The CCCRL Western Cities Were Revealed – Analysis

Canada Ravens player Janai Haupapa is tackled at Southern Cross Group Stadium

It is official. The CCCRL (Canada Co-Operative Championship Rugby League) western cities were revealed on Monday afternoon. Vancouver came as no surprise as it is by far the largest city in British Columbia. The real question was which cities would represent Alberta and Saskatchewan. It was announced today that those cities would be Calgary, Alberta, and Regina, Saskatchewan.

CCCRL Western Cities Revealed on Monday Afternoon

Big News for All Three Canadian Cities

For all three cities and provinces, this is the first time they will have a major rugby team in league or union. Also, with this announcement, all three cities get to support their local rugby teams in Canada. It is important to note that this means supporting both a men’s and a women’s team, so it is a big deal for all these three cities to get teams.

Sports Analysis on All Three Cities

Vancouver

The question with Vancouver was when they would get a major rugby team. There has been speculation that Vancouver could get an MLR or a NARL team. However, it ends up being the CCCRL that will give Vancouver its first major rugby team. The city of Vancouver currently has four professional sports teams. This includes professional ice hockey, box lacrosse, soccer, and Canadian football teams. They also have a minor-league baseball affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays called the Vancouver Canadians.

Calgary

For Calgary, the fourth-largest city in Canada, getting a CCCRL team is also deserved in a different way.  Yes, they have a female gridiron football team with the Calgary Rage. However, they lost their women’s hockey team, the Calgary Infernos in 2019 after the CWHL folded. Since then, there has not been any talk of a return of a Calgary team into the NWHL.

So, getting a women’s team like this is a huge plus for the city of Calgary. They also have four professional sports teams with ice hockey, box lacrosse, soccer, and Canadian football teams. Calgary is a growing sports hotbed as their pro soccer team Cavalry FC played their first-ever game in 2019.

Regina

Lastly, there is Regina, the second biggest city in Saskatchewan. It is also the only provincial capital from the Western cities. Regina is known for Saskatchewan’s most popular professional sports team with the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Yes, there has been a recent trend of professional sports teams to Saskatchewan, but all of those teams have gone to Saskatoon. Regina only has one professional sports team, so there is more than enough room to make men’s and women’s rugby league teams mainstream in Regina. Regina, like Calgary, has a female gridiron football team called the Regina Riots that play in the Western Women’s Canadian Football League (WWCFL).

Rivalries that Exist Between these Three Cities

Since Calgary and Vancouver have several professional sports teams, they have rivalries in different sports. The most notable one is the one between the Vancouver Canucks and the Calgary Flames in the NHL. One of the most notable playoff series between the two teams was the playoffs in 1994. The Flames were winning the series 3-1 but lost the next three games in overtime and lost the series 3-4 to the Canucks.

However, Calgary right now has bragging rights over Vancouver in professional soccer. The CPL side Cavalry FC eliminated the more established MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the 2019 Canadian Championship. It was a shocking result as the Canadian Premier League played their first game in 2019 while the Whitecaps have been in MLS since 2011.

In the CFL, one can consider all three cities to be rivals. There are only five teams in the Western Division and three of them contain Calgary, Regina, and Vancouver. The BC Lions have not fared well recently against both teams from 2010 onwards. The Calgary Stampeders eliminated the BC Lions from the CFL playoffs in both 2014 and 2015. They were also eliminated in the CFL playoffs in 2010 and 2013 by the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Saskatchewan eliminated Calgary in the 2010 CFL playoffs but were eliminated by Calgary in the 2012 CFL playoffs. Also, according to stampeders.com, the first-ever game for the Stampeders was against the then Regina Roughriders.

The CCCRL Western Division Cities Overview

Regina is one of only two provincial capitals to have a CCCRL team. The other is Toronto, which was revealed as one of the three CCCRL eastern cities. This is while Vancouver and Calgary are the third and fourth-largest cities in Canada. They are all fast-growing cities, especially the census metropolitan areas according to StatCan from 2016-20. Calgary’s population grew by 10.82 percent. Regina also grew its population by 11.29 percent and Vancouver by 11.13 percent within that same time period.

These teams will start to play in 2022. However, it is important to note that all three CCCRL western cities will not play in their home markets until 2023. This is because the 2022 CCCRL season will take place in Toronto. It is also important to note that as of right now the CCCRL provides the only major women’s team in Vancouver. Hopefully, this aspires athletes in Western Canada to pursue sports at the professional level within their own country.

Like the Eastern Division teams, the names of the Western Division teams have not been revealed yet. However, the most important part of the business has been done. Congrats to the six cities selected to have a CCCRL team.

 

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