April 26, 2011 MLS--Voyageurs Cup Fuels Renewal Of Canadian Rivalries (from MLSsoccer.com)

Voyageurs Cup fuels renewal of Canadian rivalries
Canuck sides begin Nutrilite Championship trophy chase this week
Duane Rollins
April 26, 2011

TORONTO – For longtime Canadian soccer fans, there is likely no more important club competition than the Nutrilite Canadian Championship. The 2011 edition 
of the competition kicks off Wednesday, with Toronto FC taking on the NASL’s FC Edmonton and the Vancouver Whitecaps playing the NASL’s Montreal Impact 
(Both matches are at 8 pm ET).
Although every fan wants their club to do well in league play, the NCC offers a chance for national bragging rights and to represent Canada 
internationally in the CONCACAF Champions League. However, another reason may explain why the competition resonates so strongly with supporters: 
the Voyageurs Cup, which is awarded to the winner and represents the most prestigious professional soccer trophy in Canada.
The trophy, named after the supporters group of the Canadian national teams, predates the NCC by six years and was the brainchild of Canadian fans 
at a time when no similar trophy existed. From 2002 until the Canadian Soccer Association took over in 2008, the Voyageurs oversaw all aspects 
of competition for the trophy and funded it entirely.
According to Jamie MacLeod, an organizer for the Voyageurs, the cup's history helps to create a special bond between the supporters and the competition.
“It’s a unique situation,” said MacLeod, who came of age attending NASL Whitecaps games as a child and has held season tickets for Toronto FC since 
the club's inception. “No other country that I know of has a national cup that was created by and promoted by the supporters. It creates a feeling 
of ownership.”
MacLeod finds it particularly meaningful that the Cup materialized during “dark days” for Canadian club soccer. It had been a decade since the failure 
of the Canadian Soccer League in 1992 and the possibility of Canadian teams in MLS was still just a pipe dream. 

Through several hundred small donations, the Voyageurs took matters into their own hands and bought a cup just after the CSA shelved a plan to create 
a Canadian league. They initially presented the trophy to the Canadian side with the best record in USL play, awarding it for the first time in 2002 
to the Montreal Impact.
The Impact retained that title for each of the next six seasons before the Voyageurs Cup would be thrust into the mainstream through the NCC's inception 
in 2008. MacLeod says the creation of the NCC brought the cup competition to heights not imagined by its founders.
“It lends credibility across the board to what [the Voyageurs] are doing,” he said. ”It helps us reach people and spread our message of the importance 
of supporting local soccer no matter where you are.”

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