“Many players have gone on to star in University/College and Professional football.”
The Northern Football Conference (NFC) was formed in 1954 as the Northern Ontario Rugby Football Union (NORFU). Its purpose, then as it is now, is to provide an opportunity for athletes over the age of 19 to play football beyond the high school level. Over 6700 players have availed themselves of the opportunity to play in the over 900 scheduled NFC games. Many players have gone on to star in University/College and Professional football. Likewise, many star University/College players have chosen to continue playing competitive football in the NFC. NFC football is played at a very high caliber and is very entertaining and exciting brand of play.
The newly formed league began playing in 1954 with four teams participating: Kirkland Lake Alouettes, North Bay Roughriders, Sudbury Hardrocks and Tri-Town (Cobalt, Haileybury, New Liskeard) Raiders, and has operated annually with as many as eleven teams and as few as three teams since that time.
In the intervening years other teams, communities and clubs have entered and departed the league. In total there have been thirty teams representing 19 communities and 1 team representing Laurentian University. The former membership includes: Sturgeon Falls Bombers, Rouyn-Noranda Fantassins, North Renfrew Rams, North Bay Ti-Cats, Val D’Or Jets, Timmins Falcons, Kirkland Lake Kougars, Sault Ste. Marie Steelers, Laurentian University Voyageurs, Bramalea Satellites, Orillia Silver Bombers, Etobicoke Argonauts, Stoney Creek Patriots, North Bay Northmen, Hamilton Wildcats, Brampton Bears, Brampton Bulldogs, Scarborough Crimson Tide, Hamilton Wild Cats, Toronto Eagles, Peterborough Packers, Milton Marauders, Belleville Panthers, Kingston Privateers and Mississauga Wolverines.
The current league is composed of eleven teams centered in, Toronto (Titans and Raiders), Hamilton, Ottawa, North Bay, Oakville, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Tri City (Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge), Sarnia, and Niagara Falls
The league continues to have a Northern Ontario flavour as befits it name, but it is now a province-wide senior amateur football group that has a very storied history.
“A significant change took place in Sudbury in 1967 when Head Coach Sid Forster renamed the team “Spartans.”
Sixteen years later, a new local senior team was born in the form of the Sudbury Hardrocks. The team’s opening campaign was modest by any measure – two exhibition games against the only other northern team prepared to play senior football at the time, New Liskeard. By 1954, the Hardrocks were joined by North Bay, the Tri-Towns, and Kirkland Lake in a revived NORFU.
On Labour Day 1954, the first NORFU football game of the modern era was held at Queen’s Athletic Field in front of 3,000 fans. North Bay won the encounter with Sudbury by two points. The Hardrocks went undefeated the rest of season winning the inaugural league championship and the Donald Plaunt Memorial Trophy donated by local businessman W.B. Plaunt to commemorate a brother killed in World War II.