The Spartans Are Born

In 1967, Sudbury changed the name of its football team from the Sudbury Hardrocks to the Sudbury Spartans to rid themselves of the "streetfighter" image that came to mind.  That year, Sudbury Spartans won the Northern Ontario Rugby Football Union championship title against the undefeated North Bay Tiger Cats.  With the league victory in hand, Sudbury went on to compete in the Eastern Canadian semi-final of the Canadian Amateur Football Association.  They played against the Chateauguay Ramblers in Montreal and suffered a heart-breaking one point loss in overtime.

Sudbury Spartans 1967 N.F.C. Champs.  Photo courtesy of "Homegrown Heroes: A Sports History of Sudbury".Then in 1968, the Sudbury Spartans once again won the Northern Football Conference (formerly known as N.O.R.F.U.) title, sending them to the Eastern Canadian championships.  However, in that year the Canadian Amateur Football Association decided to stop paying the travel expenses for play-off clubs, resulting in southern teams refusing to compete in the national championship playoffs.  This afforded Sudbury an automatic Eastern Canadian victory and a bye to the national championships.

Paying their own way to Winnipeg, the Sudbury Spartans competed against the Western champs, the St. Vital Bulldogs, for the national title.  Sudbury was in rough shape as the players were plagued with injuries.  The Bulldogs were a much larger and more experienced team consisting of seasoned veterans and some late-cuts from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.  Despite the Spartans' courage and determination, they lost the game to the more powerful team.


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