Sports in Rochester, New York
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The city and metropolitan area of Rochester, New York has several sports teams. Rochester was named the top minor league sports market in the country by Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal in July 2005, the number 10 "best golf city" in America by Golf Magazine in 2007, and the fifth-best "sports town" in the country by Scarborough Research in September 2008.
As recently as 1994, there were only two professional sports franchises in Rochester: the baseball Red Wings and the hockey Americans. Since then, a number of new teams have been instituted (and a smaller number have folded), most of which have been very successful. In 2007, among cities in North America with at least seven (at the time) professional teams, Rochester was determined to be the only one whose teams all had cumulative winning regular season records.
A list of current professional teams in Rochester:
|Club||Sport||Began play||League||Venue||Titles||Championship years|
|Rochester Red Wings||Baseball||1899||International League||Frontier Field||20||1899, 1901, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1939, |
1940, 1952, 1955, 1956, 1964, 1971, 1974, 1988, 1990, 1997
|Rochester Americans||Ice hockey||1956||AHL||Blue Cross Arena||6||1964–65, 1965–66, 1967–68, 1982–83, 1986–87, 1995–96|
|Rochester Knighthawks||Indoor lacrosse||2019||NLL||Blue Cross Arena||0|
|Rochester Rhinos||Soccer||1996||USL||TBA||4||1998, 2000, 2001, 2015|
|Rochester Razorsharks||Basketball||2005||TBL||Blue Cross Arena||8||2005–06, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017|
The Rochester Red Wings baseball club, the AAA affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, are one of the oldest existing franchises in all of professional sports. They play in the International League and won at least one pennant or championship in each decade of the 20th Century. The Rochester Americans ice hockey team, the AHL affiliate for the NHL Buffalo Sabres, are known as the "Amerks."
Lacrosse has seen some popularity in Rochester. The Rochester Knighthawks play box lacrosse in the National Lacrosse League during winter and spring. The current Knighthawks team replaced the former Rochester Knighthawks that played in Rochester from 1995 until 2018. In outdoor lacrosse, the Rochester Rattlers were a charter member of Major League Lacrosse, but the franchise was transferred away after winning the championship in 2008; the Rattlers were then re-established in 2011 before being relocated a final time in 2017.
Professional soccer, once a popular sport in Rochester has declined over the years. The Rochester Rhinos soccer club played for many years in the A-League, which was the second-highest level American soccer league; the Rhinos even won the U.S. Open Cup against Major League Soccer competition in 1999 and have won league championships in 1998, 2000, 2001, and 2015. Despite the success, the popularity of the club has declined in recent years into dire levels. The Rochester Lancers (2010) started up in indoor soccer in 2011 and folded by 2015.
In women's sports, Rochester is the home of the Western New York Flash, 2011 Women's Professional Soccer champions. In prior years, the Rochester Ravens have competed in the semi-pro W-League under a few different names. The Filarets were a notable women's basketball team that played in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.
The absence of a major pro sports team has not always been the case. From 1920 to 1925, Rochester was home to the Rochester Jeffersons, a charter member of the National Football League. From 1948 to 1957, the Rochester Royals played in the National Basketball Association, winning the NBA championship in 1951. In soccer, the Rochester Lancers played from 1970 to 1980 in the top-level North American Soccer League and became NASL champions in the 1970 season.
Since 1877, 29 teams in eight professional sports have represented Rochester, according to The Rochester Sports Project by local sports historian Douglas Brei. In spring 2006, Brei showed that Rochester's professional sports teams were collectively approaching 25,000 games played. That game was played on June 16, 2006, when Red Wings hosted the Indianapolis Indians at Frontier Field. He also reports that only six active franchises in the history of North American professional sports have played in the same city and same league continuously and uninterrupted since the 19th century: Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, and Rochester Red Wings.
U.S Women's Soccer Team in Rochester
- In 1997 the U.S women's soccer team played a friendly vs the Rochester Ravens in front of 9,131 spectators. Team USA won 8-0.
- In the 1998 Nike Cup team USA played vs. Russia in front of 13,125 in a 4-0 win. Also in that tournament Brazil faced off vs Mexico at Frontier Field where Brazil dominated winning 11-0.
- The largest crowd in Frontier Field history was on September 25, 2004 when the United States Women's National Soccer Team played an International Friendly vs Iceland on September 25. Team USA won 4-3 in front of 14,870 fans.
- On September 13, 2006, Team USA played Mexico in an international friendly winning 3-1 in front of 6,784.
- On July 19, 2009, Team USA played Vs. Canada in front of 8,433 winning 1-0 on a goal scored by Rochester native Abby Wambach.
- On September 1, 2012 the US Women's team played an international friendly as part of their 2012 Olympic championship celebration Vs. Costa Rica in front of 13,208 fans winning 8-0.
- On September 18, 2014 Team USA played Vs. Mexico in front of 5,680 fans winning 4-0.
Rochester has a rich history in golf dating back to the 19th Century. The area's oldest club, The Country Club of Rochester was founded in 1896. Oak Hill Country Club, which is often included in America's Top 100 Courses  is in the suburb of Pittsford. Oak Hill has hosted all 6 of the men's major championships including the Ryder Cup, Men's U.S Open, and PGA Championship. Locust Hill Country Club hosted the Wegman's LPGA from 1977 to 2009. The LPGA Championship was played at Locust Hill from 2010 to 2013 and at the Monroe Golf Club in 2014. Numerous golf magazines have praised Rochester for its rich passion for the game and its high level of competition.
Rochester is the largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in the U.S. which does not include at least one college or university participating at the NCAA Division I level in all sports. Almost all area college sports are played at the NCAA Division III level. The only exceptions are the RIT men's and women's ice hockey teams, which compete at the Division I level. The men's team made it to the NCAA Frozen Four in 2010 and the women's team won the Division III national championship in 2012, just before switching over to Division I. The Nazareth Golden Flyers men's volleyball team won the 2011 NCAA DIII national championship. Also the Nazareth Lacrosse teams won a pair of national championships in the late 1990s.
Among junior colleges, Monroe Community College has had some success in NJCAA Division II sports, including golf. The school won back-to-back national championships for women's lacrosse in 2010 and 2011.
NCAA Championships Hosted
-2016 NCAA D3 Men's Golf
-2016 NCAA D3 Men's Volleyball
-2013 NCAA D3 Men's Volleyball
-2012 NCAA D3 Women's Hockey
-2011 NCAA D3 Women's Hockey
Rochester is home to two men's rugby teams, the Rochester Aardvarks and the Rochester Colonials. Both have long histories, with the Aardvarks celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2006, and the Rochester Colonials celebrating 30 years in 2010. Both rugby clubs are among the few in the country to own their own pitch: Aardvark Park in Henrietta, New York, while the Colonials play their matches at Marianne Cope Parish in Henrietta, New York. The Aardvarks and the Colonials both have hosted local and statewide tournaments and the Rochester Colonials hosted the 2007 USA Rugby National Collegiate All-Star Championships, Rochester's first national tournament, as well as the 2009 NYS Rugby Upstates Tournament and the 2009 New York State High School Rugby Championships. Both teams participate in the annual Can-Am Rugby Tournament in Saranac Lake, New York in early August. Rochester also has a Women's Rugby club, the Rochester Renegades, who celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2008. The Renegades started the New York State Rugby Women's Division.
The Rochester Bicycling Club is a social and fitness bicycling club.
Rochester is also home to Rochester Rhythm the three time champions of the American Extreme Paintball League or AXBL.
The Rochester Curling Club is the westernmost curling club in New York.
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