The Vancouver Whitecaps announced Wednesday morning that they will be returning to Vancouver for training, starting on July 27th.
Unfortunately, the return to matches at BC Place place will be longer, as the Whitecaps don't anticipate returning to their stadium until later in August.
As the club explained in their statement, this delay was due to “other commitments” which had been made since the club released those dates near the end of May, due to the uncertainty of their return.
Like me, you were probably wondering what those other commitments might be, and why they would be more important than the Whitecaps returning to BC Place. It turns out, the answer is pure magic. No, seriously.
The reason the Whitecaps can't return to BC Place this month is because an interactive family event called "Wings & Wizards" was already booked, a stadium spokesperson confirms.— Rob Williams (@RobTheHockeyGuy) July 21, 2021
Whitecaps did look at other options in the city. #VWFC
If you want to get a sense of what this event has in store, I’d encourage you to check out their promotional video which I’ve included below here.
What’s curious is that this event takes place daily all the way up until September 8th, so I’m not certain why it’s an issue for matches in July, but not August or September. Equally, it’s not the type of event (like a boat show, for example) that would directly interfere with a soccer match. Evidently, BC Place has their reasons nonetheless.
With the Whitecaps now looking at August 21st as their first home date in BC Place, questions have to be asked as to whether or not they could have done more to come home for their final two matches in July. This is only being magnified by the fact that their Canadian counterparts TFC and CF Montreal are already enjoying the splendors of a home crowd.
Especially if this team is well out of the playoff picture by mid-August, the club may rue the decision to wait so long before returning home.
Why the Whitecaps couldn't place a more permanent hold on those July dates, or negotiate more favourable terms with the Wizardry event, is yet another curious chapter in what has been a very strange Whitecaps season.