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The Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Argonauts.

Sport in Toronto has a long and distinguished history. The city is home to a few historic clubs such as: Granite Club (est. 1836), the Royal Canadian Yacht Club (est. 1852), the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club (est. pre-1827), the Argonaut Rowing Club (est. 1872), Toronto Argonauts football club (est. 1873), the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club (est. 1881), and the Badminton and Racquet Club (est. 1924). Toronto is home to a number of historic venues such as: Christie Pits (est. 1899) Ricoh Coliseum (est. 1921), Varsity Arena (est. 1926), Maple Leafs Garden (est. 1931). The state of professional sport in Toronto has shifted considerably throughout the city's history, contemporaneously with the popularity of each sport in time, and the success of the local franchise in each respective sport.

Toronto had recently hosted parts of the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, and the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. It hosted the 95th Grey Cup in November 2007.

Contents

Clubs

Professional sports teams

Club League Venue Established Championships
Toronto Argonauts Canadian Football League Rogers Centre 1873 15
Toronto Maple Leafs National Hockey League Air Canada Centre 1917 13
Toronto Blue Jays Major League Baseball Rogers Centre 1977 2
Toronto Raptors National Basketball Association Air Canada Centre 1995 0
Toronto Rock National Lacrosse League Air Canada Centre 1998 5
Toronto Marlies American Hockey League Ricoh Coliseum 2005 0
Toronto FC Major League Soccer BMO Field 2007 0
Toronto Nationals Major League Lacrosse BMO Field 2009 1

Toronto has teams in nearly every major professional sport, including the Toronto Blue Jays (MLB), Toronto Argonauts (CFL), Toronto Raptors (NBA), Toronto Rock (NLL), Toronto FC (MLS), Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) and the Toronto Nationals (MLL). Throughout the sports world, Toronto is perhaps best known for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Although Toronto has not won a Stanley Cup since 1967, the city is undoubtedly renowned as a hockey town, and is sometimes referred to as the "Centre of the Hockey Universe", both disparagingly and as a compliment.

Air Canada Centre (home of the Leafs, Raptors, and Rock) and Rogers Centre (home of the Argonauts and Blue Jays) are located in downtown core. Also, the Rogers Centre is noted for being the first stadium to have a fully-retractable motorized roof. The Toronto FC and Toronto Nationals play on BMO Field, residing just outside the downtown core, and inside the Canadian National Exhibition.

Semi-professional sports teams

Club League Venue Established Championships
Toronto Maple Leafs Intercounty Baseball League Christie Pits 1969 8

Hockey

The city is famously known for the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League, a team with passionate and fanatical support in the city, and equally fervent detractors throughout Canada. It is the most financially successful sport franchise in the country, and is usually featured on Hockey Night in Canada's first game of Saturday night broadcasts.

The team built Maple Leaf Gardens, an iconic sporting venue which not only served as the home arena for the Maple Leafs, but was also employed for cultural and other events. Since 1999, they have played out of the Air Canada Centre.

The Toronto Toros of the defunct World Hockey Association first entered Toronto's sports scene in 1973. In an attempt to capture a portion of Toronto's hockey market, they could only attract a fraction of the attendance numbers the competing Leafs drew. In their inaugural season, they played out of Varsity Arena, but played the next two seasons out of Maple Leaf Gardens. It was then where they drew the ire of Leafs' owner Harold Ballard who had recently regained control of the building. He would charge the team excessive rent fees per game, force them to construct their own dressing rooms, and have the cushions from the hockey benches removed for their games. The team played their final game in Toronto in 1976 before relocating to Birmingham, Alabama as the Birmingham Bulls.

In 2003, the Toronto Roadrunners of the American Hockey League played their inaugural season out of Ricoh Coliseum in Exhibition Place. They served as a farm club for the NHL's Edmonton Oilers. After a season of bad attendance, the team relocated to Edmonton, Alberta and folded a season later. The AHL experiment in Toronto seemed to be over.

However, with the Ricoh Coliseum vacated, the Maple Leafs found a new tenant for the facility by relocating their AHL farm team, the St. John's Maple Leafs, from St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador to Toronto as the Toronto Marlies in 2005. It is the Leafs' hope that an AHL team affiliated with the Leafs would beget attendance figures that would not be as severe as it was with the Roadrunners.

Baseball

Inside the Rogers Centre. A game between the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays.

Baseball was popular in the city at the minor league level since the 1890s with the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was in a game against the Leafs on September 5, 1914 at Hanlan's Point Stadium where Babe Ruth hit his first ever professional home run while also pitching a complete game one-hitter for the visiting Providence Grays.[1] Hall of famer Sparky Anderson was also a member of the Leafs as both a player and a manager. In 1967, the Leafs relocated out of Toronto in to Louisville, Kentucky. During the 1970s there was speculatory talk about the San Francisco Giants re-locating to Toronto. That move was nixed when the team was purchased by Bob Lurie in 1976. Big-league baseball would finally come to Toronto in spite of the Giants with Major League Baseball expansion in 1976. The Toronto Blue Jays commenced operation in 1976, and first contested matches in the inaugural 1977 campaign. Although the team performed poorly, placing last in the American League East for each of its first three years, successful drafting and team management resulted in improved performance that led to the team's first pennant in 1985, and culminated with consecutive World Series victories in 1992 and 1993.

When awarded the franchise, Exhibition Stadium was chosen as the site for the team's home games. Built in the 1950s, it was rebuilt in 1976 to satisfy the requirements for baseball. In 1989, the team moved to the newly built SkyDome (now known as the Rogers Centre).

The city is also home to the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball club of the Intercounty Baseball League.

Basketball

Although not as historically entrenched in Toronto culture as other sports, basketball does have significant milestones in the city. The first professional game of the Basketball Association of America, forerunner of the NBA, was contested at Maple Leaf Gardens between the Toronto Huskies and the New York Knickerbockers on November 1, 1946.[1] However, the Huskies franchise folded after the league's inaugural season. The city would not host another professional basketball franchise until the 1970s when the Buffalo Braves played a total of 16 games at Maple Leaf Gardens before moving to San Diego.[2] It wasn't until the Toronto Raptors joined the NBA for the 1995-1996 season that the city had a team of its own. The franchise was one of two expansion teams announced by the NBA in 1993, the other being the Vancouver Grizzlies.

Football

Toronto is home to the oldest professional football club in North America, the Toronto Argonauts, who have won the Grey Cup championship a record 15 times. The team was founded in 1873 by the Argonaut Rowing Club, and is referred to as the Boatmen in honour of that heritage. The team is also known as the double blue because of the franchise colours (Oxford blue and Cambridge blue); the colour blue has become emblematic of the city and most of its sport franchises.

There have been several failed attempts to bring professional American football to Toronto in the past involving the Toronto Rifles of the Continental Football League and the Toronto Northmen of the World Football League. The Arena Football League brought the Toronto Phantoms to the city in 2001 after relocating from Hartford, Connecticut as the New England Sea Wolves, but the team lasted only two seasons before folding. Toronto Blue Jays president Paul Godfrey has occasionally campaigned to bring a National Football League franchise to Toronto, but is opposed by Toronto Mayor David Miller.[3][4] News media refer to the idea as "just a dream."[5] There has also been talk about the possibility of the NFL's Buffalo Bills moving to Toronto in the future. The owner of the Buffalo Bills, Ralph Wilson, presented plans to play one preseason and regular season game per year in Toronto in an effort to expand its market. On February 1, 2008, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed that a plan for the Bills to play five regular season games and three pre-season games at the Rogers Centre in Toronto over the next five years, received approval from NFL owners.[2] An official press conference to announce the new Bills Toronto Series took place five days later at the Rogers Centre.[3]

Panoramic view of an Argonauts game at Rogers Centre.

Soccer

Crowd celebrating at BMO Field after Toronto FC score the club's first goal.

The popularity of soccer reflects the city's demographics; Toronto is a multicultural city with a large immigrant population that has long-established roots with the game.

Lacrosse

The Toronto Rock, which operate in the National Lacrosse League, were founded in 1998 as the Ontario Raiders in Hamilton. The following year, the team moved to Toronto, and became a dynasty, finishing first every year from 1999 to 2005, and winning the league championship in five of those seven seasons.

In 2009, the Major League Lacrosse franchise the Rochester Rattlers moved to Toronto, and formed a team called the Toronto Nationals. In their inaugural year in Toronto, the Nationals went on to win the Steinfeld Cup.

Australian rules football

Toronto currently has four different Australian rules football teams called the Etobicoke Kangaroos, Lakeshore Rebels, Toronto Downtown Dingos, and the Toronto Eagles. There is one more Ontario Australian Football League teams in the surrounding areas, the Mississauga Demons.

Auto racing

The city hosts the Grand Prix of Toronto in July, though it has been cancelled in 2008 for financial reasons.

Tennis

The Canada Masters, currently sponsored as the Rogers Cup, is an annual tennis tournament held in Canada. The men's competition is an ATP Masters Series event on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour. The women's competition is a Tier 1 event on the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) tour. The two competitions are currently held in separate weeks in the July-August period. The events alternate from year-to-year between the cities of Montreal and Toronto. In odd-numbered years, the men's tournament is held in Montreal, while the women's tournament is held in Toronto, and vice-versa in even-numbered years. The competition is played on hard courts.

Horse racing

Horse racing is currently done at the Woodbine Racetracks. Woodbine Racetrack in the northwestern suburb of Rexdale in Toronto, Ontario is the only horseracing track in North America which stages, or is capable of staging, thoroughbred and standardbred horseracing programs on the same day.

Sports culture

In Toronto, hockey is unarguably the sports team that stirs the most passion and interest (hence the moniker, hockey capital). A championship win by any major sports team is considered to be worthy of the highest celebration, including a parade for the victorious team.

Due to their geographic locations, Toronto has an intense sports rivalry with many cities around the Great Lakes. For football, Toronto has a rivalry with Hamilton (begun in 1873[6]), Ottawa (however currently suspended) and as far as Montreal. Toronto and Montreal are also rivals in the NHL; they were the two Original Six Canadian teams that contested the Stanley Cup, although there is a growing rivalry with the Ottawa Senators (dubbed the "Battle of Ontario") and the Buffalo Sabres.

References

  1. ^ "History of Basketball in Canada". NBA Media Ventures, LLC. http://www.nba.com/canada/History_of_Basketball_in_Canad-Canada_Generic_Article-18023.html. Retrieved 2007-04-13.  
  2. ^ "Buffalo Braves 1971-72 Game Log and Scores". http://www.databasebasketball.com/teams/teamscores.htm?tm=BUF&lg=N&yr=1971. Retrieved 2008-02-28.  
  3. ^ <Is Toronto ready for some NFL football?, Analysis by Tony Care, CBC Sports, Oct. 19, 2006, retrieved on July 17, 2007
  4. ^ NFL dangles a carrot: International play gives T.O. hope, By Rob Longley, Sun Media, Published May 11, 2007
  5. ^ NFL franchise for Toronto still just a dream, By Aaron Wherry, with files from Emily Mathieu and Sean Fitz-Gerald, National Post, Published September 07, 2006
  6. ^ "Canadian Football Timelines (1860 – present)". Football Canada. http://www.footballcanada.com/history_timeline.asp. Retrieved 2007-07-03.  

See also



Professional sport in Toronto has a long and distinguished history. The city is home to a few historic clubs such as: Granite Club (est. 1836), the Royal Canadian Yacht Club (est. 1852), the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club (est. pre-1827), the Argonaut Rowing Club (est. 1872), Toronto Argonauts football club (est. 1873), the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club (est. 1881), and the Badminton and Racquet Club (est. 1924). Toronto is home to a number of historic venues such as: Christie Pits (est. 1899) Ricoh Coliseum (est. 1921), Varsity Arena (est. 1926), Maple Leafs Garden (est. 1931). The state of professional sport in Toronto has shifted considerably throughout the city's history, contemporaneously with the popularity of each sport in time, and the success of the local franchise in each respective sport.

Toronto had recently hosted parts of the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, and the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. It hosted the 95th Grey Cup in November 2007.

Contents

Clubs

Template:Seemain

Professional sports teams



Club
League
Venue
Established
Championships


Toronto Argonauts
Canadian Football League
Rogers Centre 
1873
15

Toronto Maple Leafs
National Hockey League
Air Canada Centre 
1917
13

Toronto Blue Jays
Major League Baseball
Rogers Centre 
1977
2

Toronto Raptors
National Basketball Association
Air Canada Centre 
1995
0

Toronto Rock
National Lacrosse League
Air Canada Centre 
1998
5

Toronto Marlies
American Hockey League
Ricoh Coliseum 
2005
0

Toronto FC
Major League Soccer
BMO Field 
2007
0

Toronto Nationals
Major League Lacrosse
BMO Field 
2009
0

Toronto has teams in nearly every major professional sport, including the Toronto Blue Jays (MLB), Toronto Argonauts (CFL), Toronto Raptors (NBA), Toronto Rock (NLL), Toronto FC (MLS), Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) and the Toronto Nationals (MLL). Throughout the sports world, Toronto is perhaps best known for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Although Toronto has not won a Stanley Cup since 1967, the city is undoubtedly renowned as a hockey town, and is sometimes referred to as the "Centre of the Hockey Universe", both disparagingly and as a compliment.

Air Canada Centre (home of the Leafs, Raptors, and Rock) and Rogers Centre (home of the Argonauts and Blue Jays) are located in downtown core. Also, the Rogers Centre is noted for being the first stadium to have a fully-retractable motorized roof. The Toronto FC and Toronto Nationals play on BMO Field, residing just outside the downtown core, and inside the Canadian National Exhibition.

Semi-professional sports teams


Club
League
Venue
Established
Championships


Toronto Maple Leafs
Intercounty Baseball League
Christie Pits
1969
8

Hockey

Template:Seealso
and Red Kelly celebrate the Leafs' last Stanley Cup]]

The city is famously known for the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League, a team with passionate and fanatical support in the city, and equally fervent detractors throughout Canada. It is the most financially successful sport franchise in the country, and is usually featured on Hockey Night in Canada's first game of Saturday night broadcasts.

The team built Maple Leaf Gardens, an iconic sporting venue which not only served as the home arena for the Maple Leafs, but was also employed for cultural and other events. Since 1999, they have played out of the Air Canada Centre.

The Toronto Toros of the defunct World Hockey Association first entered Toronto's sports scene in 1973. In an attempt to capture a portion of Toronto's hockey market, they could only attract a fraction of the attendance numbers the competing Leafs drew. In their inaugural season, they played out of Varsity Arena, but played the next two seasons out of Maple Leaf Gardens. It was then where they drew the ire of Leafs' owner Harold Ballard who had recently regained control of the building. He would charge the team excessive rent fees per game, force them to construct their own dressing rooms, and have the cushions from the hockey benches removed for their games. The team played their final game in Toronto in 1976 before relocating to Birmingham, Alabama as the Birmingham Bulls.

In 2003, the Toronto Roadrunners of the American Hockey League played their inaugural season out of Ricoh Coliseum in Exhibition Place. They served as a farm club for the NHL's Edmonton Oilers. After a season of bad attendance, the team relocated to Edmonton, Alberta and folded a season later. The AHL experiment in Toronto seemed to be over.

However, with the Ricoh Coliseum vacated, the Maple Leafs found a new tenant for the facility by relocating their AHL farm team, the St. John's Maple Leafs, from St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador to Toronto as the Toronto Marlies in 2005. It is the Leafs' hope that an AHL team affiliated with the Leafs would beget attendance figures that would not be as severe as it was with the Roadrunners.

Baseball

Baseball was popular in the city at the minor league level since the 1890s with the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was in a game against the Leafs on September 5, 1914 at Hanlan's Point Stadium where Babe Ruth hit his first ever professional home run while also pitching a complete game one-hitter for the visiting Providence Grays.[1] Hall of famer Sparky Anderson was also a member of the Leafs as both a player and a manager. In 1967, the Leafs relocated out of Toronto in to Louisville, Kentucky. During the 1970s there was speculatory talk about the San Francisco Giants re-locating to Toronto. That move was nixed when the team was purchased by Bob Lurie in 1976. Big-league baseball would finally come to Toronto in spite of the Giants with Major League Baseball expansion in 1976. The Toronto Blue Jays commenced operation in 1976, and first contested matches in the inaugural 1977 campaign. Although the team performed poorly, placing last in the American League East for each of its first three years, successful drafting and team management resulted in improved performance that led to the team's first pennant in 1985, and culminated with consecutive World Series victories in 1992 and 1993.

When awarded the franchise, Exhibition Stadium was chosen as the site for the team's home games. Built in the 1950s, it was rebuilt in 1976 to satisfy the requirements for baseball. In 1989, the team moved to the newly built SkyDome (now known as the Rogers Centre).

The city is also home to the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball club of the Intercounty Baseball League.

Basketball

Template:Seealso

Although not as historically entrenched in Toronto culture as other sports, basketball does have significant milestones in the city. The first professional game of the Basketball Association of America, forerunner of the NBA, was contested at Maple Leaf Gardens between the Toronto Huskies and the New York Knickerbockers on November 1, 1946.[1] However, the Huskies franchise folded after the league's inaugural season. The city would not host another professional basketball franchise until the 1970s when the Buffalo Braves played a total of 16 games at Maple Leaf Gardens before moving to San Diego.[2] It wasn't until the Toronto Raptors joined the NBA for the 1995-1996 season that the city had a team of its own. The franchise was one of two expansion teams announced by the NBA in 1993, the other being the Vancouver Grizzlies.

Football

Template:Seealso

Toronto is home to the oldest professional football club in North America, the Toronto Argonauts, who have won the Grey Cup championship a record 15 times. The team was founded in 1873 by the Argonaut Rowing Club, and is referred to as the Boatmen in honour of that heritage. The team is also known as the double blue because of the franchise colours (Oxford blue and Cambridge blue); the colour blue has become emblematic of the city and most of its sport franchises.

There have been several failed attempts to bring professional American football to Toronto in the past involving the Toronto Rifles of the Continental Football League and the Toronto Northmen of the World Football League. The Arena Football League brought the Toronto Phantoms to the city in 2001 after relocating from Hartford, Connecticut as the New England Sea Wolves, but the team lasted only two seasons before folding. Toronto Blue Jays president Paul Godfrey has occasionally campaigned to bring a National Football League franchise to Toronto, but is opposed by Toronto Mayor David Miller.[3][4] News media refer to the idea as "just a dream."[5] There has also been talk about the possibility of the NFL's Buffalo Bills moving to Toronto in the future. The owner of the Buffalo Bills Ralph Wilson has presented plans to play one preseason and regular season game per year in Toronto in an effort to expand its market. On February 1, 2008, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed that a plan for the Bills to play five regular season games and three pre-season games at the Rogers Centre in Toronto over the next five years received approval from NFL owners.[2] An official press conference to announce this took place five days later at the Rogers Centre.[3]

game at Rogers Centre.]]

Soccer

The popularity of soccer reflects the city's demographics; Toronto is a multicultural city with a large immigrant population that has long-established roots with the game.

Lacrosse

The Toronto Rock, which operate in the National Lacrosse League, were founded in 1998 as the Ontario Raiders in Hamilton. The following year, the team moved to Toronto, and became a dynasty, finishing first every year from 1999 to 2005, and winning the league championship in five of those seven seasons.

In 2009, the Major League Lacrosse franchise the Rochester Rattlers moved to Toronto, and fomed a team called the Toronto Nationals

Australian rules football

Toronto currently has four different Australian rules football teams called the Etobicoke Kangaroos, Lakeshore Rebels, Toronto Downtown Dingos, and the Toronto Eagles. There is one more Ontario Australian Football League teams in the surrounding areas, the Mississauga Demons.

Auto racing

The city hosts the Grand Prix of Toronto in July, though it has been cancelled in 2008 for financial reasons.

Tennis

The Canada Masters, currently sponsored as the Rogers Cup, is an annual tennis tournament held in Canada. The men's competition is an ATP Masters Series event on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour. The women's competition is a Tier 1 event on the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) tour. The two competitions are currently held in separate weeks in the July-August period. The events alternate from year-to-year between the cities of Montreal and Toronto. In odd-numbered years, the men's tournament is held in Montreal, while the women's tournament is held in Toronto, and vice-versa in even-numbered years. The competition is played on hard courts.

Horse racing

Horse racing is currently done at the Woodbine Racetracks. Woodbine Racetrack in the northwestern suburb of Rexdale in Toronto, Ontario is the only horseracing track in North America which stages, or is capable of staging, thoroughbred and standardbred horseracing programs on the same day.

Sports culture

In Toronto, hockey is unarguably the sports team that stirs the most passion and interest (hence the moniker, hockey capital). A championship win by any major sports team is considered to be worthy of the highest celebration, including a parade for the victorious team.

Due to their geographic locations, Toronto has an intense sports rivalry with many cities around the Great Lakes. For football, Toronto has a rivalry with Hamilton (begun in 1873[6]), Ottawa (however currently suspended) and as far as Montreal. Toronto and Montreal are also rivals in the NHL; they were the two Original Six Canadian teams that contested the Stanley Cup, although there is a growing rivalry with the Ottawa Senators (dubbed the "Battle of Ontario") and the Buffalo Sabres.

References

  1. "History of Basketball in Canada". NBA Media Ventures, LLC. http://www.nba.com/canada/History_of_Basketball_in_Canad-Canada_Generic_Article-18023.html. Retrieved on 2007-04-13. 
  2. "Buffalo Braves 1971-72 Game Log and Scores". http://www.databasebasketball.com/teams/teamscores.htm?tm=BUF&lg=N&yr=1971. Retrieved on 2008-02-28. 
  3. <Is Toronto ready for some NFL football?, Analysis by Tony Care, CBC Sports, Oct. 19, 2006, retrieved on July 17, 2007
  4. NFL dangles a carrot: International play gives T.O. hope, By Rob Longley, Sun Media, Published May 11, 2007
  5. NFL franchise for Toronto still just a dream, By Aaron Wherry, with files from Emily Mathieu and Sean Fitz-Gerald, National Post, Published September 07, 2006
  6. "Canadian Football Timelines (1860 – present)". Football Canada. http://www.footballcanada.com/history_timeline.asp. Retrieved on 2007-07-03. 

See also

Template:Sports in North America


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