Tensions are rising in the Canadian Premier League as the end of the regular season and the playoffs loom, with two prestigious titles still up for grabs. One question remains as teams leave it all out on the field in the fight to win the regular season and go on to playoff glory: What are they playing for?
The Canadian Premier League today announced two new trophies, and new nomenclature for its most coveted club awards, the Canadian Premier League Shield and the North Star Cup, which will be awarded this fall to the League’s 2023 regular season winners and playoff champions, respectively.
The pair of trophies, designed with the fans and communities at the heart of Canadian soccer culture in mind, were developed in tandem and represent the highest achievements in Canada’s domestic men’s soccer league.
“There is nothing like the commitment that comes with the battle for a regular season title and the excitement of the CPL Final ahead. We’re especially lucky to be experiencing one of the most competitive years in league history, which makes the fight for these trophies even more fun to watch,” said Mark Noonan, Commissioner, Canadian Premier League. “I am thrilled to introduce the Canadian Premier League Shield and the North Star Cup today and am looking forward to presenting them to the deserving champions over the coming weeks.”
The introduction of the new names and hardware for the 2023 season follows CPL Commissioner Mark Noonan’s decision to recognize the league’s regular season winners as well as its playoff champions, which was officially implemented in 2022 and emphasizes the need to honour both the team that was consistently the best performer over a 28-game season as well as the team that triumphs in the postseason.
Along with the trophies, the CPL’s regular season winners and playoff champions will each earn the opportunity to compete against the best clubs in the region by securing berths in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup, the premier club competition within North and Central America and the Caribbean.
The Canadian Premier League Shield will be presented to the 2023 regular season winners. The shield is emblematic of the fans and the communities who are the lifeblood of the sport in Canada, the diverse group of people who are bonded by a shared love of the Canadian game and are creating a unique soccer culture in each CPL community from coast to coast.
The design of the Canadian Premier League Shield, made of sterling silver with gold leaf accents, features 13 points on its outer edge, representing Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories. All 13 points are angled inward toward the CPL logo at the heart of the shield, a stylish combination of the Canadian maple leaf and the North Star, central motifs that bind both the Shield and its sister trophy, the North Star Cup. The Shield measures approximately 46 centimetres in diameter and weighs approximately 20 pounds.
Once a regular season winner has lifted the Shield in early October, all focus will immediately shift to the innovative new five-team playoff format that will be contested for the first time in the CPL’s milestone fifth season in 2023, and the Cup that will be lifted at the end of that playoff run.
The North Star Cup will replace the North Star Shield, which was previously awarded to the CPL’s champions from 2019 to 2022. The design of the Cup will continue to exemplify the League’s commitment to bringing soccer to communities across Canada and serving as a guiding light for the sport in the country, as embodied by the North Star motif.
The North Star Cup will be unveiled as part of the festivities surrounding the CPL Final, which will take place either Saturday, Oct. 28 or Sunday, Oct. 29. The location of the CPL Final will be determined when the top two teams from the regular season standings square off for the chance to host the championship game in their opening match of the 2023 playoffs.
Both trophies were designed by ÉPICO Studios, led by Principal, Creative Director and Producer Richard Levy. Levy is an industry leader in innovative trophy creation who has contributed his expertise to some of the world’s most viewed soccer tournaments and projects, including designing the Copa América Centenario, Concacaf Champions Cup, Concacaf Gold Cup, Concacaf Nations League and MLS Cup ‘Philip F. Anschutz’ trophies.