hosted four CFL games, all of which where regular season matches. Moncton also has the advantage of being in a more central position in the area. If a deal can’t be reached in Halifax, the CFL should definitely look to Moncton.
Potential name: Atlantic Schooners – This has always been the name in the cards for an Atlantic Canada football team. Although they wouldn’t be playing in Halifax, I don’t see a reason why the team can’t keep the name if they’re based in Moncton.
Football just hits differently in Saskatchewan. Whether it’s the Roughriders, U Sports teams or CJFL, the people of Saskatoon and Saskatchewan love their football. This one is admittedly a huge gamble. With a popular of just over a million, a second CFL team would be stretching the supper bases for both teams feeling a bit thin. But it could be done. Saskatoon has a metro population of 317,480, which is bigger than Regina who house the Roughriders. There also isn’t a mandate to have a stadium the size of Mosaic, Griffiths Stadium – home of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies has in the past been expanded to 12,567 seats. If they could increase the capacity again by a couple thousands, they’d have a capacity on par with when the Guelph’s Alumni stadium was the temporary home of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, allowing them to play games while a permanent solution is finalised. I doubt if this would ever happen, but room for viable expansion for the CFL is limited, and the province of Saskatchewan love their football!
Potential name: Saskatoon Prairie Dogs – Prairie Dogs are a keystone species that can be found in Saskatchewan. It’s a fun name that’s geographically relevant, and the nickname “the dogs” rolls right off the tongue!
Québec City, Québec
In the last article, I cited Montreal as the city the CPL would be looking at, however there has been some development. In August 2022, the Québec soccer association launched a market study to see how viable a CPL team would be in Québec City. On the surface this seems like a very tempting option, Québec City is the largest metropolitan area in Canada without a professional sports team, boasting a popular that is larger than cities like Winnipeg, Hamilton, and Halifax who all have CPL teams. The CPL really needs a Québec team, it’s quite simply too big a province for them to not have any sort of presence in, so if the study seems positive results – this should be an option explored sooner rather than later! With the Nordiques back in the day and the college Laval Rouge et Or football team, the Québec City natives have shown that they love their sports, and I’m sure Soccer would be a massive hit!
Potential name: Olympique Québec – Paying homage to their French history and culture, many French teams have the moniker ‘Olympique’ in their name, and it would immediately serve to make the Québec team stand out in a way that fits in with how they stand out from the rest of Canada!
Situated right on the Ontario-Michigan border, this is a move that seems more like providing there are no dramatic changes. Former CPL commissioner David Clanachan was rewarded the rights for an expansion team in Windsor, and in June 2022 we got more positive news. Clanachan revealed that he had partnered with Vancho Cirovski to help him with the bid. The pair are looking at Windsor Stadium as a potential hike Stadium did a team, and all going well we’ll have a team in Windsor by 2026.
Potential name: Windsor FC – Vancho Cirovski owns Windsor TFC, and while it would be a pretty simplistic name, it would be a choice that leaves plenty of room to the imagination when it comes to coming up with an organic nickname, which is why Toronto FC have the name they do.
The Road To Olympic Gold – FC13 Podcast
Kelowna, British Columbia
The largest city in British Columbia’s interior, Kelowna has even been touted as a possible expansion city for the Canadian Premier League for a while now and although it’s all speculation, and optimistic thinking at the moment – it’s a market that could be successful. Kelowna is located in BC’s Okanagan region, and has many other Okanagan towns around it, such as West Kelowna, Vernon, and Penticton, making it a perfect hub in the area for a team. Kelowna is a four drive away from Vancouver, giving the city perfect “breathing space” to thrive as a soccer hub in BC.
Possible name: Kelowna FC – Kelowna is famous for Orchards and Wineries, and is home to much of the wine and fruit that is grown in British Columbia. It’s also famous for being situated on the Okanagan lake, where the mythical Ogopogo sea creature lives. There is a lot of possibility for natural nicknames to form with this team, which is why I’ve opted for a neutral name to allow the fans to embrace a nickname for the team.
The tri cities of Cambridge, Waterloo and Kitchener is the largest metro area situated in between Toronto and Ottawa. With a population of 535,154, Waterloo/Cambridge/Kitchener is the tenth largest population centre in Canada, and there is reason to believe a CPL team could work. German giants Borussia Dortmund have teamed up with Waterloo’s League 1 side to form BVB International Academy Waterloo, and if the partnership is successful then perhaps we could seeing something akin to what Ottawa have with Atlético. There’s also a few stadium options available, with both Waterloo’s Warrior Field and University Stadium being possible stadiums that expansion – could house a CPL team.
Possible name: Borussia Waterloo – If Dortmund and Waterloo are to continue their partnership into the CPL, then it’s conceivable that a potential CPL team in the area will have a name similar to the one they have at League 1 level. BVB International Academy Waterloo doesn’t roll quite off the tongue, so Borussia Waterloo would represent a more cleaned up name.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
With the success of HFX Wanderers, it seems inevitable that Halifax will continue to grow as a sports market. The Newfoundland Growlers have shown that basketball can work in Atlantic Canada, so to add a second team and natural rival would even more basketball related excitement in the area! Scotiabank Centre has in the past hosted Canadian college basketball finals and Canada national basketball games, so a basketball calibre arena is already there and waiting for any potential CEBL Halifax team!
Possible name: Halifax Tall Ships – Basketball players are usually pretty tall, and Halifax has a long maritime history. It’s a name that would work perfectly for the sport and could give us the potential for a really awesome logo!
Victoria, British Columbia
Very similar to Halifax, Victoria has shown with Pacific FC that the city and Vancouver Island is viable as a sports market in Canada. Also like Halifax, Victoria has a suitable size arena from the get-go, with the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. Its 7,400 capacity would instantly make it one of the biggest in the league!
Possible name: Van Isle Eagles – The name would solidify the Victoria-based team as Vancouver Islands team, following a similar model to Pacific FC. Vancouver Island is also home to many Bald Eagles, a powerful creature that soars above everything else! Doesn’t that just sound like a perfect name for a basketball team?
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