Sport in Ottawa

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An ice hockey game on the Rideau Canal, Christmas Day 1901

Sport in Ottawa, Canada's capital, has a history dating back to the 19th century. Ottawa is now home to three professional sports teams: the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League; the Ottawa SkyHawks, a professional basketball team that has played in the National Basketball League of Canada since 2013; and a third pro team, the Ottawa Redblacks, a new Canadian Football League franchise which debuted in 2014.[1] Several non-professional teams also play in Ottawa, including the Ottawa 67's junior hockey team and other semi-professional and collegiate teams in various sports.

Sports[edit]

Ice hockey[edit]

Main article: Ice hockey in Ottawa

Ice hockey began in Ottawa with the Stanley Cup in 1893. The city dominated the hockey world during the first quarter of the 20th century, with Ottawa teams winning 11 Cups from 1903 to 1927. The original Ottawa Senators were one of the original members of the National Hockey League which was founded in 1917. The team folded during the Great Depression in 1934, and moved to St. Louis to become the St. Louis Eagles. The Senators returned to the National Hockey League in 1992. They play at the Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata.

In junior hockey the city is represented by the Ottawa 67's of the Ontario Hockey League. The team began play in 1967, Canada's centennial year. Ottawa played host to the Memorial Cup tournament in 1972 and 1999. Ottawa also played host to the 2009 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.

Ottawa also has a minor hockey program, and plays host to the Bell Capital Cup each year. The city is home to five teams in the Central Junior Hockey League, four teams in the Eastern Ontario Junior Hockey League and two teams in the Eastern Ontario Junior C Hockey League.

Canadian football[edit]

The Ottawa Rough Riders were a Canadian Football League team that was founded in 1876 and would prove to be one of the oldest tenured sports franchises in North America.[2] The team won nine Grey Cup championships over its long history but due to poor team play, poor attendance records and even worse management, the Rough Riders folded after the 1996 season, ending 120 years of professional football in Ottawa.

Five years later, a CFL expansion franchise was granted to the City of Ottawa. The team, called the Ottawa Renegades, began play in 2002, but folded in 2006 after just four seasons, due again to poor management. Pending reconstruction to Frank Clair Stadium, the new Ottawa Redblacks are scheduled to rejoin the league in 2014.[1]

The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees football teams have won two Vanier Cups with their first in 1975 and then again in 2000. Carleton University also had a football team from 1945-1998, but the program was cancelled after the 1998 season. There have since been efforts to revive the program, with the football team being approved for Ontario University Athletics membership beginning in 2013.[3] The rivalry between the two schools was heated, and the annual game between the two teams was known as the "Panda Game".[4]

The city also has two junior teams. The Ottawa Sooners play in the Canadian Junior Football League while the Ottawa Junior Riders play in the Quebec Junior Football League.

Basketball[edit]

Both Carleton University and the University of Ottawa sport varsity men's teams. The CIS Men's Basketball Championship has been held in Ottawa from 2008 to 2010 and since 2013. The city plays host to the Capital Hoops classic every January where both university teams play at Scotiabank Place. The first classic set a record for the highest attended university game in Canadian history.[citation needed]

The Ottawa SkyHawks are a professional basketball team that has played in the National Basketball League of Canada since 2013.[5]

Curling[edit]

The city is home to 15 curling clubs, more than any other municipality in eastern Canada. The city has hosted three Briers and one Tournament of Hearts. The 2001 Nokia Brier was the most attended Brier ever in Eastern Canada at the time. Ottawa has sent four teams to the Brier to represent Ontario: Eldon Coombe (1972), Earle Morris (1985), Rich Moffatt (1999) and Bryan Cochrane (2003). Ottawa has also sent ten teams to the Tournament of Hearts: Helen Hanright (1964), Dawn Ventura (1974 and 1976), Anne Merklinger (1993, 1994, 1998 and 2000) Jenn Hanna (2005), Rachel Homan (2011, 2013). Homan skipped the first Ottawa-based team to win a women's or a men's national championship when she led her Ottawa Curling Club team to a championship at the 2013 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Each year, Ottawa hosts one of the largest curling tournaments in the world, the OVCA Ottawa Men's Bonspiel (more commonly known as the "City of Ottawa bonspiel") which has been held since 1956. Ottawa is home to one of the oldest curling clubs in the world, the Ottawa Curling Club which was founded in 1851.

Curling in the Ottawa area is overseen by the Ottawa Valley Curling Association.

Baseball[edit]

Ottawa has sported three International League franchises in its history. The Ottawa Giants (1951), the Ottawa Athletics (1952–1955) and most recently, the Ottawa Lynx (1993–2007). The Lynx were once very popular in the city, leading the league in attendance in its inaugural season. However, attendance dropped and the team moved to the Lehigh Valley. The Lynx won the Governors' Cup in 1995.

Baseball was revived in Ottawa for the 2008 season, when the Ottawa Rapidz were founded in the independent Can-Am League. However, the team lasted just one season, as it folded, citing high rent for the stadium, despite respectable attendance.

Baseball returned to Ottawa from 2010 to 2012 with the addition of the Ottawa Fat Cats of the Intercounty Baseball League. The Fat Cats will not be participating in the 2013 IBL season.[6]

The Can-Am League will attempt another team in the capital for the 2015 season.[7]

Ottawa is also home to the largest amateur baseball league in Canada - the National Capital Baseball League (www.nationalcapitalbaseball.com) The league is a wooden bat league with 37 teams in 4 tiers (as of 2012).

Soccer[edit]

Soccer, (association football) has been played in Ottawa for over 100 years. Ottawa is active with youth competitive, youth development and adult recreational leagues. The most prominent team is the Ottawa Fury, a women's semi-professional team. Ottawa Sports and Entertainment group will launch a professional men's team in 2014, which will play in the second-division North American Soccer League (NASL). Their home will be at Lansdowne Park in a redeveloped Frank Clair Stadium.

Horse racing[edit]

Connaught Park Racetrack, located in Aylmer, Quebec operated from 1913 until its closure in 2008. It operated thoroughbred racing until the 1950s, and offered harness racing afterwards. In the early 1960s, Rideau Carleton Raceway was opened south of Ottawa, and it continues to operate a season of harness racing annually, along with off-track betting and gamblin. Races have been held on the frozen Rideau Canal and the frozen Ottawa River.

Hurling[edit]

Since 2012, Ottawa has had an active Hurling team made up of both local and Irish players. The team is called the Eire Og Ottawa Hurling Club. Games are played frequently against Montreal Shamrocks GAC. The team also competes in other larger tournaments administered by the Canadian GAA.

Gaelic football[edit]

Gaelic football has been present in the capital since the formation of the men's team, the Ottawa Gaels, in 1974 by Pat Kelly and Larry Bradley. The ladies team was formed in 1984 by Breda Kelly and has been dominant in the Toronto GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) for the last decade. Minor players have played at the Continental Youth Championships in the USA.[citation needed]

Australian Rules Football[edit]

Australian Rules Football started in 2008 when the Ottawa Swans joined the Ontario Australian Football League (OAFL).

Ultimate frisbee[edit]

Ottawa has the world's largest[citation needed] ultimate frisbee community dating back to the founding of the Ottawa-Carleton Ultimate Association in 1986. Ottawa has hosted the Canadian Ultimate Championships five times, most recently in 2011.

Events hosted[edit]

Sports teams[edit]

Club Sport League Venue Established Championships
Ottawa Senators ice hockey National Hockey League Canadian Tire Centre,
Ottawa Civic Centre
1992–present
0 (Stanley Cups)
1 (President's Trophy)
1 (Prince of Wales Trophy)
Ottawa Senators ice hockey NHL (and other leagues) Ottawa Auditorium,
The Arena,
Dey's Arena,
Rideau Rink
1884–1934 11 (Stanley Cups)
1 (Prince of Wales Trophy)
3 (Allan Cups)
Ottawa Redblacks Canadian football Canadian Football League Frank Clair Stadium 2014-Present 0
Ottawa Renegades Canadian football Canadian Football League Frank Clair Stadium 2002–2005 0
Ottawa Rough Riders Canadian football Canadian Football League Frank Clair Stadium 1876–1996 9 (Grey Cups)
Ottawa Lynx Baseball International League (AAA) Lynx Stadium 1993–2007 1
Ottawa Giants Baseball International League (AAA) Lansdowne Park 1951 0
Ottawa Athletics Baseball International League (AAA) Lansdowne Park 1952–1955 0
Ottawa Senators/Braves Baseball Canadian-American League (Class C) Lansdowne Park 1936–1940 0
Ottawa Nationals/Senators Baseball Border League (Class C) Lansdowne Park 1947–1950 3
Ottawa Rapidz Baseball Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball Ottawa Baseball Stadium 2008 0
Ottawa Fat Cats Baseball Intercounty Baseball League Ottawa Baseball Stadium 2010- 0
Ottawa Gee-Gees Various Canadian Interuniversity Sport University of Ottawa 1848-present 2 (Vanier Cups)
Carleton Ravens Various Canadian Interuniversity Sport Carleton University 1942-present 10 (Canadian University Basketball)
Ottawa 67's ice hockey Ontario Hockey League Urbandale Centre 1967–present 3 (OHL)
2 (Memorial Cups)
Ottawa-Hull Junior Canadiens ice hockey (non-league) Ottawa Auditorium 1956–1959 Memorial Cup (1957)
Ottawa Raiders ice hockey National Women's Hockey League Sandy Hill Arena 1999–2007 0
Ottawa Senators (CWHL) ice hockey Canadian Women's Hockey League Sandy Hill Arena/Bell Sensplex 2007–present 0
Ottawa Loggers roller hockey Roller Hockey International Ottawa Civic Centre 1997-99 n/a
Ottawa Fury soccer W-League and USL Premier Development League Keith Harris Stadium 2003 1 (Women)
Ottawa Harlequins Rugby Union Rugby Canada Super League Twin Elm Rugby Park 1999 0
Ottawa Rebel indoor lacrosse National Lacrosse League Scotiabank Place 2001–2003 0
Ottawa Swans Australian football Ontario Australian Football League Rideau Carleton Raceway 2007–present 0
Ottawa Sooners Canadian football Canadian Junior Football League (1960-1995, 2009-present)
Quebec Junior Football League (1996-2008)
Keith Harris Stadium 1960–present 5 CJFL Championships
3 QJFL Championships
Ottawa Junior Riders Canadian football Quebec Junior Football League (1995-2000, 2006-Present)
Canadian Junior Football League (2001-2005)
Nepean Sportsplex 1995–present 6 QJFL Championships
Cumberland Panthers Canadian football Quebec Junior Football League Millennium Sports Park 2004–present 0

Awards[edit]

Ottawa has a hall of fame honouring local athletes. There are also the "Ottawa Sports Awards" awarded annually to the top athletes in the city.

Ottawa Athlete of the Year
Year Male Female
2013 Phillip Scrubb (basketball) Rachel Homan (curling)
2012 Craig Savill (curling) Courtnay Pilypaitis (basketball)
2011 Tyson Hinz (basketball) Kate Goodfellow (rowing)
2010 Brad Sinopoli (Canadian football) Kristina Groves (speed skating)
2009 Ian Mortimer (canoe/kayak) Kristina Groves (speed skating)
2008 Angus Mortimer & Rhys Hill (canoe/kayak) Kristina Groves (speed skating)
2007 Craig Savill (curling) Kristina Groves (speed skating)
2006 Osvaldo Jeanty (basketball) Kristina Groves (speed skating)
2005 Jeff Bean (freestyle skiing) Elizabeth Urbach (rowing)
2004 Jason Dunkerley (Paralympic athletics) Kristina Groves (speed skating)
2003 Corey Locke (ice hockey) Melanie Banville (gymnastics)
2002 Jeff Bean (freestyle skiing)
2001 Seamus Kotyk (ice hockey)
2000 Phil Cote (Canadian football)
1999 Brian Campbell (ice hockey)
1998 John Morris (curling)
1997 Alyn McCauley (ice hockey)
1996 Glenroy Gilbert (Athletics)
1995 Harry Van Hofwegen (Canadian football)
1994 Linda Jackson & Gord Fraser (cycling)
1993 Al Charron (rugby union)
1992 Jeff Koradi (Canadian football)
1991 Renn Crichlow (canoe/kayak)
1990 Chris Flynn (Canadian football)
1989 Chris Simboli (freestyle skiing)
1988 Elizabeth Manley (figure skating)
1987 Ian Millar (Equestrian)
1986 Anna Fraser (freestyle skiing)
1985 Caroll Ann Alie (board sailing)
1984 Linda Thom (shooting)
1983 Kathy Bald (swimming)
1982 Horst Bulau (ski jumping)
1981 Horst Bulau (ski jumping)
1980 Greg Olson (golf)
1979 Pat Messner (water skiing)
1978 Bobby Smith (ice hockey)
1977 Doug Wilson (ice hockey)
1976 Martin Wostenholme (tennis)
1975 Neil Lumsden (Canadian football)
1974 Lynn Nightingale (figure skating)
1973 Sue Holloway (canoe/kayak)
1972 Glenda Reiser (athletics)
1971 Michel Larocque (ice hockey)
1970 Linda Malcolm (shooting)
1969 Betsy Clifford (alpine skiing)
1968 Don Rioux (golf)
1967 Pat Morris (ski jumping)
1966 Tom Gorman (basketball)
1965 Judy Dallimore (athletics)
1964 Andre Nezan (golf)
1963 Bob Stinson (golf)
1962 Allan Salter (weightlifting)
1961 Dave Dorman (athletics)
1960 Anne Heggtveit (alpine skiing)
1959 Barney Hartmann (shooting)
1958 Anne Heggtveit (apline skiing)
1957 Mariette Laframboise (tennis)
1956 John Clifford (alpine skiing)
1955 Art Tommy (alpine skiing)
1954 Anne Heggtveit (alpine skiing)
1953 Shirley Thomas (equestrian)

References[edit]