Sports in Massachusetts

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Fall River, Massachusetts native, Bert Patenaude (front row, center), scored the first hat-trick in FIFA World Cup history in 1930 for the United States.

Sports in Massachusetts have a long history with both amateur athletics and professional teams. Most of the major professional teams have won multiple championships in their respective leagues. Massachusetts teams have won 6 Stanley Cups (Boston Bruins),[1] 17 NBA Championships (Boston Celtics),[2] 6 Super Bowls (New England Patriots),[3] and 10 World Series (9 Boston Red Sox, 1 Boston Braves).[4] The New England Revolution won the MLS Supporter's Shield in 2021 (the club's only major trophy to date).[5] Early basketball and volleyball was created in Massachusetts, which homes the Basketball Hall of Fame (Springfield),[6] and the Volleyball Hall of Fame (Holyoke).[6] Massachusetts also houses the Cape Cod Baseball League. It is also home to prestigious sports events such as the Boston Marathon and the Head of the Charles Regatta. The Falmouth Road Race in running and the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic in bicycle racing are also very popular events with long histories.

The Greater Boston region is the only city/surrounding area in American professional sports in which all facilities are privately owned and operated. The Patriots and Revolution both own Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, the Red Sox own Fenway Park, and TD Garden is owned by Delaware North, owner of the Bruins. The Celtics rent TD Garden from Delaware North.

The PGA Tour Deutsche Bank Championship is a regular professional golf tour stop in the state. Massachusetts has played host to nine U.S. Opens, four U.S. Women's Opens, two Ryder Cups, and one U.S. Senior Open.

Many colleges and universities in Massachusetts are active in college athletics. There are a number of NCAA Division I members in the state for multiple sports: Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern University, Harvard University, College of the Holy Cross, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Notable athletes from Massachusetts[edit]

Massachusetts has produced several successful Olympians including Thomas Burke, James Connolly, and John Thomas (track & field); Butch Johnson (archery); Nancy Kerrigan (figure skating); Todd Richards (snowboarding); Albina Osipowich (swimming); Aly Raisman (gymnastics); Patrick Ewing (basketball); as well as Jim Craig, Mike Eruzione, Bill Cleary, and Keith Tkachuk (ice hockey).[7][8]

Notable soccer (or association football) players from Massachusetts include Bert Patenaude, Billy Gonsalves, Geoff Cameron, Sam Mewis, and Kristie Mewis. Patenaude and Gonsalves (both inductees of the National Soccer Hall of Fame and natives of Fall River, Massachusetts)[9][10] played for the U.S. men's national team at the inaugural FIFA World Cup in 1930 (hosted in Uruguay). Patenaude scored the first hat-trick in World Cup history.[11] The USMNT finished in third place.[12]

Sports Illustrated's 50 Greatest Sports Figures from Massachusetts:[edit]

In 1999, Sports Illustrated published the fifty (50) greatest 19th and 20th century sports figures from each U.S. state. The criteria used was "not necessarily to where [the athletes] were born, but to where they first showed flashes of the greatness to come." The ten highest ranked Massachusetts athletes were as follows:[13]

Rank Name Sport Hometown Notes
1. Rocky Marciano Boxing Brockton, MA Held the world heavyweight title from 1952–1956
2. Doug Flutie American football Natick, MA Played at Boston College; won the Heisman Trophy in 1984
3. Patrick Ewing Basketball Cambridge, MA Played at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School; 2× Olympic gold medalist (1984, 1992);
selected as one of the 75 Greatest Players in NBA History in 2021; Basketball Hall of Fame inductee
4. Bobby Carpenter Ice hockey Beverly, MA First U.S. player to jump from high school to NHL (in 1981)
5. Rebecca Lobo Basketball Southwick, MA Massachusetts' all-time leading high school basketball scorer (boys and girls); Basketball Hall of Fame inductee
6. Alberto Salazar Track & field Wayland, MA New York Marathon winner (1980–82); Boston Marathon winner (1982)
7. Tom Glavine Baseball Billerica, MA NL Cy Young Award (1991, 1998); 1995 World Series MVP; Baseball Hall of Fame inductee
8. Pie Traynor Baseball Somerville, MA Posted a career batting average of .320; Baseball Hall of Fame inductee
9. Harry Agganis Baseball
American football
Lynn, MA Played at Boston University; Boston Red Sox (1954–55); College Football Hall of Fame inductee
10. Johnny Kelley Track & field Arlington, MA Olympian; competed in the Boston Marathon over 50 times (winning twice)

Major league professional teams[edit]

Current teams[edit]

Club League Sport Venue (capacity) Founded Championships
Boston Red Sox MLB Baseball Fenway Park (37,500) 1901 9 World Series
Boston Bruins NHL Ice Hockey TD Garden (17,565) 1924 6 Stanley Cups
Boston Celtics NBA Basketball TD Garden (18,625) 1946 17 NBA titles
New England Patriots NFL Football Gillette Stadium (68,750) 1960 6 Super Bowls
New England Revolution MLS Soccer 1995 0 MLS Cups; 1 Supporters' Shield

Former teams[edit]

Club League Sport Venue (capacity) Founded Dissolved Championships
Boston Braves MLB Baseball Braves Field (40,000) 1871 1952 1 World Series
Worcester Brown Stockings Worcester Agricultural Fairgrounds 1880 1882
Boston Reds Congress Street Grounds 1890 1891
Boston Bulldogs NFL Football Braves Field (40,000) 1929 1929
Boston Redskins Fenway Park (35,000) 1932 1936
Boston Yanks 1944 1948
Boston Breakers USFL Nickerson Field (15,000) 1983 1984
Boston Rovers NASL Soccer Manning Bowl (21,000) 1967 1967
Boston Beacons Fenway Park (33,375) 1968 1968
Boston Minutemen Alumni Stadium (30,000)
Nickerson Field (15,000)
1974 1976
New England Tea Men Foxboro Stadium (60,000) 1978 1980
New England Whalers WHA Ice Hockey Boston Garden (14,448) 1972 1974 1 Avco World Trophy

Major league professional championships[edit]

Minor league or semi-professional clubs[edit]

The Fall River Rovers soccer club (a semi-professional club in the Southern New England Soccer League) after winning the 1917 U.S. Open Cup
Club Sports Established[a] League Venue
Cannons Lacrosse Club Lacrosse (Outdoor) 2001 Premier Lacrosse League
Boston Pride Ice hockey 2015 Premier Hockey Federation Warrior Ice Arena
Boston Renegades Football 2015 Women's Football Alliance Dilboy Stadium
Boston Storm Women's Lacrosse 2016 United Women's Lacrosse League "Barnstorming" format
Boston Thirteens Rugby league 2009 USA Rugby League Irish Cultural Center
Boston Uprising Esports 2018 OWL Citizens Bank Opera House
Massachusetts Pirates Indoor football 2018 Indoor Football League DCU Center
New England Free Jacks Rugby union 2018 Major League Rugby Union Point Sports Complex
New England Revolution II[b] Soccer 2019 MLS Next Pro Gillette Stadium
Springfield Thunderbirds Ice hockey 2016 American Hockey League MassMutual Center
Western Mass Pioneers Soccer 1998 USL League Two Lusitano Stadium
Boston Breach Esports 2022 Call of Duty League
Worcester Railers Ice hockey 2017 ECHL DCU Center
Boston City FC Soccer 2015 USL League Two
Worcester Red Sox Baseball 2021 International League Polar Park
  1. ^ The year the organization was established in Massachusetts.
  2. ^ Currently branded as "Revolution II".

College sports[edit]

Holy Cross takes on Boston College in 1916 at Fenway Park. BC won the game, 17–14.
The Holy Cross Crusaders won the NCAA basketball championship in 1947 def. Oklahoma. Bob Cousy (All-American and NBA Hall-of-Famer) is in the front row, second from left

NCAA: Divisions I and II[edit]

School Nickname Division Conference
Boston College Eagles I Atlantic Coast Conference/Hockey East
Boston University Terriers I Patriot League/Hockey East
Northeastern University Huskies I Colonial Athletic Association/Hockey East
Harvard University Crimson I Ivy League/ECAC Hockey
College of the Holy Cross Crusaders I Patriot League/Atlantic Hockey/Hockey East
University of Massachusetts Amherst Minutemen/
Minutewomen
I Atlantic 10 Conference/Hockey East
University of Massachusetts Lowell River Hawks I America East Conference/Hockey East[14]
Merrimack College Warriors I Northeast Conference/Hockey East
Stonehill College Skyhawks I Northeast Conference/Independent (men's ice hockey)/New England Women's Hockey Alliance
American International College Yellow Jackets I/II Atlantic Hockey/Northeast-10 Conference
Bentley University Falcons I/II Atlantic Hockey/Northeast-10 Conference
Assumption University Greyhounds II Northeast-10 Conference[a]

In addition to the schools listed here, Franklin Pierce University, a full Division II member located near the state border in Rindge, New Hampshire, plays its men's and women's ice hockey home games in Massachusetts on the campus of The Winchendon School. FPU plays men's hockey in the Northeast-10 and women's hockey as a D-I program in the New England Women's Hockey Alliance.

  1. ^ Assumption will launch women's ice hockey in 2023–24, playing as a D-I program in the New England Women's Hockey Alliance.[15]

NCAA: Division III[edit]

School Nickname Division Conference
Amherst College Mammoths III Eastern College Athletic Conference/New England Small College Athletic Conference
Anna Maria College Amcats III Great Northeast Athletic Conference/Eastern Collegiate Football Conference
Babson College Beavers III New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference
Brandeis University Judges III University Athletic Association/Intercollegiate Fencing Association
Bridgewater State University Bears III Eastern College Athletic Conference/Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference/
Little East Conference
Clark University Cougars III New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference
Curry College Colonels III Commonwealth Coast Conference/Commonwealth Coast Football
Dean College Bulldogs III New England Collegiate Conference
Eastern Nazarene College Lions III New England Collegiate Conference
Elms College Blazers III New England Collegiate Conference
Emerson College Lions III New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference/Eastern College Athletic Conference
Emmanuel College Saints III Great Northeast Athletic Conference
Endicott College Gulls III Commonwealth Coast Conference/Commonwealth Coast Football/New England Collegiate Conference
Fitchburg State University Falcons III Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference
Framingham State University Rams III Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference
Gordon College Fighting Scots III Commonwealth Coast Conference
Lasell University Lasers III Great Northeast Athletic Conference
Lesley University Lynx III New England Collegiate Conference
Mount Holyoke College Lyons III New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Trailblazers III Eastern College Athletic Conference/Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference
Massachusetts Maritime Academy Buccaneers III Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference/New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Engineers III New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference
Nichols College Bison III Commonwealth Coast Conference/Commonwealth Coast Football/New England Collegiate Conference
Regis College Pride III Great Northeast Athletic Conference
Salem State University Vikings III Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference
Simmons University Sharks III Great Northeast Athletic Conference/North Atlantic Conference
Smith College Pioneers III New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference
Springfield College Pride III New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference
Suffolk University Rams III Great Northeast Athletic Conference
Tufts University Jumbos III New England Small College Athletic Conference
University of Massachusetts Boston Beacons III Little East Conference/New England Hockey Conference
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Corsairs III Little East Conference/Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference
Wellesley College Blues III New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference
Wentworth Institute of Technology Panthers III Commonwealth Coast Conference/Great Northeast Athletic Conference
Western New England University Golden Bears III Commonwealth Coast Conference/Commonwealth Coast Football
Westfield State University Owls III Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference
Wheaton College, Massachusetts Lyons III New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference
Williams College Ephs III / I New England Small College Athletic Conference
Worcester Polytechnic Institute Engineers III New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference
Worcester State University Lancers III Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference

NAIA[edit]

School Nickname Conference
Fisher College Falcons Independent

USCAA[edit]

School Nickname Conference
Bay Path University Wildcats Independent
Hampshire College Black Sheep Yankee Small College Conference

NJCAA Division II[edit]

School Nickname Reigon
Massasoit Community College Warriors 21

NJCAA Division III[edit]

School Nickname Reigon
Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology Shockers 21
Bristol Community College Bayhawks 21
Bunker Hill Community College Bulldogs 21
Holyoke Community College Cougars 21
Mass Bay Community College Buccaneers 21
Northern Essex Community College Knights 21
Quinsigamond Community College Chiefs 21
Roxbury Community College Tigers 21
Springfield Technical Community College Rams 21

High school[edit]

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) is an organization that sponsors activities in thirty-three sports, comprising 374 public and private high schools in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. The MIAA is a member of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), which writes the rules for most U.S. high school sports and activities. The MIAA was founded in 1978, and was preceded by both the Massachusetts Secondary School Principals' Association (MSSPA) (1942–78) and the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Council (MIAC) (1950–78).

Rugby will become the MIAA's 35th sport in 2016, following a 2015 MIAA vote that passed by a wide majority.[16] As of 2015, there are 19 boys’ teams and 5 girls’ teams across the state, with the majority of the Catholic Conference schools fielding rugby teams.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Stanley Cup Winners". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 19, 2009.
  2. ^ "Celtics History – Championship Wins". National Basketball Association. Retrieved October 19, 2009.
  3. ^ "Super Bowl History". National Football League. Retrieved October 19, 2009.
  4. ^ "World Series Winners, Records, and Results and Postseason Series". Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  5. ^ Le Miere, Jason (October 23, 2021). "New England Revolution win 2021 MLS Supporters' Shield". MLSsoccer.com. Retrieved October 23, 2021.
  6. ^ a b "Volleyball pushed as official team sport of Mass". Boston Herald. October 4, 2009. Retrieved October 19, 2009.
  7. ^ "25 Olympians from Massachusetts". GoLocalWorcester. Retrieved May 7, 2015.
  8. ^ "Ranking the Top 50 Athletes from Massachusetts". May 30, 2017.
  9. ^ Jose, Colin (1998). The American Soccer League: The Golden Years of American Soccer 1921-1931. Scarecrow Press. pp. 11, 477.
  10. ^ Foulds, Alan E. (2005). Boston's Ballparks & Arenas. University Press of New England. p. 53.
  11. ^ Williams, Jack (July 19, 2015). "Bert Patenaude, the forgotten hero who scored the first ever World Cup hat-trick". The Guardian. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  12. ^ "Timeline".
  13. ^ "The 50 Greatest Sports Figures from Massachusetts" Sports Illustrated (December 27, 1999)
  14. ^ http://www.americaeast.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=14000&ATCLID=669426
  15. ^ "Assumption accepts invitation to join NEWHA as its eighth member" (Press release). New England Women's Hockey Alliance. June 29, 2022. Retrieved July 16, 2022.
  16. ^ a b "Tuesday’s school roundup: MIAA votes to add rugby for 2016–17", Boston Globe, Eric Russo, May 6, 2015.

External links[edit]