HFX Wanderers set to become first Canadian Premier League team to resume training

The game ball sits on a pedestal ahead of the inaugural soccer match of the Canadian Premier League between Forge FC of Hamilton and York 9 in Hamilton on April 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Lynett

HFX Wanderers FC is the first Canadian Premier League team to receive approval from local government and health authorities to resume training.

The league says the Halifax-based franchise will start voluntary closed-door workouts on Monday at Soccer Nova Scotia.

Under the CPL's training protocol, the team will begin with non-contact, individual or small group sessions which will adhere to safety protocols and physical distancing measures for players and staff.

"We're grateful for our Nova Scotia chief medical officer of Health Dr. (Robert) Strang's leadership during this difficult period and in providing us guidelines as a business to safely get our players back on the pitch while protecting the public and our staff," HFX Wanderers president Derek Martin said in a statement.

"This is the first step towards getting back to entertaining our loyal fans and once again bringing joy to our community"

Wanderers players returning to Halifax after travelling home when training was originally suspended will self-quarantine for 14 days before getting back to training.

The eight-team CPL was scheduled to start its second season on April 11 but postponed the kickoff on March 20, due to the pandemic.

The suspension of the regular season came one week after the CPL said it was halting pre-season training for all its clubs for 14 days. The league has remained on hiatus since then.

Now the CPL is looking to resume training — likely a staggered return depending on local health and government restrictions.

The league has not yet detailed its plans for the 2020 regular season although it appears it is looking east.

The P.E.I. government confirmed Thursday that it has been approached by the Halifax team "to see if our province would be interested in hosting the Canadian Premier League 2020 season."

The CPL has declined comment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2020.

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