6 questions ahead of Halifax Wanderers FC’s 2024 season

The 2024 season, beginning April 13, will be the sixth year of competition in the Canadian Premier League. To celebrate its arrival, we at have been asking the same six questions for each of the eight teams playing in the league from coast to coast.

To check out our 6 questions breakdowns for all eight teams, click hereTo see all of our season preview coverage ahead of the sixth year of the CPL, click here.

What can we learn from Halifax Wanderers FC’s 2023 season?

One of the major takeaways from the 2023 season for Halifax was that the complete overhaul of the squad was successful. It’s a risky move sometimes to change your coaching staff and most of your squad in one fell swoop, but the Wanderers got it right, going from seventh in the table to third in one year. 

Eliminating the possibility of a multi-year rebuild is something that has pleased fans on the east coast, with the Wanderers adding head coach Patrice Gheisar and his staff along with some of the league’s best players in the off-season between the 2022 and 2023 seasons. The club nailed their recruitment, and with more changes this year to strengthen the team further, there is reason to believe that the Wanderers can maintain their success in 2024.

It was no secret before that the Wanderers had one of the country’s most passionate fanbases every weekend at Wanderers Grounds, but after a difficult 2022 season, they needed to reignite that flame a little bit. In 2023 they did exactly that, bringing the atmosphere in Halifax to even greater levels with a winning, entertaining team that fed off that support at home and picked up a club-record 28 home points – and hosted their first-ever home playoff game.

Halifax Wanderers Key Statistics

Who are three key players for Halifax Wanderers FC in 2024? 

MF – Lorenzo Callegari

Callegari was one of the best players in the country last season, and was nominated for the CPL’s Player of the Year award at the end of the year. Callegari is a deep-lying playmaker capable of winning the ball in midfield before springing the Wanderers forward in attack, and finished fourth in the league with six assists in 2023. He is consistently one of the best players on the pitch every week, and brings the best out of the players around him.

FW – Massimo Ferrin

Halifax’s attack took a step forward in 2023, and one of the big reasons for that was the addition of Massimo Ferrin. A star for Patrice Gheisar with League1 Ontario’s Vaughan Azzurri, Ferrin transitioned very well to the professional level, leading the Wanderers with eight goals and contributing three assists as well – widely regarded as one of the most dangerous attacking players in the league in 2023.

DF – Dan Nimick 

The Wanderers’ backline was quarterbacked by Dan Nimick in 2023, another new addition to the club last season, and a nominee for Defender of the Year. Nimick was the best attacking defender in the league, leading all CPL defenders in goals (six), assists (three), and successful long passes (180), among other things. He was also strong defensively, finishing second in number of times winning the back back in the defensive third of the pitch (99 times), and fourth in clearances (143) among defenders in the league. Consistently available for Patrice Gheisar’s side, Nimick played 2520 minutes in 2023, good for third most among all outfield players.

What does Halifax Wanderers FC’s 2024 schedule look like? 

Halifax starts their season with a west coast road trip, visiting Pacific FC and Vancouver FC in weeks one and two of the season. They return home for week three, hosting Atlético Ottawa on April 27 for their home opener at Wanderers Grounds, which they will be hoping to make a fortress again in 2024.

Holiday Monday games in Halifax have become a tradition in the CPL, and there will be four of them at Wanderers Grounds in 2024 – Victoria Day (May 20), Canada Day (July 1), Natal Day (August 5), and Labour Day (September 2).

On the final day of the season, Oct. 19, the Wanderers will host York United. After hosting a playoff game at Wanderers Grounds for the first time in 2023, the club will be hoping to do so again in 2024 after the 28-game regular season..

How did the Wanderers approach the off-season?

Christian Volesky (Photo: Monterey Bay FC)

One thing that Halifax needed to address this off-season was the striker position, after Jordan Perruzza returned to Toronto FC after his loan and João Morelli announced his retirement. Tiago Coimbra is a good young striker, and winger Massimo Ferrin can also play up top, but Patrice Gheisar really strengthened this position with the addition of American striker Christian Volesky. 

Volesky has scored 67 goals and tallied 23 assists throughout his professional career spent mainly in the USL Championship, and is expected to be the starter in Halifax. The club also added former York United and Atlético Ottawa forward Ryan Telfer as well, for some added pace in attack, either up top or more likely one of the wings.

An already-good midfield was strengthened as well, with Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé returning to the club, and the additions of international midfielders Giorgio Probo and Vitor Dias. Julian Dunn’s arrival bolsters the backline, and the return of Kareem Sow also boosts the team’s defensive stability. 

What are three key storylines heading into the season? 

Can Halifax get better at holding onto leads? 

Perhaps the biggest storyline going into the season for Halifax is whether or not they can hang on to leads when they get them, something they struggled with in 2023. The Wanderers dropped 18 points from winning positions in 2023, 13 of them on the road, and while no team should be expected to drop zero in a season, 13 points was the difference between them and CPL Shield winners Cavalry FC in the table.

Can the Wanderers pick up more wins away from home? 

That road form in general is another key storyline in 2024 — last year the Wanderers picked up a league-fewest two road wins. They picked up eight road draws, however, and had the second-best home record in the league. If they can turn some of those draws into wins, especially when they’re already leading, they could challenge for top spot in the table.

Can Halifax score more goals after a huge step in the right direction last year? 

It’s no secret that Patrice Gheisar wants his side to play entertaining, attacking football and score a lot of goals, and last year they set a club record with 39 of them. They also conceded the fewest goals in club history, just 32 in 28 regular matches. If the Wanderers can improve both of those metrics, they will be among the teams challenging for trophies in 2024.

Halifax Wanderers head coach Patrice Gheisar (Trevor MacMillan/HFX Wanderers FC)

What are the keys to success for the Halifax Wanderers in 2024?

The Halifax Wanderers were a very good team in 2023, but to take another step forward in 2024, they need to improve their form away from home. With a 2-8-4 record away from home in 2023, they were the third-worst team in the league on the road – something they will need to improve in order to really push for the CPL Shield and potentially the North Star Cup.

They also need to get off to a better start. While they were consistent in sticking to their tactical identity at the start of last season and trusting that the results would follow, which they eventually did, they started their season with a 0-6-2 record. If they can have a better start to the season and turn some of those draws into wins, it could make a huge difference in their push for better playoff positioning. Last season, they had an identical record, total wins, goals scored, and goal difference to Forge FC, eventually separated on the fifth tiebreaker — away goal differential. 

Even just one more goal in one of those first eight matches of the season would have put them in second place and given them a much better shot at making their second-ever CPL Final.

Patrice Gheisar and his staff have strengthened an already-good team, adding some big pieces in midfield and attack in particular that can make a big difference in his second season at the club.