Battle of the North expands as 2018 Canadian Championship schedule

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The Battle of the North will kick off 6 June 2018 in Laval, Quebec as Première ligue de soccer du Québec (PLSQ) and League1 Ontario entrants join the 2018 Canadian Championship. The competition will culminate 15 August when the 11th Canadian Championship winner is presented the Voyageurs Cup earning themselves a place in the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League and opportunity to play in the FIFA Club World Cup.

The 2018 edition of the Canadian Championship will feature an additional qualifying round with PLSQ champions AS Blainville hosting League1 Ontario (L1O) champions Oakville Blue Devils before traveling to play the return leg 13 June 2018 in Oakville. The winner will face Ottawa Fury FC in the second qualifying round over a home and away series on 20 and 27 June 2018 to determine who will advance to face reigning champions Toronto FC.

Adding teams from the highest levels of competition in Ontario and Quebec builds on the Canadian Content regulations instituted in 2017. All teams were required to start three Canadian players throughout the 2017 Canadian Championship, which will be carried forward in 2018 giving Canadian professionals meaningful minutes in a professional domestic cup competition.

“We are excited to welcome the champions of League1 Ontario and Première ligue de soccer du Québec into an expanded Canadian Championship,” said Canada Soccer General Secretary Peter Montopoli. “This competition is about showcasing Canadian Content at the top level of professional competition and providing an expanded opportunity for Canadian players, clubs and coaches to have the opportunity to compete in a meaningful national competition with the ultimate goal of advancing to the FIFA Club World Cup.”

2017 Canadian Championship winners Toronto FC will open defence of their title in the semi-final round on 18 July 2018 when they travel to face the second qualifying round winners. In the other semi-final, Montreal Impact FC will host Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The return leg will be played a week later on 25 July 2018.

The semi-final round winners will face off in the first leg of the Canadian Championship final round on August 8 before the final match, which will determine Canada’s 2019 CONCACAF Champions League entry, will be played on 15 August 2018.

2018 Canadian Championship Schedule (home team listed first)

First Qualifying Round (1QR)
6 June 2018                             AS Blainville v Oakville Blue Devils
13 June 2018                            Oakville Blue Devils v AS Blainville

Second Qualifying Round (2QR)
20 June 2018                            Winner 1QR v Ottawa Fury FC
27 June 2018                            Ottawa Fury FC v Winner 1QR

Semi-Final Round
18 July 2018                              Winner 2QR v Toronto FC                            
18 July 2018                              Impact Montreal FC v Vancouver Whitecaps FC
25 July 2018                              Toronto FC v Winner 2QR                           
25 July 2018                              Vancouver Whitecaps FC v Impact Montreal FC

Final Round
8 August 2018                         Winner Semi-Final v Winner Semi-Final
15 August 2018                        Winner Semi-Final v Winner Semi-Final

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