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Wanderers to celebrate 100th game on Labour Day

By Evan Taylor Sep 2, 2022 | 12:21 PM

Fans taking in a Wanderers games in Halifax, NS. Photo: HFX Wanderers.

The Halifax Wanderers will play their 100th game on Labour Day against the visiting Ottawa Valour.

As part of the celebrations, the team has hidden 100 tickets around the HRM for fans to find.

Wanderers Head of Soccer Operations Matt Fegan says that in their first three seasons the highlights have included hosting MLS teams in sold-out Canadian Championship matches, their second-place finish in the 2020 season (in a shortened season that ended with a tournament in PEI due to the pandemic), but he says the support throughout has been the most exciting aspect of the team’s journey.

“The Wanderers have been consistently the most well-attended team throughout the existence of the CPL, and in many ways, we’ve become the cinderella story in terms of how to build a club,” Fegan said. “Part of that is because there is already a strong soccer community here, and our stadium is located in the heart of the city which helps make it a great atmosphere.”.

Although the support has remained strong throughout the existence of the Wanderers Fegan does want to see on-field improvements by the time the Wanderers reach game 200. “We want to be consistently making the playoffs in the future, we have the best support in the league and we want to match that with our on-field product,”.

The Wanderers are making strides in developing their recruitment and player development programs, most recently launching an affiliated U23 team comprised of players from around Atlantic Canada.

On the recruiting front, Fegan believes Halifax is unique in many ways from the other seven teams in the league and as such has a unique appeal to players. “For Atlantic Canadians, this is where they should want to play, we have a stadium in the heart of Atlantic Canada’s biggest city so we know that every game there are people in the stands who see the pinnacle of soccer in the region and want to be a part of it,”.

Fegan understands that most players in the CPL have dreams of going onto bigger leagues around the world and they want to be known as a place where players can grow. “Living and playing soccer in Halifax is a great experience for local players but also for our international talent, it’s a great city with lots to do, the cost of living is low compared to some of the other teams and there are lots of eyes on our team as the only CPL team in the region,” Fegan said.

He also says the fact that Wanderers games are well attended in a stadium in the heart of the city that has the fans right on top of the action makes it appear like an exciting production on TV is a huge factor in drawing players to the team.

Fegan says the team is still exploring the idea of a permanent stadium or an expansion to the existing grounds. Those plans are still in a very early stage and Fegan suggested they may require the help of another sports organization that would want to share the use of a facility. “I think we have already made the case that a permanent stadium is something that can be sustained by our club and hopefully a collaboration with another program whether it’s Rugby Canada or a women’s professional team which is an idea that’s gained traction recently,” Fegan said.

Stephen Hart has managed the Wanderers for all 99 of their games so far,  the former Team Canada coach is known for wanting his teams to play an exciting brand of soccer with build-up from the back and a reliance on wingers that facilitate the team’s attacking play.

The Wanderers come into their 100th match in poor form winless in their last six matches, losing five of those matches.

“Everybody knows the situation,” Hart, said this week. “We’ve been working really hard as a staff, myself and the players to try and get that balance right. We weren’t happy with the result of the last game, but the performance was a lot better, and we would like to take that into the next game and certainly the training this week has shown that from the players.”

Kick-off for the 100th game gets underway at 3:00 p.m. and during the game, there will be multiple giveaways and special celebrations to honour the occasion.


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