ⓘ Toronto Blizzard, 1971–1984. This article is about the original Toronto Blizzard of the NASL. For the second team to use the name, see Toronto Blizzard 1986–199 ..

Toronto Blizzard (1971–1984)

ⓘ Toronto Blizzard (1971–1984)

This article is about the original Toronto Blizzard of the NASL. For the second team to use the name, see Toronto Blizzard 1986–1993

The Toronto Blizzard were a professional soccer club based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada that played in the North American Soccer League.


1. History

The Toronto Metros joined the NASL in 1971. Their home field was Varsity Stadium.

In 1975, 50% of the team was purchased for $250.000 by the Toronto Croatia of the National Soccer League, and the team became the Toronto Metros-Croatia. The club won the 1976 Soccer Bowl championship. However, they continued to struggle at the gate.

The Global Television Network purchased 85% of the struggling Toronto Metros-Croatia on February 1, 1979 for $2.6 million. Following the purchase, Toronto Croatia returned to the NSL as a separate club. With only 7 of the 26 players from the 1978 roster staying, the NASL team was renamed the Toronto Blizzard following the takeover. Under the new ownership, attendances nearly doubled. From 1979–1983 the Blizzard played home games at Exhibition Stadium before returning to Varsity Stadium for the 1984 NASL season.

The Blizzard were members of the NASL until 1984, the last year of league operations. The team were runners-up for the league championship in 1983, losing the Soccer Bowl to the Tulsa Roughnecks 2–0 in front of nearly sixty thousand people at Vancouvers BC Place Stadium. They were runners-up again in 1984 when they lost to the Chicago Sting two games to none in a best of three championship series. The club was coached in these final two years by Bobby Houghton, assisted by Dave Turner and featured Roberto Bettega, David Byrne, Cliff Calvert, Pasquale De Luca, Charlie Falzon, Sven Habermann, Paul Hammond, Paul James, Conny Karlsson, Victor Kodelja, Trevor McCallum, Colin Miller, Jan Moller, Jimmy Nicholl, Ace Ntsoelengoe, Randy Ragan, Neill Roberts, John Paskin, Derek Spalding, and Bruce Wilson in its lineup.

The Blizzard qualified for the play-offs on only two other occasions, in 1979 and 1982, losing in the first round each time. Prominent players during the first four years included Clyde Best, Zeljko Bilecki, Jimmy Bone, Roberto Bettega, Drew Busby, David Byrne, Cliff Calvert, Tony Chursky, David Fairclough, Colin Franks, George Gibbs, Jimmy Greenhoff, Steve Harris-Byrne, Graham Hatley, Victor Kodelja, Sam Lenarduzzi, Peter Lorimer, Ivan Lukacevic, Drago Vabec, Mike McLenaghen, Willie McVie, Alan Merrick, Charlie Mitchell, Juan Carlos Molina, Jan Moller, Francesco Morini, Ace Ntsoelengoe, Bobby Prentice, Randy Ragan, Neill Roberts, Malcolm Robertson, Peter Roe, Jomo Sono, Gordon Sweetzer, Blagoje Tamindzic, Jose Velasquez, and Bruce Wilson.

The Metros-Croatia fielded a team in NASLs indoor league in 1975 and 1976, as did the Blizzard from 1980 through 1982.

In 2010, the 1976 Soccer Bowl winning team was inducted into the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame.


2. After the NASL

On March 28, 1985, the NASL officially suspended operations for the 1985 season, when only Toronto and Minnesota Strikers were interested in playing. In the meantime Blizzard owners York-Hanover purchased Dynamo Latino of the National Soccer League with the intention of renaming them the Toronto Blizzard. Though the Blizzard franchise had never actually folded, they had ceased operations for several months between these incarnations and NSL regulations did not permit a name change in the midst of the season. The following season 1986 Dynamo Latino began play as the Toronto Blizzard. A history of this team can be found at Toronto Blizzard 1986–93.

  • Earthquakes 1981 with the Calgary Boomers 1982 and 83 with the Toronto Blizzard and 1984 with the Chicago Sting. He remained with the Sting when the team
  • professional career with the Toronto Blizzard of the North American Soccer League. He joined the New Westminster Police Service in 1984 and as of May 2010 is
  • former footballer who played for Third Lanark, Airdrieonians, Hearts, Toronto Blizzard and Morton. Busby also served Queen of the South as their player - manager
  • Mexico but did not see action. Habermann played for the NASL Toronto Blizzard in 1983 and 1984 Habermann played in the Canadian Soccer League for the Calgary
  • club and was noted as a fast outside left. Prentice then played for Toronto Blizzard for three seasons from 1979 to 1981 0 goals in 29 appearances plus
  • developed into a top class midfield player while with the Toronto Blizzard On the Blizzard team, James scored against the then famed New York Cosmos
  • demise - the 1982 with the Montreal Manic and 1983 and 84 with the Toronto Blizzard In September 1985, Falzon signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh
  • defender, McCallum was a Toronto Blizzard in the last two seasons of the NASL, 1983 and 84. He later played with the second Blizzard in the Canadian Soccer
  • He was acquired by Toronto Blizzard in December 1981, when the Kicks were about to fold, and became a key figure in the Blizzard s rise to become one
  • the NASL between 1975 and 1980 for the Toronto Metros - Croatia and Toronto Blizzard He scored the second of Toronto s three goals in the 54th minute of their
  • player who played as a midfielder. He played at club level for Toronto Blizzard Toronto Nationals, Hamilton Steelers, Buffalo Storm and Ottawa Intrepid
  • domestically with Hellenic, then spent the 1984 North American Soccer League season with Toronto Blizzard He played 16 games and scored 10 goals, including
  • the Sting. In 1983, he signed with the Toronto Blizzard and spent two seasons in Canada. In both 1983 and 1984 Spalding and his teammates went to the

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