There were 8.5 attendees to the inaugural Winnipeg CanPL Supporters Group meeting. It was 8.5 because one of the supporters was just there to support a supporter. We don’t have a name, crest, or colours yet, but we do have passion and opinions. On the agenda were items like what we know about the league and a background of what is coming, ideas for who we are, how we’ll work with ownership, and what we want to accomplish as a supporters group.
We discussed what we’ve heard and read about the prospective new league. There certainly is lots of excitement from the crew here and we’re ready to support it, whenever it finally arrives. A great point was raised that the CSA was born in Winnipeg, so we had a duty to lead the growth and success of the CanPL.
Most had heard the rumors in the blogosphere, social media, and more tangible news from Canada Soccer and other supporters groups across the country. The targeted number of teams (the consensus was 8-12), the locations (please be Winnipeg, please be Winnipeg), and which entities might be involved (likely CFL, possible NHL?) were all debated. It was agreed that the rumoured ownership groups involved have the financial wherewithal and sporting experience to support and grow the game.
But they will need our help. We all agreed that we’d have to be very connected with the ownership group and make sure we work together to promote the team and the game day experience. We want to be heard and have vowed to be a strong voice for CanPL soccer fans in the city. Borussia Dortmund was mentioned up as a possible model for the type of influence we have on the team.
We also had time to reminisce about the glory days of the CSL, and the impact the Fury (Winnipeg of course) had on the city, local players, and the national team. My family had season tickets even though we lived in Northwestern Ontario and I remember my dad and me driving the 3.5 hours to get home on a Sunday night. I could never stay up the whole ride home and Mondays at junior high were always sleepy. We often had to cheer from afar but I will never forget talking with my dad about my favourite players from the Fury, and sometimes the other teams – the late, great DOOOM-E-NIC MO-BIIIL-IOO (as Vic Rauter called him) was a fave.
The discussion finally led to the agonizing wait for more information and what to do until the glorious day came that Winnipeg once again had a fully professional team to call its own. WSA Winnipeg may be the answer. Not all attendees had seen a game and agreed that it would be a good place to start. We all agreed that the team deserved our support and that hopefully some of the players would be able to suit up for the pro team in the future.
We plan to get together again in early March, because the first meeting was about gathering together in the spirit of the game with cold beer, good food, and like minded supporters. Hopefully there will be a formal announcement by CSA that a league has been ratified for the 2018 season, and that they are gathering proposals from prospective ownership groups from coast to coast. And we hope the geographic centre of the country is a central player in the opening season!
Follow the supporters group on Twitter @WpgCanPLSG and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/752234381607635/