With Hurricane Fiona about to bear down on Nova Scotia, the scheduled Canadian Premier League game Saturday between Pacific FC and the HFX Wanderers of Halifax has been shifted to Sunday at 11 a.m. PT.
The hurricane, which moved northward as a Category 4, is expected to be Category 2 by the time it approaches Nova Scotia on Friday night and is forecast to be listed as a “powerful post-tropical storm” with winds gusting between 63 and 100 kilometres-per-hour as it lashes across Halifax on Saturday.
“With the safety of our community, fans, staff and players in mind, we all agreed it was best to push back the match to a time where conditions are expected to be much better,” HFX president and founder Derek Martin said in a statement.
“We appreciate Pacific FC, the Canadian Premier League and OneSoccer for accommodating our request to reschedule.”
HFX, which leads the CPL in attendance with an average of 5,939 fans per game, plays on natural grass at Wanderers Ground. The conditions Sunday are unknown but PFC is preparing for remnants of the storm to maybe still be lingering on a soggy pitch.
“The guys might be choosing the [longer] six-studs for footwear,” noted PFC head coach James Merriman.
“Nobody knows what the field condition will be, and we have to be prepared to play in any conditions. In terms of training schedule, all this does is just push back our preparation 24 hours.”
The game is considered crucial for PFC (10-7-7), which is tied with Valour FC of Winnipeg in the fourth and final playoff position. Valour FC holds the tiebreaker but PFC has a game in hand with four remaining. Only five points separate the top-five clubs in the table. The Wanderers (8-12-5 in wins-losses-draws) find themselves out of that group, in seventh place and eight points adrift of a playoff spot with three games remaining, and needing a miracle down the stretch drive.
The Tridents are scheduled to fly out today. The flight distance between Victoria and Halifax is 5,832 kilometres, making the match-ups between PFC and HFX the third-longest distance travelled in the world between soccer clubs in a domestic Premiership league.