About The SOFFHL.


One hot summer night in July, 1974, a group of firefighters from 12 departments in Southern Ontario got together around a table at the Carling O’Keefe Breweries meeting room in Kitchener, Ontario. Their purpose was to organize a firefighter’s hockey league which would accommodate players in the area and provide some fun and fellowship. The league formed that night was called the Southern Ontario Firefighters Hockey League and its objectives were: the fostering and encouraging of a high degree of skill and efficiency in hockey, good sportsmanship, and the cultivating of friendship among its members.

There were 12 teams that first year from the following departments: Toronto, Scarborough, York, North York, Dundas, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, East York, Etobicoke, Brantford, London and Oakville. Being of basically equal caliber, those teams played in 1 division, visiting each other’s home arenas and sharing good, fun hockey and some socializing afterwards. As interest in this association grew, so did the league membership and more divisions were required as the calibre of play improved with some teams.

The second season 1975-76 saw the idea of having a league tournament was adopted. Having been impressed by similar old-timers tournaments in the area, the league executive hosted this first tournament, held at the Thornhill Community Centre. It was a 2-day, 2-division event and was a huge success. The New York F.D. was invited to come up and play a game against a league all-star team, and they have been back as participants ever since.

The ’76-77 season saw our tournament become an invitational one, with several teams outside the league and Toronto area participating. This was held at Hylands Arena.

Over the next few years, several of the league teams volunteered to run the tournament at their home rinks, as it was getting to be more and more popular. The Scarborough team, with Ken Keeler at the helm, held it at Mid-Scarborough Arena and McGregor Park in ’77-78.

The 1978-79 season saw the boys from Mississauga with Rolly Landriault in charge host the event at Meadowvale 4-rinks. Then in 1979-80 we saw Dave Mollison and the boys from Etobicoke hold the event at Westwood Arenas, where it has been ever since.

The 1981-82 season saw the league grow in membership as did the tournament….we were now up to 40 teams in 5 divisions over 4 days. Because of the magnitude of the event and the amount of work involved to put it on now, the league decided to take over hosting the event entirely, with the executive handling the operations with volunteer help from the teams. Westwood became the permanent tournament location with its great location and facilities that suited our needs.

The tournament continued to grow in the 1984-85 season, and the league appointed past president, Gary Nystrom as tournament director for the next 2 years. We now had 50 teams competing in 6 divisions and teams still wanted in.

The ’85-86 season, the tournament jumped to 60 teams and we went to a full 5-day event.

In 1988-89 the league saw the office of secretary-treasurer split into individual duties.  We also saw the need for the league to organize on-ice officials, and appointed Bob Head, Toronto, as our first referee-in-chief.

Over the last 48 years, the tournament has virtually remained the same with the enjoyment of hosting teams from as far away as Sweden, Alaska, California, British Columbia, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Quebec and more while making terrific friends along the way!