The 2022 Canadian Premier League season has come to a close, and (stop me if you have ever heard this one before) Forge FC are champions. There are things happening, including the introduction of a new franchise in Vancouver FC, and the potential death of FC Edmonton, but outside of that, what is really happening? Exactly, that’s why we’re here.
In the CPL’s short four-year history, the kits have been highly scrutinized, but sometimes, clubs, in partnership with Macron, of course, have knocked it out of the park. Those are the ones we are focusing on today; the best kit in the history of each club, barring Vancouver FC, considering they have never had one. This is going to be controversial, I won’t pretend otherwise. You will hate this list, but that’s okay! Drop your list in the comments below, and you too can be hated by anyone else with a differing opinion!
Atlético Ottawa – 2022 Away
Hey! It’s only the first one, you don’t need to kill me just yet! Every time I talk to an Atlético supporter about this kit, it’s either loved, or it’s hated. I can certainly see both sides of this argument. For the negative; the colours are entirely different than what the club is known for, but that’s part of the reason I love it. If you didn’t know, the blue, white, and teal make up the colours of the city of Ottawa’s flag, and when you see this shirt in person, you will notice an ‘O’ shape pattern all over. That is the city’s logo.
Much of the reason this kit appears for Ottawa is my general dislike of their Atlético de Madrid-inspired home kit. There’s nothing wrong with it, per se, it’s just not great. Their 2022 version of their home kit was by far their best version, but there have been some pretty horrid ones, including the 2020 attempt that looked like a collared shirt you would buy from Walmart. There’s just something about this away kit this is distinct, and soothes my eyes.
The base blue is just a nice colour, and the white shorts make the whole thing pop. Little splashes of teal add another dynamic, and a little red and white stripe of the cuff of the sleeve brings the club’s normal colours into play, even if for a tiny amount of time. Personally, I would have loved to see Atlético bust these out at TD Place a couple of times this season. It’s just a great kit, one of the best the CPL has ever seen, in my opinion.
Cavalry FC – 2021 Home
Truthfully, Cavalry is one of the teams that was the hardest to decide. Their 2019 version of their home kit was here for a while. but the return of the sash on their 2022 version of the kit was also really nice. One thing was clear, however; the 2020 version was certainly not going to be here. Ultimately, it’s their 2021 home kit that takes the cake.
Why is this the best kit in Cavalry history, you’re certainly asking, as if you seriously care. Well, let me tell you! For one, although I do like the sash that appears on the 2019 and 2022 versions of the home kit, the solid red front just looks better, at least to me. But the thing that really takes this kit over the top for me is the healthy touch of green, a colour that has been important for the club, especially when it comes to their road kits, and alternate logo.
When Cavalry wears white shorts with their red jersey, they look the best. When you throw white socks into that look as well, it just gets even better. Some may not like the healthy amount of green on the collar, the sleeve, and on the back of the socks, but I believe it to be a swell way to incorporate an alternate colour. I can’t wait to see what Cavalry comes up with for 2023, they are usually one of the best-looking teams in the CPL.
FC Edmonton – 2022 Away
FC Edmonton has, unfortunately, had some pretty bad looks in the past, but in 2022, they came out with their best set by far. Their blue and orange kits were in the running, but if you have seen my list of the top 10 kits in the English Premier League this season, you will know that I quite like a white kit, especially when it’s done right. Spoiler alert; FC Edmonton did it right.
A base white kit with light blue accents keeps the kit light and airy. Blue socks with a blue pattern on the sleeves help keep everything from being overwhelmingly white, especially when you have touches of blue in the sponsor, the badge, and the Macron logos around the kit. Perhaps one of the coolest things about this kit for me is something that doesn’t get considered in this list; the matching colours with the seats at Clarke Field. The kit and stadium combination simply couldn’t be better.
Of course, there are more things on the mind of Edmonton’s supporters than what their team wears on the field, right now. There’s a very real chance that the Eddies won’t see the field in 2023, and although their franchise has had its troubles over the years, it would be a shame to see it slip by the wayside again. Hopefully, even if the Eddies don’t make it, Edmonton will be back in the CPL in short order.
Forge FC – 2020-21 Away
There are two teams on this list that, in my opinion, have a distinctly bad history with kits, and Forge are one of them. A team with such a successful history in the CPL is yet to turn out a kit that I love, so we have to settle on their black kit from 2020-21, part of a series that gave every team in the league a black kit, truly a horrible idea. Let’s start with this; why do I dislike Forge’s kits? They just don’t do anything well, in my opinion. The numbers and font are often hard to read, and on their 2022 version, the “Hamilton” word mark on the bottom of the back is possibly my least favourite element of any kit released for the most recent season.
Let’s get on to why the black Forge kit is my favourite. Again, it has more to do with what I dislike about the others, but for the most part, the grey they use has a tendency to be dull, but the black eliminates that, and just looks better, in my opinion. A black base with white numbers means you can actually read them, and the orange accents do just enough to remind you that they are Forge.
What do I want to see from them going forward? For one, embracing black should be a given, especially with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Bulldogs connections available. Their orange kit from 2022 wasn’t too bad, but changing the colour of the shorts to white, much like they had in 2021 (the other kit that could have had this spot), would be a plus. This black kit kept the “Hamilton” at the bottom of the back, but it was subtle, something they should continue with if they are certain it’s something they need to keep. More black and white please, Forge.
Another 2-4: Canada Sent Packing – FC13 Podcast
HFX Wanderers – 2019 Away
HFX has quite possibly one of the strongest kit histories in the Canadian Premier League, and it was quite challenging to decide which one should be considered their best of all time. Looking through their history, one thing became abundantly clear; one of their light blue kits is their best, but which one wasn’t so clear. It came down to their 2019 away kit, and their 2021 away kit, before I sided with the 2019 version.
I did that for a couple of reasons. For one, I liked the light blue sleeves more compared to the dark blue sleeves on the 2021 version. Secondly, the subtle elements of the ‘W’ wave seen in the HFX Wanderers badge makes an appearance throughout the kit, adding another level of personality. Thirdly, and the final major reason, is the blue socks. In the 2021 version, the socks are white, but I much prefer the light blue socks on the 2019 kit.
When I think of HFX, I think of this light blue and white. Having a dark blue kit is totally understandable, but deviating away from the light blue away kit and opting for a grey kit instead was certainly an odd choice for 2022. The tartan pattern was a cool touch for that kit, but my hope for 2023 is a return of the light blue. Preferably, this would be the primary kit for HFX going forward, at least if it was up to me (which it definitely is not).
Pacific FC – 2022 Home
You were probably expecting to see Pacific’s away white kit from 2022 in this spot, and to be totally fair, that is an amazing kit with spectacular meaning, and it is one of the CPL’s best kits, but it’s not the best looking kit Pacific has ever had, in my opinion. Their 2022 wardrobe was insane, featuring that beautiful white kit designed by Coast Salish artist Maynard Thii Hayqwtun Johnny Jr., but their regular home purple takes the cake.
The base purple colour is one of the best in the league, and is something not too many other clubs in the world can pull off. Barely visible on the kit is a design featuring Douglas fir needles, representative of the tree that covers much of Vancouver Island. The white pops on the purple, but “lagoon blue” (or teal) completes the bold colour scheme. This look combines a traditional football look with a cutting-edge and ambitious design, and together, they combine to make Pacific’s best kit in their history.
Going forward, Pacific should continue to work with Indigenous artists for their alternate kit, but they should keep innovating on their regular home kit. Ambition is a good thing, and it’s clear that Pacific has that when it comes to kit design. They aren’t afraid to take risks, and they aren’t worried about potential failure. Pacific has the distinction of being the only team in 2022 to have two kits that I absolutely adore, so I can’t wait to see what they come up with for 2023.
York United – 2022 Home
I know I just said that Atlético Ottawa’s blue kit was one of the best the CPL has ever seen, but it’s not the best. What is the best? Well, in my opinion, it’s exceptionally clear. York United had these exceptional white kits in 2022, featuring their colours of green, blue, and gold, and creatively places the Toronto skyline in the striping. Truly, this is a world-class kit design.
There is only one thing that I could possibly critique with this uniform; the socks. The white socks feature a thick blue stripe at the top, but a touch of green would have been welcome. Other than that tiny little detail, there’s absolutely nothing I don’t love about this look. As previously established, I’m typically a sucker for a good white kit, and everything from York’s colours, to the design of the shirt, down to the simplicity of the shorts, is absolute perfection.
There’s just one unfortunate thing: We probably won’t see this design again, and outside of this kit, York hasn’t done particularly well. York, if you must replace this kit next season, please just make it green or blue, and keep it in the repertoire somehow. Let this be like the Miami Vice jerseys worn by the Heat, and never let this concept die. These are the best kit ever worn by a CPL team without question, in my eyes, so don’t mess with it if you don’t absolutely have to.
Valour FC – 2022 Away
While Forge is one team whose kits I have never been a fan of, Valour steps in and does one worse. Truthfully, I was tempted to leave this spot empty, but I forced myself to come up with something, but in all honestly, I don’t really love the selection I had to make. It’s the best of the bunch in my eyes, but that really doesn’t mean too much when the entire wardrobe should be thrown out. It’s almost like deciding which ugly Christmas sweater you should wear for your important business meeting in the middle of July; there are no good options.
Ultimately, I had to pick their 2019 away kit. It’s really the only kit that Valour has ever had that I don’t dislike, and even this one isn’t special compared to some of the others on this list. The majority of this kit is black, but there are speckles of maroon on the chest, and the ‘V’ can be seen on the back of the jersey, in a light grey colour. Accents of gold at the bottom tie things together, but really, it’s just okay in my eyes.
Valour has given themselves a serious challenge to make a great kit with their colours, and we have seen that so far. Their red kits often look poor, and their recent efforts to include more black have failed in my opinion. Honestly, I don’t know what they could do with their scheme to make a kit that would make me happy (although they certainly don’t care what I think). Limiting the red and gold to just the accent colour on a black jersey (much as they did with this kit) might be the answer, at the end of the day.
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