Unbeknownst to many, Brantford has a rich sporting tradition. Of course, Brantford is the birthplace of “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky, and is known as the Tournament Capital of Ontario, due to the large number of youth and amateur sports tournaments hosted in the city each year. However, the city’s local professional, semi-pro and junior teams are also adding to Brantford’s sporting reputation.
Since the city is Gretzky’s home, hockey runs rampant in the streets and arenas of Brantford. The city is home to two teams: the Eagles, of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, and the Blast, of Major League Hockey.
Over the years, the Eagles have proven to be one of Ontario’s top Junior “B” teams. Playing in the GOJHL, which is considered to be at the same level as “Tier-II Junior A,” the Eagles have managed to make it to the Sunderland Cup finals each of the past two years. In 2009, they took home the championship after defeating Stoney Creek, and in this past year the Eagles just missed repeating, losing to LaSalle in the championship series.
In the three years that the Eagles have been a member of the GOJHL, they have impressively won the Midwestern Conference twice.
The other hockey team to call the city home is the Blast, which is classified as a “Senior A” team, and competes in Ontario’s MLH. Despite being on hiatus last year, the Blast will return to the ice for this season, expecting the same success that they ended on.
In their short ten-year history, the Blast have been crowned league champions twice, but their most impressive task was winning the 2008 Allan Cup, held in Brantford, which gave the team the title of national champions.
Both the Blast and the Eagles play their home games at the Brantford Civic Centre, located just a short walk from campus.
Off the ice, Brantford is also providing exciting play and fielding strong teams in major summer sports.
Perhaps Brantford’s most historic sporting team is the Red Sox, a semi-pro baseball team who play in the Intercounty Baseball League. Founded in 1911, the team is currently celebrating its 99th anniversary. The team has seen tremendous success over the past four years, claiming the league championship three times.
This season, the Red Sox are continuing their quest to become a dynasty in the IBL, as they are currently in second place with an impressive 9-3 record. The Sox play at the beautiful Arnold Anderson Stadium, located just over the Colborne Street Bridge at Cockschutt Park.
Last, but certainly not least, is the newest team to call Brantford home. The Brantford Galaxy S.C. is a professional soccer team currently in their inaugural year in the Canadian Soccer League. The team features an impressive roster of players from all over the globe, as well as a reserve squad of entirely Canadian players, a few of which are actually from Brantford.
Despite this being the Galaxy’s very first season, they have proven to be a tough team to play. They currently sit second in the league and, perhaps even more impressive, are still undefeated as of June 15. The Galaxy play their home games at Lion Park, off of Gilkinson Street just across the bridge.
As the record shows, Brantford is a city with a vibrant sports scene. The fans are proud and the teams are exciting. Taking a trip to a local sports game is a great way to get involved in the community, and is an affordable source of entertainment at any time of the year.