Teams in the CFL
The links at the right will take you to short ream histories as they are completed. You can also jump to the all-time rosters for the teams.
For most of the modern era, there have been nine teams in the CFL. There is no clear definition of the "modern era" but many consider it to have started after World War II in 1946. The Montreal Alouettes were formed that season, and in 1950 the Hamilton Tiger-Cats were created by the merger of the Hamilton Tigers and the Hamilton Wildcats. The ninth and final "classic" team was the BC (then Vancouver) Lions added in 1954. 1954 also marked the final year in which amateur teams such as those in the ORFU (Ontario Ruby Football Union) were allowed to challenge for the Grey Cup. University teams had stopped participating in the Grey Cup playoffs back in 1935.
The other event that helped cement the modern era of the CFL took place in 1948 when the Calgary fans went east with their horses to Toronto and transformed the Grey Cup into a national party and event. From 1954 through 1986, the CFL remained stable with those nine "classic" teams. The Montreal Alouettes folded just prior to the start of the 1987 season, leaving the CFL with only eight teams.
The next change occurred with the American expansion era from 1993-1995. The Sacramento Goldminers were the first American based team in 1993. Sacramento was joined by the Shreveport Pirates, Baltimore and the Los Vegas Posse in 1994. In 1995, the Posse folded and Sacramento moved to San Antonio to become the Texans while the Birmingham Barracudas and the Memphis Mad Dogs were added. 1995 became the only year in CFL history where the East and West divisions did not exist, as the league realigned itself into North and South divisions. The American based teams all folded after the 1995 season in which Baltimore became the first and so far only non Canadian based team to win the Grey Cup. While the other teams were dispersed in a draft, Baltimore was moved to Montreal and the Alouettes were reborn and 1996 had the classic nine team CFL line-up again.
Unfortunately, that lasted for only one season as Ottawa folded after the 1996 season and the CFL continued on as an eight team league. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers who normally played in the West division were moved to the East division to balance the teams, the same procedure which had happened when Montreal had folded in 1987. Ottawa rejoined the CFL in 2002, shifting Winnipeg back to the West division, and the CFL once more had the classic nine teams from 2002 to 2005. Ottawa folded for a second time after the 2005 season and again Winnipeg was shifted to the East. Plans are underway to have Ottawa rejoin the CFL and the hope is that there could be future expansion of the league into other markets.
A Naming Oddity
ORFU and Others
Also on the list of teams are some university teams. University teams challenged for and won the Grey Cup many times in the early years of football in Canada. 1935 was the last year that university teams challenged for the Grey Cup.
The Classic Nine