Sport in Winnipeg

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Winnipeg has a long and storied sports history. It has been home to several professional hockey, football and baseball franchises. There have also been numerous university and amateur athletes over the years who have left their mark.

Hockey[edit]

Picture of the Gold Medal-winning Winnipeg Falcons taken en route to the 1920 Olympics (photo includes an unidentified ship's officer and a woman)

Winnipeg has a storied hockey history and has been home to several top amateur and professional hockey clubs.

The Winnipeg Victorias were three-time Stanley Cup champions (1896, 1901 and 1902). Prior to the founding of national hockey program, three Winnipeg-based clubs won gold medals representing Canada: the Winnipeg Falcons at the 1920 Winter Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, the Winnipeg Hockey Club at the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, and the Winnipeg Monarchs at the 1935 World Ice Hockey Championships[1]

Winnipeg teams dominated the early years of the Allan Cup, Canada's senior amateur championship. Between 1909 and 1918, when the Allan Cup was decided through challenges, the Winnipeg Victorias, the Winnipeg Hockey Club, the Winnipeg Monarchs, and the Winnipeg 61st Battalion each won at least one championship.

Memorial Cup champion teams from Winnipeg include the Winnipeg Junior Falcons (1921), Elmwood Millionaires (1931), Winnipeg Monarchs (1935, 1937, 1946), Winnipeg Rangers (1941, 1943), St. Boniface Seals (1938), and Winnipeg Braves (1959).

The old Winnipeg Arena, built in 1955, was originally home to the Winnipeg Warriors of the Western Hockey League (minor professional) from 1955 to 1961. The Warriors were World's Minor Professional Champions in 1955-56, winning the Edinburgh Cup. The arena was also home to the Winnipeg Warriors of the WHL from 1980 through 1984, and the Winnipeg Monarchs of the same league from 1967 to 1974.

The Winnipeg Jets were founded in 1972 as one of the original teams of the World Hockey Association and went on to win three Avco Cups in eight years. After the WHA folded in 1979, the Jets entered the National Hockey League. The Jets featured such Hall of Famers as WHA coach Rudy Pilous and players Bobby Hull, Dale Hawerchuk, and (briefly) Serge Savard, as well as other popular players such as Teemu Selänne and Phil Housley. Jets fans were known for creating the Winnipeg White Out, a tradition in which fans dressed in all-white for playoff games. In 1996, the team was sold to an ownership group based in Phoenix, Arizona, and were relocated, becoming the Phoenix Coyotes.

A Manitoba Moose game at the MTS Centre.

From 1996 to 2011, Winnipeg was home to the Manitoba Moose. The Moose played in the now-defunct International Hockey League, before joining the American Hockey League in 2001. The Moose were the top minor league affiliate to the NHL's Vancouver Canucks. In 2004, the Moose moved from the Winnipeg Arena to the new MTS Centre. During their tenure in Winnipeg, the Moose appeared in one Calder Cup final (2009).

In 2011, True North Sports & Entertainment, owners of the Moose and MTS Centre, purchased the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers, and relocated the team to Winnipeg. In response to public pressure, the team was renamed the Winnipeg Jets. The team plays out of the MTS Centre.

Current Winnipeg-based amateur teams of note are the University of Manitoba Bisons and the Winnipeg Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. Hockey Winnipeg, the local branch of Hockey Manitoba oversees minor hockey in the city.

Major international hockey events played in Winnipeg include Game 3 of the 1972 Summit Series, various Canada Cup games, and the 1999 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.

Winnipeg has produced Hall of Fame hockey players Andy Bathgate, Bill Mosienko, Art Coulter, Ching Johnson, Frank Fredrickson, Jack Ruttan and Terry Sawchuk. Beyond that, 183 major league professional hockey players were born in Winnipeg.[2]

Football[edit]

Winnipeg has a team in the Canadian Football League, the Blue Bombers, who have won 10 Grey Cups, the league's championship trophy. The Winnipeg 'Pegs won the Grey Cup in 1935. Winnipeg also hosted the Grey Cup game in 1991, 1998, 2006, and 2015.

The city is also home to the North Winnipeg Nomads Wolf Pack women's tackle football team who compete in the WWCFL, a women's league that spans three prairie provinces.

Years Operated Team League(s) Championships
1930–present Winnipeg Blue Bombers CFL 10
1920–1998 Winnipeg Hawkeyes MJFL, CJFL 0
1920–1994 Winnipeg Rods MJFL, CJFL 5
2002–present Winnipeg Rifles CJFL 0
2011–present North Winnipeg Nomads Wolf Pack WWCFL 0

Baseball[edit]

Years Operated Team Championships
1902–1942 Winnipeg Maroons 8
1953–1964 Winnipeg Goldeyes 3
1970–1971 Winnipeg Whips 0
1994–present Winnipeg Goldeyes 3

Minor-league baseball has a long history in Winnipeg.

1902–1942: Winnipeg Maroons of the original Northern League

1953–1964: Winnipeg Goldeyes, an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals in the Class C Northern League

1970–1971: Winnipeg Whips, AAA affiliate of the Montreal Expos

In 1994, the Rochester Aces of the independent Northern League re-located to Winnipeg, and the team was renamed the Goldeyes.

Initially, the team played at multi-purpose Winnipeg Stadium. In 1999, the team moved to the downtown CanWest Global Park, a baseball-only stadium. The Goldeyes are owned by current mayor Sam Katz.

Soccer[edit]

Winnipeg was once home to the Winnipeg Fury professional soccer team, playing in the Canadian Soccer League and winning the final championship to be hosted in the league.

Years Operated Team League(s) Championships
1987–1992 Winnipeg Fury CSL 1
2011- WSA Winnipeg PDL 0

On May 4, 2015, Investors Group Field in Winnipeg was named as one of six venues that will host the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Horse racing[edit]

The first track horse race in Winnipeg took place in 1922. Whittier Park and Polo Park were used as racetracks in the past. Today, Assiniboia Downs is a six and one half furlong oval located on the western edge of the city. It is operated as a non-profit organization by the Manitoba Jockey Club. Live thoroughbred horse racing takes place in the summer.

Amateur sports[edit]

Winnipeg hosted the 1967 Pan American Games and 1999 Pan American Games. In 1991, the city hosted the fifth Western Canada Summer Games.

Some of the notable sports figures from Winnipeg include six time Olympic speedskating medallist and most decorated Canadian Olympian Cindy Klassen,[3] Olympic Taekwondo athlete and bronze-medallist Dominique Bosshart, Summer and Winter Olympic medal winner Clara Hughes and Canadian Olympic Women's Hockey Gold Medallist Jennifer Botterill.

Daniel Yanofsky, the first chess Grandmaster developed in the British Commonwealth, lived in Winnipeg from infancy, and he organized and played in Canada's first Supergrandmaster chess tournament in Winnipeg 1967.[4]

The Winnipeg area is the only place in Canada where bandy is played.[5]

Skateboarding[edit]

Canad Inns Stadium

Winnipeg has a number of skateboard parks- some leftovers from the 1970s and many more recent additions to the skateboard scene.[6] In 2006, Winnipeg completed a project that saw the construction of a large skate plaza at the Forks. The plaza was visited by Tony Hawk in his Secret Skate Park Tour in the same year. In 2007 and 2008 the plaza was host to the Rogers WAM International skate board competition, in addition to numerous other competitive and non-competitive events.[7][8][9]

University sports[edit]

The University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba have active and successful programs in sports, especially volleyball and basketball. The University of Winnipeg's women's basketball team won 88 consecutive games during the 1990s, tying a college sports record. The University of Manitoba Bisons football team has won three Vanier Cup trophies, won the Hardy Trophy ten times and won the Mitchell Bowl four times. Volleyball is particularly strong, with consistently high-calibre play, dating back to the standing (in 2007) record of four consecutive national university championships held by the University of Winnipeg Wesmen since the early 1970s.

Curling[edit]

Winnipeg is also home to many of the world's best curling teams and has hosted the World Curling Championships in 1978, 1991 and 2003. Several World Curling Championships winners have called Winnipeg home including Don Duguid, Kerry Burtnyk, Jeff Stoughton, Georgina Wheatcroft and Jennifer Jones.

Roller Derby[edit]

Winnipeg is home to the Winnipeg Roller Derby League, which consists of three home teams, and one travel team, the Murder City Maidens. Popularity for this sport is growing, with a sold-out bout taking place at the Winnipeg Convention Centre in February, 2010. The Murder City Maidens have traveled to bouts in North Dakota, Alberta, Rural Manitoba, and have hosted other teams in Winnipeg.[10]

Notable sports figures[edit]

An ice hockey game, 1919, Winnipeg

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ TSN. "Winter Olympics". Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  2. ^ HockeyDB. "Winnipeg-born hockey players". Retrieved 2011-05-31. 
  3. ^ CBC. "Canada: Olympic Powerhouse?". Retrieved 2007-08-10. [dead link]
  4. ^ David Cohen. "Canada Chess". Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
  5. ^ canadabandy.ca
  6. ^ A list of skateparks in Winnipeg
  7. ^ Winnipeg Sun. "Skaters take over Forks". Retrieved 2007-08-10. [dead link]
  8. ^ Rogers WAM Archived August 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ SK8 Skates Winnipeg – Skateboarding, news, events, etc. Archived July 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ Winnipeg roller Derby League Website