Canada’s two senior soccer competitions – the men’s Challenge Trophy and women’s Jubilee Trophy – will return to St. John’s, Newfoundland Labrador in October 5 to 10, 2016. The two Sport Chek National Championship competitions return to Canada’s most eastern city for the first time since 2008.
The Sport Chek National Championships are Canada’s premier amateur soccer competitions, with provincial and territory winners pitted against each other at the senior and youth levels on the national stage. Next year will mark the 94th edition of the senior men’s competition and 35th edition of the senior women’s competition.
“We look forward to an excellent Sport Chek National Championships when Newfoundland Labrador hosts our premier senior competitions in 2016,” said Canada Soccer President Victor Montagliani. “The Newfoundland Labrador Soccer Association have always been excellent ambassadors and hosts for our game in Canada.”
The Newfoundland Labrador Soccer Association previously hosted the senior competitions in 1973, 1978, 1989, 2002, and 2008. The province has also hosted numerous Sport Chek National Championships youth competitions, with the U-14’s in 2015 the most recent example.
While the senior men’s competition was inaugurated in 1913 (originally the Connaught Cup Series), Newfoundland Labrador teams have competed in the club competition since 1967. St. Lawrence Laurentians were national runners up in 1975 and 1977 before Holy Cross SC won it all in 1988 – still the only club from the province to win the Challenge Trophy.
When hosting the senior competition, Holy Cross finished fourth in 1973 and St. Lawrence finished third in 1978. Holy Cross were then national runners up in 1989 while St. Lawrence were national runners up in 2002.
While the province’s men’s teams did not fare as well in 2008, a fourth-place finish by EPR Kirby in the Jubilee Trophy was the highest finish by a Newfoundland Labrador team in the women’s competition (most recently equalled in 2014 in Vaughan).
While the competition has sometimes featured professional or semi-professional teams, since the early 1960s the Sport Chek National Championships have strictly featured amateur teams. Since 1973 when the competition was first hosted in Newfoundland Labrador, the competition has featured a Final Round in one host city (instead of national play-downs across the country). Since 2008, the Sport Chek National Championships featuring amateur clubs have been complemented by the Amway Canadian Championship featuring professional clubs.