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Hurricanes chose to host men's soccer nationals in Cornwall

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CORNWALL, P.E.I. – The Holland College Hurricanes will host the national men’s soccer championship in Cornwall in November.

The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) awarded the college the event in June 2017, but the site was only finalized on Tuesday, said Holland College’s director of athletics and recreation. Albert Roche said it also considered the turf at UPEI and in Summerside before committing to stage the event at the Terry Fox Sports Complex.

“We were confident with . . . the facility and what it had to offer, and it was certainly bolstered by their commitment to new turf, which brought the quality of that site up,” Roche said Wednesday. “It’s an exciting chance for them to baptize their new field with a national championship.”

The town recently decided to apply for $100,000 in provincial funding to help offset the $892,400 project. Construction is expected to last about a month and begin in mid-July.

The Hurricanes have played their home games in Cornwall for years and hosted the national women’s tournament there in 2012. Roche said he has been talking with the coaching staff for the men’s team about hosting nationals on the fresh pitch.

“They’re looking forward to playing the regular season there, and obviously that gave us the advantage of getting as much familiarity on the new turf as possible,” Roche said.

Roche said the college’s athletics department is familiar with the facility and its amenities, which include a clubhouse and a media tower, where the games can be livestreamed from.

Hosting an outdoor event during the second week of November can be challenging. While it didn’t snow in 2012, Roche recalled it was close.

“It seemed to get colder as the week progressed, and the nights were crisp.”

But, he said, the falls have been pretty good on the East Coast during the past few years, and he hopes that continues.

The Hurricanes will enter the 2018-19 season after earning a bronze medal at last year’s nationals in Nanaimo, B.C., and having been ranked in the top five nationally for a number of years.

“(Coach) Jon Vos is working hard to fill some pretty key voids,” said Roche, referring to the graduation of key players like James Mallard, Ibra Sanoh and Charles Aondo.

“At the same time, playing at home just might prove to be that one little bit of an advantage we may need.”

The Hurricanes don’t have to look too far for an example. The UPEI Panthers finished third at the U Sports championship when they hosted in 2014.

“I think home-cooking proved to be a pretty good dish,” Roche said.

Hosting the nation

A little more about the 2018 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association men’s soccer championship.

Where – Terry Fox Sports Complex in Cornwall.

When – Nov. 7-10.

Host team – Holland College Hurricanes.

Competition – Eight teams will compete in the championship with 14 games being played during the event.

Did you know? The Hurricanes have hosted a number of national championships in recent years, including men’s volleyball in 2015 and women’s volleyball in 2016, as well as golf and men’s basketball during the 2016-17 academic year. This will be the first time it hosts the men’s soccer nationals.

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