Could this be the first instance of travelling support in Canadian Premier League history?
HFX Wanderers FC supporters Michelle Murray and Yvon Theriaut were on hand – Wanderers flag proudly on display – for the club’s 1-0 pre-season win over local outfit Inter RD on Friday in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Though the match drew but a handful of spectators, and was played some 3000 kilometres away from Halifax, the couple said they wouldn’t miss it for the world.
“We have a cab that’s sitting back there in the parking lot, waiting for the game to end,” Murray said. “It’s a hundred dollar cab ride, but this is really priceless. It’s a priceless day.”
The loyal pair were staying at a resort about a half an hour away from where the league was posted up, a fortuitous coincidence as their vacation was booked well before they heard the Wanderers would also be heading to the Caribbean for training.
“We saw that the Wanderers were down here training and so we reached out to the club (to see) if we would be able to come to a game,” Murray explained. “And here we are! I feel like we’re sitting (in) sort of (a) VIP section with the hottest ticket in town, seeing these guys play for the first time.”
Wanderers players like defender Chakib Hocine made sure to stop by and greet the couple – who were celebrating their wedding anniversary – upon seeing the club’s crest in the stands.
“It was very, very nice for me and for us,” Hocine told CanPL.ca. “I was surprised a little bit, seriously, because I didn’t expect to see them, but I was so happy, also. It’s nice, because we kind of knew it before, but now it’s proved, we have awesome fans. We’re looking forward to the season and we’re hoping to see them in the stadium.”
Murray said: “Some of them came over and shook our hands and said, ‘Thanks a lot!’ They were very friendly. You’re almost like, ‘Wow, these guys are celebrities.'”
While Murray and Theriaut are season ticket holders, they are not sure they’ll be making another away trip quite like this one in 2019.
“Yeah, this could be our only away trip,” Murray joked.