Canadian Premier League Finals

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Canadian Premier League Finals
Organising bodyCanadian Premier League
Qualifier forCONCACAF Champions Cup
Current championsForge FC
(4th title)
Most successful club(s)Forge FC
(4 titles)
Television broadcastersOneSoccer
2023 Canadian Premier League final

The Canadian Premier League Final is the annual championship game of the Canadian Premier League (CPL), the top level of Canadian soccer. It is played as a single match hosted by the winner of the first semifinal against the winner of the second semifinal at the conclusion of the league's annual playoff. The finals winner is awarded the North Star Cup trophy and earns a berth in Round One of the CONCACAF Champions Cup.

The CPL uses a playoff tournament following the regular season to determine its annual league champion, a method common to every other major North American sports league. This format differs from most soccer leagues around the world, which consider the club with the most points at the end of the season to be the champion. Since 2023, the league has honoured the regular season winners with the CPL Shield. Neither the CPL Shield or the North Star Cup are to be confused with a further national championship, the Canadian Championship which brings together teams from multiple leagues in a knock-out format. All three competitions provide direct entry to the CONCACAF Champions Cup.

The inaugural finals were played as a two-legged tie on October 26 and November 2, 2019 in which Forge FC defeated Cavalry FC. Forge FC is the most successful team in finals history, winning a second title in 2020, a third in 2022, and a fourth in 2023.


Different formats and methods of qualification have been used for each of the first five CPL seasons.


The 2019 finals were contested between the winners of the Spring and Fall seasons.[1] The championship was contested as a two-legged tie, with each team hosting one leg at home. The winner was determined by aggregate score but if the aggregate score was tied, the team with the most away goals wins the series. A penalty shoot-out was the final tiebreaker.


The 2020 season saw the end of the split season format, with the 2020 finals scheduled to be contested between the top-seeded regular season team and the winner of a playoff between the second and third-placed teams.[2] However, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the season format was scrapped and replaced with a single-site tournament with a two-stage regular season. The 2020 final was contested in a single match between the two top-seeded teams from the four-team second stage.[3]


The 2021 season brought in a new four-team single leg knockout playoff with the two first round winners advancing to the final.[4] The higher-seeded finalist hosts the single leg game. If a match is tied at the end of normal playing time, extra time is played (two periods of 15 minutes each) and, if necessary, followed by a penalty shoot-out to determine the winners.[5]

Prior to the start of the 2022 season, the league announced that playoff semi-finals would switch to a two-legged format but that the final would continue to be played as a single match hosted by the higher-seeded team.[6]


Beginning with the 2023 season, the league introduced a five-team Page playoff format.[7] The league retained this format for the 2024 season.[8]

Play-in roundFirst semifinalSecond semifinalFinal
1First-place teamFirst semifinal winner
2Second-place teamSecond semifinal winner
First semifinal loser
QuarterfinalQuarterfinal winner
3Third-place team
4Fourth-place teamPlay-in round winner
5Fifth-place team


Season Date Champions Score Runners-up Venue Attendance Television
2019 Leg 1 October 26 Forge FC 1–0[9] Cavalry FC Tim Hortons Field 10,486 OneSoccer, CBC Sports
Leg 2 November 2 1–0[10] ATCO Field 5,831
2020 September 19 Forge FC 2–0 HFX Wanderers FC Alumni Field 0[a] OneSoccer, CBC Sports
2021 December 5 Pacific FC 1–0 Forge FC Tim Hortons Field 7,488 OneSoccer
2022 October 30 Forge FC 2–0 Atlético Ottawa TD Place Stadium 14,992[11] OneSoccer
2023 October 28 Forge FC 2–1 (a.e.t.) Cavalry FC Tim Hortons Field 13,925 OneSoccer
  1. ^ Match was played behind closed doors.

Records and statistics[edit]

Finals wins[edit]

Club W L App Years of appearance
Forge FC 4 1 5 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023
Cavalry FC 0 2 2 2019, 2023
Pacific FC 1 0 1 2021
HFX Wanderers FC 0 1 1 2020
Atlético Ottawa 0 1 1 2022

Champions records in CONCACAF competitions[edit]

From 2019 until 2021, the CPL champion earned Canada's berth in the following year's CONCACAF League.[12][13] Since 2023, the champion has qualified to CONCACAF Champions Cup.

Year Club Result
2019 Forge FC[a] Round of 16
2020 Forge FC Quarter-finals
2021 Forge FC Semi-finals
2022 Pacific FC Round of 16
CONCACAF Champions League/Cup
Year Club Result
2022 Forge FC[b] Round of 16
2024 Forge FC Round one
  1. ^ For the inaugural CPL season, Forge FC qualified as the winner of the 2019 Canadian CONCACAF League series.
  2. ^ Forge reached the Champions League due to their placement in the 2021 CONCACAF League, which they qualified for as 2020 CPL champions. Direct Canadian Premier League berths were only first awarded in 2023.[14]


Player Club(s) Goals Appearances
Canada Alessandro Hojabrpour Pacific FC, Forge FC 2 (2021, 2022) 3 (2021, 2022, 2023)
Canada David Choinière Forge FC 2 (2019, 2022) 6 (20192, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023)
Canada Tristan Borges Forge FC 2 (2019, 2023) 5 (20192, 2021, 2022, 2023)
Canada Maxim Tissot Forge FC, Atlético Ottawa 1 (2020) 2 (2020, 2022)
Sweden Alexander Achinioti-Jönsson Forge FC 1 (2020) 6 (20192, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023)
Belgium Béni Badibanga Forge FC 1 (2023) 1 (2023)
Somalia Ali Musse Cavalry FC 1 (2023) 1 (2023)


Since 2023, the winning team has been presented with the North Star Cup. The trophy was designed by ÉPICO Studios, a design agency that had previously designed trophies for the Copa América Centenario, CONCACAF Champions Cup, CONCACAF Gold Cup, CONCACAF Nations League, and MLS Cup. The North Star Cup replaced the North Star Shield which had been awarded from 2019 to 2022.[15][16]


Name Location Hosted Years hosted
Tim Hortons Field Hamilton, Ontario 3 2019,[a] 2021, 2023
Alumni Field Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island 1 2020[b]
ATCO Field Foothills County, Alberta 1 2019[a]
TD Place Stadium Ottawa, Ontario 1 2022
  1. ^ a b Venue used for one leg of a two legged final.
  2. ^ Venue selected as a neutral ground.


Yellow card suspensions[edit]

Rules concerning yellow card accumulation in regular season and playoff games and its impact on suspensions in the finals have changed over time. In 2019, yellow card accumulation in regular season games resulted in a suspension of Forge FC defender Bertrand Owundi for the first leg of that year's finals.[17] However, when the format changed in 2020, the finals had appeared to have become exempt from suspensions.[18]

The CPL's 2022 Competition Guidelines established that the league's "Championship matches" would be exempt from any yellow card accumulation suspensions and that a fines would replace any suspensions.[19] Although the league later announced changes to yellow card suspensions and their impact on playoffs games on the eve of the 2022 playoffs, this change did not affect the rules for the final.[20]

Red card suspensions[edit]

In the final match of the 2019 Canadian Premier League fall season, Dominic Samuel of Forge FC received a red card for two cautionable offences, and was subsequently suspended for the first leg of the finals.[21] Forge FC would suffer a similar fate in 2022 when their captain Kyle Bekker was sent off in the second leg of the 2022 CPL semifinals against Cavalry, and prevented him from participating in the final against Atlético Ottawa.

Players sent-off in the finals[edit]

List of sent off players
Player Club Match Minute Type Score Final
Canada Joel Waterman Cavalry FC (a) 2019 final (1st leg) 37' Red card 0–0 1–0
Canada Tristan Borges[a] Forge FC (h) 69' Red card[a] 1–0
Panama Omar Browne Forge FC (h) 2021 final 90+1' Yellow card Yellow-red card 0–1 0–1
  1. ^ a b Borges's red card was rescinded by Canada Soccer after the match.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jacques, John (June 21, 2019). "Canadian Premier League Announces Championship Format". Northern Tribune. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  2. ^ Rhodes, Benedict (February 21, 2020). "Canadian Premier League releases 2020 schedule and format". Waking the Red. Archived from the original on February 26, 2020. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  3. ^ "The Island Games". Canadian Premier League. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  4. ^ O'Connor-Clarke, Charlie (June 24, 2021). "CPL reveals 2021 season format: 28-game schedule to conclude with four-team playoff for championship". Canadian Premier League. Retrieved June 24, 2021.
  5. ^ Thompson, Marty (November 17, 2021). "2021 CPL Final: Tentative dates set for championship match next weekend". Canadian Premier League. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  6. ^ "2022 CPL Schedule presented by WestJet: Balanced regular season, more weekend matchups unveiled". Canadian Premier League. February 3, 2022. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  7. ^ Jacques, John (March 15, 2023). "The Majority Of CPL Teams Will Be Included In New Playoff Format". Northern Tribune. Retrieved March 16, 2023.
  8. ^ "2024 CPL Competition Guidelines". Canadian Premier League. April 12, 2024. Archived from the original on April 12, 2024. Retrieved April 12, 2024.
  9. ^ "Borges, Carducci shine in red-card laden Leg 1 tilt". October 26, 2019.
  10. ^ "Forge FC crowned CPL champions in win over Cavalry". November 2, 2019.
  11. ^ Wheeler, Gareth [@GarethWheeler] (October 30, 2022). "14,992 at the #CanPL final. Well done to the fans and fantastic support" (Tweet). Retrieved October 30, 2022 – via Twitter.
  12. ^ Spencer, Donna (November 2, 2019). "Forge claim inaugural CPL championship with gritty win over Cavalry". CBC Sports. The Canadian Press. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  13. ^ "CONCACAF creates club competition opening for a CPL team". Sportsnet. The Canadian Press. February 12, 2019. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  14. ^ Benedict Rhodes (February 14, 2022). "Forge become first CPL team to play in the Concacaf Champions League: How did they get here?". Canadian Premier League. Retrieved October 22, 2023.
  15. ^ "Canadian Premier League announces new trophies". Canadian Premier League. September 21, 2023. Archived from the original on September 21, 2023. Retrieved September 21, 2023.
  16. ^ Jacques, John (September 21, 2023). "Canadian Premier League Announces Brand New Trophies". Northern Tribune. Archived from the original on September 21, 2023. Retrieved September 21, 2023.
  17. ^ Milton, Steve (October 21, 2019). "Steve Milton: It's a blood feud between Forge and Cavalry for first CPL title". The Hamilton Spectator. Retrieved October 16, 2022.
  18. ^ Jacques, John (August 17, 2020). "Canadian Premier League Changes Yellow Card Accumulation Rule". Northern Tribune. Retrieved October 16, 2022.
  19. ^ "2022 CPL Competition Guidelines". Canadian Premier League. April 5, 2022. Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  20. ^ Jacques, John (October 15, 2022). "CPL Changes Disciplinary Rule Ahead Of Playoffs". Northern Tribune. Retrieved October 16, 2022.
  21. ^ Milton, Steve (October 21, 2019). "Steve Milton: It's a blood feud between Forge and Cavalry for first CPL title". The Hamilton Spectator. Retrieved October 16, 2022.
  22. ^ "Forge FC's Tristan Borges wins appeal, will play 2nd leg of final". Sportsnet. The Canadian Press. October 31, 2019. Retrieved March 20, 2020.