Sport in Ottawa
Sport in Ottawa, Canada's capital, has a history dating back to the 19th century. Ottawa is now home to four professional sports teams: the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League; the Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League; the Ottawa Champions of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball; and the Ottawa Fury of the United Soccer League. 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.
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.
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. 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. Less than two years later, in March 2008, a new franchise was awarded to the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, led by Jeff Hunt, to begin play in 2010. The franchise was conditional upon reconstruction of Frank Clair Stadium, leading to a four-year delay for the team. The third iteration of professional football in Ottawa, the Ottawa Redblacks, began play in 2014, playing in the newly refurbished TD Place Stadium.
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. The rivalry between the two schools was heated, and the annual game between the two teams was known as the Panda Game.
The Ottawa Rowing Club was founded on 6 June 1867,. One of its founders and first patron was Sir John A. Macdonald; other members of the first executive committee included Robert Lyon (politician), mayor of Ottawa, and; Allan Gilmour, businessman in the shipping and timber industries. The original club house was a wooden building, initially built on pontoons, and moored to the shore of the Ottawa river at the foot of parliament hill, between the Rideau canal and the Chaudière falls. Whilst the view from the club house over the Chaudière falls was picturesque, the rowing conditions were difficult: vast field of sawdust and other refuse from an immense lumber mill situated about the falls, and logs escaping from the booms. Each spring, along with the melting ice, the club house floated downstream and came aground. Every year it was brought back up near the Rideau canal. In the early 1870s, the ORC ceased to exist before being re-introduced on 25 June 1875 with approximately 100 members.
In 1884 and 1885, the club house suffered important damage when it sank. Members of the Ottawa Rowing Club, led by P. D. Ross, discussed building a permanent foundation for the club boat house in 1887. In spring 1896, the members of the Club decided to purchase a piece of the river front property at 10 Lady Grey Drive and leave the club house in its current, permanent location.
For six consecutive years, from 1905 to 1911, members of the club were the North American champions. The two world wars were difficult years for the club, with fourteen members of the club losing their lives while serving during World War I and with the shell house being neglected and showing signs of deterioration.
During the Depression years, P.D. Ross, former editor of the defunct Ottawa Journal, was president of the club. He infuriated his reporters by paying them small salaries while openly spending into equipment and upkeep for the rowing club.
In 1949, the Ottawa Rowing Club accepted to contribute to the development of the rowing program at the University of Ottawa by offering equipment and coaches. However, the 1950s and 1960s was a period of decline for the Ottawa Rowing Club. After seizing Club due to financial constraints, the City of Ottawa agreed to restore in 1967 the part of the old shell house that exists today but decided to demolish the other half of the building due to its poor condition (that portion of the building stored boats and included a ballroom). On that year, there were only nine members of the Club and the permanent closure of the club was being debated.
Volunteers, such as Peter King, supported the development of rowing in Ottawa in the 1970s. The rowing boom resulted in two new clubs (that do not exist anymore): the Nepean Rowing Club and the Ottawa Carleton Rowing School. With close to 1000 members, the Ottawa Rowing Club is one of the largest rowing club in Canada. It hosts three regatta per year.
Both Carleton University and the University of Ottawa sport varsity men's teams. The U Sports Men's Basketball Championship has been held in Ottawa from 2008 to 2010 and 2013 to 2014. The city plays host to the Capital Hoops Classic every January where both university teams play at Canadian Tire Centre. The first classic set a record for the highest attended university game in Canadian history.
The city is home to 15 curling clubs, more than any other municipality in eastern Canada. The city has hosted four 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 15 teams to the Tournament of Hearts: Helen Hanright (1964), Dawn Ventura (1974 and 1976), Anne Merklinger (1993, 1994, 1998 and 2000) Jenn Hanna (2005 and 2016), Rachel Homan (2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2019). 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. She won national titles again in 2014 and in 2017. Ottawa also hosted the 2017 Canadian Olympic Curling Trials which was won by Homan, who represented Canada the 2018 Winter Olympics.
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.
Ottawa has had 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, but 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.
The Ottawa Champions, who play at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park, were founded in 2014 and began play in 2015 however the Can-Am League merged with the Frontier League in 2019 and the Champions were left off the 2020 schedule.
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 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 was the Ottawa Fury Women, a women's semi-professional team. Ottawa Sports and Entertainment group launched a professional men's team in 2014, the Ottawa Fury, which currently plays in the second-division United Soccer League (USL). Their home is at Lansdowne Park in a redeveloped TD Place Stadium.
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 gambling. Races have been held on the frozen Rideau Canal and the frozen Ottawa River.
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 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.
Australian Rules Football
- 1903 Stanley Cup Challenge
- 1904 Stanley Cup Challenge
- 1905 Stanley Cup
- 1908 Stanley Cup Challenge
- 1909 Stanley Cup
- 1910 Stanley Cup Challenge
- 1911 Stanley Cup
- 1915 Stanley Cup Finals
- 1920 Stanley Cup Finals
- 1921 Stanley Cup Finals
- 1922 Canadian Figure Skating Championships
- 1923 Stanley Cup Finals
- 1925 Grey Cup
- 1927 Stanley Cup Finals
- 1931 Memorial Cup
- 1939 Grey Cup
- 1940 Canadian Figure Skating Championships
- 1940 Grey Cup
- 1949 Canadian Figure Skating Championships
- 1953 Canadian Figure Skating Championships
- 1958 Canadian Figure Skating Championships
- 1958 Memorial Cup
- 1961 Diamond D Championship
- 1967 Grey Cup
- 1972 Memorial Cup
- 1976 Skate Canada International
- 1979 Macdonald Brier
- 1981 Skate Canada International
- 1987 Canadian Figure Skating Championships
- 1988 Grey Cup
- 1990 Scott Tournament of Hearts
- 1990 IIHF Women's World Championship
- 1993 Labatt Brier
- 1993 Skate Canada International
- 1996 Canadian Figure Skating Championships
- 1999 Canadian Figure Skating Championships
- 1999 Memorial Cup
- 2001 Nokia Brier
- 2001 Jeux de la Francophonie
- 2003 Canadian Junior Curling Championships
- 2004 Grey Cup
- 2005 NHL Entry Draft
- 2006 Canadian Figure Skating Championships
- 2006 Canadian Track and Field Championships
- 2007 Stanley Cup Finals
- 2008 CIS Men's Basketball Championship
- 2008 NHL Entry Draft
- 2008 Skate Canada International
- 2009 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships
- 2009 CIS Men's Basketball Championship
- 2010 Canadian National Fencing Championships
- 2010 CIS Men's Basketball Championship
- 2012 NHL All-Star Game
- 2013 CIS Men's Basketball Championship
- 2013 CIS Men's Basketball Championship
- 2013 IIHF Women's World Championship
- 2014 CIS Men's Basketball Championship
- 2016 Tim Hortons Brier
- 2017 Canadian Figure Skating Championships
- 2017 Canadian Track and Field Championships
- 2017 Canadian Olympic Curling Trials
- 2017 Grey Cup
- 2018 Canadian Track and Field Championships
Current sports teams
Past sports teams
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|
|2016||Vincent De Haitre (speed skating)||Rachel Homan (curling)|
|2016||Vincent De Haitre (speed skating / cycling)||Erica Wiebe (wrestling)|
|2015||Dustin Cook (alpine skiing)||Melissa Bishop (athletics)|
|2014||Vincent De Haitre (speed skating / cycling)||Ivanie Blondin (speed skating)|
|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)|
- "History". Ottawa Redblacks. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
- "CFL will return to Ottawa". Torontosun.com. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
- Johnson, Julia. "Carleton football veteran celebrates team's revival". Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
- "Exhibits browse - Archives & Research Collections". Arc.library.carleton.ca. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
- Ottawa Times, 6 June 1867.
- A History of American Amateur Athletics and Aquatics, 1888.
- Ottawa Daily Citizen, 20 October 1887.
- Greene, Trevor. 1988. Glory days. Ottawa Magazine, pp: 13–14.
- Ottawa Citizen. 13 November 1918.
- Greene, Trevor. 1988. Glory days. Ottawa Magazine, pp: 13–14.
- Archives of the University of Ottawa
- Information gathered from Wes Curran, umpire and rower at the Ottawa Rowing Club. July 2017.
- Ottawa Citizen Newspaper. 24 July 1986.
- "Carleton hosts Ottawa in 5th Capital Hoops Classic". U Sports. January 26, 2011. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
- "Pro Basketball Comes To Ottawa, NBL Canada expansion team awarded for 2013-14 season". Archived from the original on 2013-11-03. Retrieved 2013-10-09.
- Campbell, Don (December 21, 2012). "Fat Cats won't play in 2013". Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on January 11, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
- Warren, Ken. "Pro baseball returns to the plate in Ottawa". ottawacitizen.com. Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
- "ultimate test playoffs pro team on horizon for growing sport". Ottawacitizen.com. Retrieved March 15, 2016.