Sports in New England
Two popular American sports were invented in New England. Basketball was invented by James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1891. Volleyball was invented by William G. Morgan in Holyoke, Massachusetts, in 1895. Also, the first organized hockey game in the United States is widely believed to have been played in Concord, New Hampshire in 1883.
On November 1, 1924, the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League became the first NHL franchise to be based in the United States, and the second-oldest surviving major professional sports team in Boston, after the Red Sox. The Bruins' historic rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens for ice hockey fans in the Boston area has, at times, reached the level of intensity of the Yankees – Red Sox rivalry in professional baseball in the region.
The New England Patriots football team is based in Foxborough, Massachusetts, halfway between Boston and Providence. In 1999, the Patriots flirted with the idea of moving to Hartford, in what three National Football League (NFL) franchise owners called "the greatest financial deal any NFL owner has ever received". The deal, however, fell through, and the team remained in Foxborough.
Both the oldest Major League Baseball (MLB) professional baseball park still in use, Fenway Park, dating from April 1912, as well as the oldest indoor ice hockey rink still in use worldwide, Matthews Arena, which first opened in 1910 and currently stands on the property of Northeastern University for their collegiate ice hockey teams, are within the Boston city limits.
Until April 13, 1997, Hartford also had its own major hockey team, the Hartford Whalers. Originally known as the New England Whalers, they changed their name in 1979 after leaving the WHA for the NHL, hoping to carve a niche market in Hartford.
In the parts of southwestern Connecticut that are close to New York City, most people are New York Yankees and New York Mets fans, who are often self-identified as suburban New Yorkers. The New York Giants and New York Jets also receive significant support from New England, primarily from the southwestern portions of Connecticut. Additionally, until the team relocated to Washington for the start of the 2005 season, the Montreal Expos received some fan support in northern New England.
For the Mets, when they were in the World Series in their championship season of 1986, split allegiances among fans of both the Mets and opposing Boston Red Sox led to an article in The Boston Globe to coin the phrase "Red Sox Nation".
The Boston College Eagles hockey team has also attracted a large following over the past decade,[when?] winning four national championships in 2001, 2008, 2010, and 2012. Their football team also garnered large support while current Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan played for the Eagles.
The Boston University Terriers hockey team has likewise received large support over the years, winning the national championship in 2009, and has been a staple of Boston collegiate hockey over the past century. The Green Line Rivalry between Boston University and Boston College has been said to be one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports, as the two teams battle it out annually at the local favorite, Beanpottournament.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway is an oval racetrack which has hosted several NASCAR and American Championship Car Racing races, whereas Lime Rock Park is a traditional road racing venue home of sports car races. Both NASCAR Cup races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway draw over 100,000 fans, thus making NHMS the largest capacity sports venue in New England. New Hampshire also possesses the New England Dragway facility in Epping, New Hampshire as one of the very few remaining dragstrips in the New England region.
List of professional and semi-professional sports teams in New England
- Major League Baseball
- International League (AAA)
- Eastern League (AA)
- New York - Penn League (A)
- Atlantic League (Independent)
- Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball (Independent)
- Futures Collegiate Baseball League (Independent)
- National Hockey League (NHL)
- American Hockey League (AHL)
- Major League Soccer
- USL Premier Development League
- National Women's Soccer League
- Motorsports facilities in New England:
- Rugby union:
- Rugby league:
NCAA Division I schools in New England
Additionally, four colleges compete at the Division I level in ice hockey only: American International and Bentley College compete in the Atlantic Hockey Association, while Merrimack and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell compete in Hockey East and America East in the second half of 2013.
- New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame
- New England Sports Network
- Sports in Connecticut
- Sports in Maine
- Sports in Massachusetts
- Sports in New Hampshire
- Sports in Rhode Island
- Sports in Vermont
- History of Basketball - James Naismith
- History Of Volleyball
- New York Times: "Concord, N.H., Revisiting a Pond Hockey Legacy
- Cobb, Nathan (October 20, 1986). "Baseball Border War; In Milford Conn., Geography Brings Sox and Mets Fans". Boston Globe. p. 8.