Australian rules football in Canada
|Australian rules football in Canada|
|Governing body||AFL Canada|
|First played||May 1989, Toronto|
|Registered players||825 (total)
|Single match||32,789 (1987). Melbourne v. Sydney (B.C. Place, Vancouver)|
Australian football is currently played in four Canadian provinces - Ontario, Alberta, Quebec and British Columbia. The Ontario league, centred on Toronto but also including sides from cities as far afield as Guelph, Hamilton and Ottawa, is considered the largest outside of Australia. In western Canada, there are clubs in Edmonton, Calgary and a six-team league in the Vancouver area.
There is also a number of junior and women's clubs across Canada.
- 1 History of Australian Football in Canada
- 2 Governing Body
- 3 National team
- 4 Participation
- 5 Women's Football
- 6 Leagues & Clubs
- 7 Major Tournaments
- 8 Audience
- 9 References
- 10 External links
History of Australian Football in Canada
Between 1987 and 1989, the Australian Football League staged several exhibition matches in Canada, attracting large crowds and much interest. The 1987 game holds the record for a VFL/AFL match held outside of Australia.
|1987||Vancouver||Melbourne v. Nth Melbourne||7,980|
|1987||Vancouver||B.C. Place||Melbourne v. Sydney||32,789|
|1987||Vancouver||Collingwood v. Hawthorn|
|1988||Toronto||Varsity Stadium||Collingwood v. Hawthorn||18,500|
|1989||Toronto||Toronto Skydome||Essendon v. Hawthorn||24,639|
The First League
The Canadian Australian Football League was established in May 1989 when two clubs the Mississauga Mustangs and the Toronto Panthers were formed and played in the inaugural Conacher Cup game in Toronto, Ontario. Since then, the game of Australian football in Canada has expanded considerably nationwide.
In 1990, the Scarborough Rebels, the North York Hawks and the Hamilton Wildcats joined, with the Balmy Beach Saints coming on board in 1992. The North York Hawks later relocated and became known as the Broadview Hawks.
The Brampton Wolverines, the league's seventh team, were formed in 1993. The Scarborough Rebels relocated and became the Lawrence Park Rebels.
History of International Competition
In 1994 and 1995, the Canadians again defeated the British at home.
In 1995, several local CAFA games were broadcast on a Hamilton cable TV channel.
In 1999, the first USA v Canada game was played 49th Parallel Cup (named after the 49th parallel north). The Revolution narrowly defeated Team Canada (Northwind). Later matches enforced strict rules based on player origins. The 49th Parallel Cup is held every two year's
In 2002, Canada participated in the inuagural Australian Football International Cup, Canada represented by the Northwind team consisting purely of Canadian born players. The Canadian national team has competed in every International Cup since its inception.
The Game Gets Grassroots
In 2003, the first ever junior league in Canada, the North Delta Junior Australian Football League was formed.
AFL Canada was formed as governing body on July 30, 2004 when the Canadian Australian Football League changed its official name. The move corresponded with funding from the Australian Football League, and junior participation program was put in place. The clubs were split into 2 regional based leagues, the Ontario Australian Football League and the North West Pacific Football League. The remaining Alberta based clubs participate in AFL Canada organised regional conferences such as the British Columbia Cup.
In 2005 the Northwind participated in the 2005 International Cup.
In early 2006, AFL Canada sent a small delegate to the AFL exhibition match in Los Angeles. London and Windsor folded due to distance but the new OAFL club the Central Blues formed and began competing. In Alberta, the Calgary Bears also formed and the Westcoast challenge commenced.
In early 2007, the Ottawa Swans formed, and affiliated with the OAFL, and the Demons relocated from Mississauga to High Park in inner Toronto.
In late 2007, AFL Canada hosted the Ironbark challenge, including the 49th Parallel Cup between Canada vs United States including historic first women's and junior (under 17) tests between the two countries. Canada defeated the United States for the first time at both senior and junior level, but were soundly defeated in the women's match. The tournament also included a touring Japanese team and attracted a record attendance of 2,500 at Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver.
Canada Emerges as an Aussie Rules Force
Team Canada is known as the Northwind.
By the end of 2007, this figure had increased to a total of 825 players in organised competitions, of which 525 were senior and 300 were junior, an increase of over 70% from 2006, and a total of 95% increase over 2 years.
Canada boasts one senior women's league in Alberta and 5 women's football clubs nationwide. Youth girls development programs operate in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. The national team, formed in 2007, is known as the "Northern Lights". They were formerly known as the "Eagles". They played in the first women's international footy matches during 2007, when they lost twice to the USA Freedom. In 2011 the national wemon's team competed in the Australian Football International Cup, the first year there was a wemon's division.
Leagues & Clubs
Alberta Footy Men's League
|Calgary Kangaroos||Calgary||Alberta||2005||Official Site|
|Calgary Bears||Calgary||Alberta||2007||Official Site|
Alberta Footy Women's League
|Calgary Kookaburras||Calgary||Alberta||2007||Official Site|
|Edmonton Emus||Edmonton||Alberta||2009||Official Site|
|Hillhurst Nighthawks||Calgary||Alberta||2008||Official Site|
|Kensington Kingfishers||Calgary||Alberta||2008||Official Site|
British Columbia Australian Football League
|Burnaby Eagles||Burnaby||British Columbia||2001||Official Site|
|Delta BayHawks||North Delta||British Columbia||2009||Official Site|
|Vancouver Cougars||Vancouver||British Columbia||2001||Official Site|
|West Coast Saints||Vancouver||British Columbia||2008||Official Site|
North Delta Junior Australian Football League
|North Delta Junior Australian Football League||North Delta||British Columbia||2003||Official Site|
Ontario Australian Football League
|Broadview Hawks||Broadview||Ontario||1989||Official Site|
|Ottawa Swans||Ottawa||Ontario||2007||Official Site|
|Etobicoke Kangaroos||Etobicoke||Ontario||2003||Official Site|
|Guelph Gargoyles||Guelph||Ontario||2001||Official Site|
|Hamilton Wildcats||Hamilton||Ontario||1997||Official Site|
|High Park Demons||Toronto||Ontario||1989||Official Site|
|Toronto Downtown Dingos||Toronto||Ontario||1996||Official Site|
|Toronto Eagles||Toronto||Ontario||1989||Official Site|
|Toronto Rebels||Toronto||Ontario||1990||Official Site|
|Central Blues||Toronto||Ontario||2006||Official Site|
|Quebec Saints||Montreal||Quebec||2008||Official Site|
In 2006, due to growing demand and lobbying by the AFANA, Aussie Rules began playing live matches on television in Canada on Setanta Sports (STS) and MHz Networks. As of 2010, TSN2 broadcasts one live game every round available in HD.
In 2011, the first televised all-Canadian Aussie Rules match was shown on Rogers TV, and featured the Ottawa Swans hosting the Toronto Rebels.
Canada holds the world record for attendance at a match outside of Australia.
- AFL Canada