In Canada, there is a Canada Soccer Hall of Fame located in the nation’s capital in Ottawa, Ontario. However, there is not a known Canadian MLS Hall of Fame or any form of Hall of Fame that recognizes the accomplishments of the club teams. These accomplishments seem to be undervalued, especially in Canada and the U.S.
Canadian MLS Hall of Fame: What Type of Hall of Fame?
The Canadian MLS Hall of Fame should be reasonably large and one that would attract the attention of fans and tourists, not just in Canada, but also worldwide. Ideally, the Hall of Fame should be located near or close to the downtown core of the city.
So what type of Hall of Fame should it be? To start off, it should include the histories of all three Canadian MLS teams, including the history of CF Montréal/Montreal Impact and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, prior to joining MLS. This is because it is important to note the rich history both cities have with the game of soccer and why they both ended up getting MLS teams in the first place.
The three cities that should be considered are the cities that already have MLS teams. They all have the longest history with the professional men’s club game in soccer and with the Canadian Championship. With Toronto though, a lot of the attention of the Hall of Fame would be attracted to the Hockey Hall of Fame. While it may work, the Canadian MLS Hall of Fame would be overshadowed by the Hockey Hall of Fame, a factor that is not applicable with either Montreal or Vancouver. Another idea is to connect it with the MLS stadium itself like with the CFL Hall of Fame with Tim Hortons Field.
Montreal or Vancouver: Reasons for Montreal
Then that leaves Montreal and Vancouver, and to be honest, it was tough pick between the two. However, there are a few factors that Montreal may have over Vancouver. The big one might be television rights. When broadcasting the MLS Hall of Fame nationally, having it in both English and French is easier to do in a bilingual city like Montreal.
Also, with a potential national TV deal, working with TSN and RDS is ideal. There is already a history of MLS with TSN and it is unclear if Apple TV would take notice or take much interest of a Hall of Fame honouring only Canadian MLS teams.
There is also the population size, the population size of the Montreal Metropolitan Area right now is currently at 4,342,000, which is the second largest metropolitan area in Canada (source: Macro Trends). There is also the population of Metro Vancouver at 2,683,000, which is below the MMA by fair margin.
Montreal Will Likely Be Overlooked for the CanMNT Games
— FIFA World Cup 26 Toronto (@FWC26Toronto) May 18, 2023
With Toronto and Vancouver likely getting most of the CanMNT games in the future, Montreal will be left out of the equation more likely than not. While there have not been many games played at BC Place, expect that number to increase with the World Cup coming up. It will also change the game of soccer in British Columbia forever.
However, in terms of the Canadian men’s soccer team, Montreal will likely be left out. The city never hosted any of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers for 2022 and is not part of the hosting for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, this is something that the other two Canadian MLS cities, Toronto and Vancouver, are involved in as of right now.
What Is The Impact of a Potential Canadian MLS Hall of Fame?
To put it simply, it acknowledges, celebrates, and records the performances done by Canadian MLS teams and players.
One only needs to look at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, to see what it means for everyone involved.
Former Montreal Expos right-fielder, Vladimir Guerrero, talked about what it meant to be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame (source: Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum):
“I was surprised and excited to hear that I’m being inducted,” said Guerrero through a translator. “I knew that I would need to wait at least one more year to join the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, but I’m very pleased to join the Canadian hall of fame first, since I was given my first opportunity to play major league baseball in Canada.”
This is also what former Toronto Blue Jays first baseman, Carlos Delgado said about making the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame (source: Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum):
“I’m very honoured and humbled to be selected into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame,” said Delgado. “This is unbelievable news! I always say that you do not play the game for the awards, but if at the end of the day, you get that recognition from your fans and peers, it means a lot. And this is extra special to me because of the relationship that I have with the Toronto Blue Jays and their fans all across Canada.”
There is also a Canada Soccer Hall of Fame based in Ottawa, Ontario. However, it does not highlight the players making a mark in their domestic clubs in Canada, but on how well they do for the CanMNT and the CanWNT. That is not to say that other clubs or competitions cannot be included, but MLS should be seen as the priority to initially start a Hall of Fame with.
Addition of the Canadian Championship and the Canadian Premier League
“Here we are again.”
— Canadian Premier League (@CPLsoccer) November 9, 2023
When the CPL starts getting more years under its belt, the name should change from the “Canadian MLS Hall of Fame” to the “Canadian MLS and CPL Hall of Fame.” There would also be a room full of MLS and CPL teams categorized in alphabetical order. Also, with the CPL’s unique relationship with the Canadian MLS teams, it is a no-brainer to eventually include the Canadian Premier League to the Hall of Fame.
Furthermore, the Canadian Championship should be celebrated and recognized right from the start like with the MLS teams. It is an idea that makes a lot of sense, and is very much connected with the three Canadian MLS teams and the eight CPL teams. Additionally, one can look at including the contributions and importance in the lower levels of the Canada Soccer pyramid like with League1 Canada.
As for other things that can be included, Canadian players making contributions in other leagues and/or the American MLS teams, can also be recognized. An example can be traced with the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame with Jason Bay, who never played for the Blue Jays or the Expos, but had a stellar career in MLB.
Of course, other competitions like the Concacaf-related club competitions and now the Leagues Cup can also be included. Also, honouring teams like the 2015 Montreal Impact in the Concacaf Champions League or the 2017 Toronto FC team can also be looked at and be included in the Hall of Fame. Also, recognizing writers and broadcasters in the Hall of Fame, should also be considered.
Lastly, having a MLS and CPL Hall of Fame shop, seen with the Hockey Hall of Fame shop for example, is also essential as it allows customers to buy merchandise of their favourite Canadian club teams in the shop as well as some specific merchandise from selective European teams that Canadians are currently playing with like FC Bayern Munich, the team that Alphonso Davies currently plays for.
What About Project 8?
— Project 8 (@Project8Sports) January 3, 2024
The Project 8 league can initially be part of the Canadian MLS and CPL Hall of Fame. However, for the growth of the game in this country, once it grows, it should be in a different city. The two cities that come to mind are Calgary and Vancouver. However, Vancouver makes a lot more sense and once the professional women’s soccer league grows, one can have the women’s pro soccer hall of fame in the Western part of Canada one day. That is the same for the lower level divisions of women’s soccer and grassroots to make the Hall of Fame and Museum even more complete.
The Possibility of This Ever Happening
Unfortunately, there has not been any movement in terms of this type of Hall of Fame. Also, the Canada Soccer Association could insist that the Canadian MLS Hall of Fame should be located in Ottawa, where the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame is currently located at. There has also not been talk of a general MLS Hall of Fame in either Canada or the U.S. as of right now (yes, there is a National Soccer Hall of Fame in Frisco, Texas, but it focuses a lot more on the USMNT and the USWNT). That does not mean it cannot happen, but somebody must have the finances and vision to see this through. It would also be something Canadian players playing for their club teams would appreciate and something to aspire for in their careers.
Photo Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports, of CF Montréal Fans Headshot, on May 13, 2023.
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