Ontario is home to many sports, including baseball, football, soccer, lacrosse, basketball, and most of all hockey! The biggest sport in any Canadian province is going to be hockey, and they are home to two different NHL teams, one in Toronto and the other in Ottawa. Apart from hockey, Canada is not that well known for professional sports but the sports they they do have are just about all from Toronto. They are home to the Toronto Blue Jays (baseball), Toronto Rock (lacrosse), Toronto Football Club (soccer), and Toronto Raptors (basketball). But Ottawa and Toronto are not the only sports cities. For football, Toronto has the Argonauts, but they share the sport with Hamilton Tiger Cats. Even though all the teams have been criticized the past few years for their inconsistency and lack of success, the loyalty of fans continues, and attending any of them is sure to be a good time, win or lose.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are Ontario’s oldest sports team, founded in 1917, and since then have won 13 Stanley Cups. With the biggest fan base of any professional hockey team in the NHL, they are well known for their expensive tickets, which average at over $72 each. However, despite the high prices, they always have a sell out crowd at the Air Canada Centre. However despite their amazing history and many years of excellence early in their life, what the Leafs have become more famous is losing. They have not win the Cup since 1967, and haven’t even been in the playoffs for 6 years, and now many of their fans have started to give up. But still, if you happen to catch the Buds playing at home, the seats will always be full.
The Ottawa Senators may not have quite the huge support that the Leafs have but being the cities only pro team, they are pretty close. They joined the league in 1992, and since then have made one Stanley Cup Final appearance, in which they came up short. In their relatively short time in the league they have been quite successful, making the playoffs twelve of the last 13 seasons, giving them a fan base just behind the Leafs. For those looking for a great hockey atmosphere, Toronto is not the only place. Watching a game at Scotiabank Plaza is a great experience for any hockey fan.
The Toronto Blue Jays are Canada’s only MLB team. Started in 1977, they Jays have won two World Series Titles on back-to-back years in 1992 and 1993. Again like the rest of Toronto teams, as of late they have been unsuccessful too, not even making the playoffs since they won the World Series. Their home field, Rogers Centre, is one of the biggest in baseball, but the team city does not support baseball like they support hockey, and only have sellouts on games like the season opener. But what baseball does have on hockey is the price. Going to a Jays game is affordable for anyone, with some seats being less than $10, anyone can enjoy a day at the ball game.
Football is a sport in Canada, that may not have as much support as in the US, is developing. The Toronto Argonauts are part of the Canadian Football League (CFL), which is an eight team league. They have been actually been playing since 1873, but the CFL only started in 1958, winning 15 Grey Cups since then. The Argos also play at the Rogers Centre.
Hamilton is also part of the CFL, and has was started in 1950, and have 8 Grey Cups. Being Hamilton’s only professional team, when its football season the team gets huge support, often more than Toronto gets. The Toronto-Hamilton rivalry, the Labour Day Classic is always a game that is circled on the calendar and offers great excitement to see the provinces rivals going at it.
Just like baseball, the Toronto Raptors are Canada’s only NBA team. They joined the league in 1995 along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, but the Raptors were the only ones who lasted. Being a young team they have not had huge success but they do have some to be proud of after winning their first conference title in 2007. However after losing stars like Vince Carter and Chris Bosh, much like other Toronto teams (Leafs) are now in the rebuilding process.
Toronto has done a great job to reach out to its large European community with the Toronto Football Club (TFC). The team joined the MLS in 2006 but have not been successful on the pitch. However, off the pitch the fans have helped it be profitable every single year, averaging over 20,000 fans a game. BMO Field offers a great outdoor environment for a soccer match, but can be quite cold some days, getting the cold from Lake Ontario.
Sports in Ontario have grown for over a hundred years and continue to grow, uniting people, cultures, and fans. The friendly rivalries, the Battle of Ontario, in both hockey and football, make games extra exciting and attract even more support from fans. Hopefully the great support for all the teams will result in some success soon.