NFL, NBA, NHL stats

HFX Wanderers Soccer Club Sign Canadian Defender Chakib Hocine

January 16, 2019 - Canadian Premier League (CPL) - HFX Wanderers FC News Release

Halifax, N.S. - HFX Wanderers FC have made a key roster move as the club continues to build for the new Canadian Premier League by signing centre-back Chakib Hocine.

27-year-old Hocine joins the Wanderers after an impressive season playing in Finland's second tier of professional soccer, where he helped Ekenäs IF finish third.

The 6-foot 5-inch defender is coming back to play at home as a key member of a core group of Canadian players who will represent the Wanderers and be showcased in the CPL.

"I'm so happy because I want to come back and play in my country and I feel like this is the team I want to play for," Hocine said. "I want to play for Stephen Hart and I want to play for Halifax."

Stephen Hart, the Wanderers head coach, expects the centre-back to play a commanding role for his team, bringing organization to the defence.

"I am looking for him to bring a certain level headed leadership. We scouted him extensively. He is good in the air and comfortable on the ground," said Hart.

The Wanderers boss revealed securing Hocine's signature was "no easy task" because several other teams were chasing him as well.

Signing an imposing defender, who can also bring the ball out from the back, was high on Hart's squad building to-do list.

"Chakib's distribution is quite good, so I think this was essential for us to not only have those qualities but experience and leadership at the back," said Hart.

Born in Algeria - Hocine moved to Canada with his family as a baby - settling in Montreal, where he went on to play with the Impact at academy level and then in the United Soccer League with FC Montreal.

He moved on to Finland last year, as part of a personal dream to test himself in Europe, but Hocine was keen to come home to Canada to be part of the new Canadian Premier League.

"I was hearing about the CPL, everyone was talking about it," Hocine said. "I'm so excited, I know the fans are really nice fans and it's going to be a great season."

Hocine is the sixth confirmed player of the new Wanderers squad following last week's unveiling of Jan-Michael Williams, Elton John, Akeem Garcia and Andre Rampersad from Trinidad and Tobago.

The new additions join the club's inaugural signing Zachary Sukunda.

The Wanderers expect to make more player signing announcements in the coming weeks as the club builds towards the Canadian Premier League's kick-off in April.

• Discuss this story on the Canadian Premier League message board...

Canadian Premier League Stories from January 16, 2019

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.