Canadian Football & Other North American Football Leagues

Canadian Football League (1909-Present) The Canadian Football League broke away from the Amateur Canadian Rugby Union in 1958 and established the first Pro Gridiron Football League outside of the United States. (see Canadian Football for more on Canadian Football)

Arena Football League (1985-2019) The most successful venture since the AFL of 1960-1969, Arena Football (also known as Indoor Football) is played on a converted Ice Rink, with a 50-yard Field and two 8-yard endzones. Teams have 8 players and 5 downs (attempts) in which to score or the ball is turned over. It has become massively popular in Mexico. (see Arena Indoor Football for more on Reduced Numbers Football Leagues).

Indoor Football Leagues (1999-Present) The first League to offer an 8v8 Indoor Alternative to the Arena Football league was in 1999, playing without the rebound nets either side of the goalposts which were the only part of the Arena Football League which was copyrighted.

Legends Football League (2004-Present) An attempt at starting a Womens Pro League. (see Legends Football Leagues for more details).

American 7s Football League (2016-Present) A 7v7 League based initially in New Jersey but expanding around the country, American 7s takes the classic no pads football played in parks across USA and has codified it.

Canadian Football

This is an index page to the history of the results and tables of Canadian Football – the Canadian Football League, Canadian Junior Football League, Canadian Semi-Pro State League and U Sport (Canadian University Football). Where possible an Irish link has been found – for example American Football Ireland teams v Football Canada teams, Irish-born players in the Canadian Leagues, or simply just a team with an Irish name, such as Queen’s University Gaels in Kingston, Ontario. After the brief preamble explaining the differences between Canadian and American Football, and the common origins of both in a game played between McGill University (Montreal) and Harvard University (Massachusetts), the reader will find links to the results and tables of the Football Canada Leagues (CFL, CJFL, Semi-Pro Provincial Leagues, and U Sport).

There are 4 main versions of Gridiron Football: the traditional 11v11 game played in USA, a 12v12 version of the game played in Canada, and a 8v8 version of the game played Indoors on converted Ice Hockey Arenas.


[1] Professional Football Researchers Association (2011) “No Christian End!” The Early History of Professional Football. pg. 23-32. PFRA Publications. Connecticut.

American Football Ireland v Football Canada

American Football Ireland v Football Canada

Canadian U21 Teams International:

Canadian U20 & High School Gridiron Football Teams in Ireland 2012-2013

Irish American Football Teams v Canadian U21 Teams 2002-2013

Canadian Semi-Pro Provincial Leagues International:

Irish American Football Teams v Canadian Semi-Pro Teams 1994-1995

Picture Credit: [7] Irish American Football Association (2013) Bristol (White) and Greendell (Green) at Tallaght Stadium [Internet] Available from:×487.jpg [Accessed 8 November 2019]

Canadian Football League Major Era 1956-Present

CFL 1956-Present

The 12v12 version of the game played in Canada differs from American Football not only in the number of players allowed on the field at any one time (12 in a Canadian Football team versus 11 in an American Football team), but also in the size of the field (a Canadian Football field is 110 yards long with two 20-yard endzones, while an American Football field is 100 yards long with two 15 yard endzones). Canadian Football teams also have only three downs (attempts) in which to gain 10 yards or the ball is turned over as opposed to four downs in American Football. There is also the possibility of scoring a “Rouge” in Canadian Football – this happens when the ball is kicked through the back of the endzone, and is worth one point.

Grey Cup

Canadian Football League Grey Cup Champions 1909-Present

Canadian Football League (Overviews):

Canadian Football League 2001-2009

Canadian Football League 1993-1995

Canadian Football League 1956-1960

Canadian Football League (Seasons):2020 2019 

Canadian Football League (Preseasons)2021 2019

Canadian Football League Timelines:

Canadian Football League Timeline 1869-present

Canadian Football League Expansion 1869-present

Picture Credit: Shutterstock / Scott Prokop (2008) REGINA – OCT 25: Canadian Football League game featuring the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Edmonton Eskimoes. October 25, 2008 in Regina, Canada. [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 4 May 2021]

Canadian Rugby Union (1909-1956)

CRU 1909-1956

The Interprovincial Rugby Football Union (IRFU), the Big Four (Hamilton Tigers, Toronto Argonauts, Ottawa Rough Riders and Montreal Football Club), The Grey Cup was donated in 1909 by the Earl of Grey, for which only Canadian Rugby Union members may play for. The CFL’s version of the Super Bowl, and since the 1950s has been in the sole possession of the CFL, when the sport broke away from the Canadian Rugby Union and formed its own League, with the Cup dating back to the late-nineteenth century.

Canadian Football is 12-a-side as opposed to 11-a-side in standard American Football, with a 110-yard field, with two 20-yard endzones (whereas in American Football it is 100-yards long with two 15-yard endzones). in Canadian Football teams also have only three downs (attempts) in which to gain 10 yards before the ball is turned over as opposed to 4 in American Football. There is also the “Rouge” – 1 Point scored when the ball is kicked out the back of the endzone.

Canadian Rugby Union 1909-1956

Canadian Rugby Union (Canadian Football) 1946-1955

Canadian Rugby Union (Canadian Football) 1916-1919

Canadian Rugby Union (Canadian Football) 1907-1915

Picture Credit: [3] Kids Encyclopedia facts | Kiddle (2019) Canadian Football League League facts for Kids [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 9 June 2019]

people playing american football

Early Canadian Football 1861-1909

Early Canadian Football 1861-1909

The 12 players per team dates to 1874 when McGill University from Montreal challenged Harvard University in Massachusetts to two games of Football – one under Harvard’s American Rules, and one under McGill’s Rugby rules. At the time Soccer (Association Football) was favoured in USA Colleges, and Harvard had continued to play by “Boston Rules” (an early version of the game played in Boston). Canadian Football at the time favoured Rugby rules. Only 12 players made the trip to Harvard for the game from McGill, and as well as both Universities favouring the smaller number of players (there is 15 on a Rugby team), Harvard liked the idea of a Touchdown, as used in the Canadian Rugby version of the game. From then on the Harvard-McGill rules won out in both USA and Canada over Rugby and Soccer (with 12 players in Canada and 11 in USA). [For References see The Early History of Professional Football by the Professional Football Researchers Association – see [1] under Bibliography.

Canadian Rugby Union

Canadian Rugby Union 1898-1906

Canadian Rugby Football Union

Canadian Rugby Union Senior Champions 1892-1908

Canadian Rugby Football Union Senior Champions 1884-1887

Canadian Rugby (Football) University v Toronto 1875

CRFU (Results): 1887 1886 1885 1884

Ontario Rugby Football Union

ORFU (Results): 1891 1890 1889 1888 1883

Quebec Rugby Football Union

QRFU (Results): 1891 1890 1889 1888 1883

Picture Credit: Pexels Free Photos

Canadian Junior Football League (2nd Level)


The Canadian Bowl is the Championship Game of the Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL), the second level of Canadian Football. It was first played in 1907 as the Canadian Rugby Union (CRU) Junior Championship, becoming the Leader-Post Trophy in 1925. After one year in 1947 as the Evergreen Bowl it became the Leader-Post Trophy again. It was known as the Leader-Post Trophy until 1976, two years after the Canadian Rugby Union (CRU) was renamed the Canadian National Junior Football League (CNJFL), when the Trophy was rebranded the Armadale Cup. It was again renamed in 1989, this time as the Canadian Bowl, seven years after the CNJFL became the Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL).

Canadian Bowls

Canadian Junior Football League Canadian Bowl 1989-Present

Canadian National Junior Football League Armadale Cup 1976-1988

Canadian Amateur Football Association Leader-Post Trophy 1947-1975

Canadian Rugby Union (Canadian Football) Junior Championship 1907-1925

Canadian Junior Football League (1982-Present)

Canadian Junior Football League Canadian Bowl 1989-Present

Canadian Junior Football League (Overviews)

Canadian Junior Football League | Ontario Conference 2014-2019

Canadian Junior Football League | Prairie Conference 2014-2019

Canadian Junior Football League | British Columbia Conference 2014-2019

Canadian Junior Football League (Seasons): 2019

Picture Credit: [Canada 3] Canadian Junior Football League | Facebook (2011) CJFL Profile Picture: March 3, 2011 [Internet] Available from: 20 December 2019]

Canadian Junior Football 1966-1981

CNJFL 1974-1981; CAFA 1967-1973

Canadian National Junior Football League (1974-1981)

Canadian National Junior Football League Armadale Cup 1976-1988

Canadian Amateur Football Association (1967-1973)

Canadian Amateur Football Association Leader-Post Trophy 1947-1975

Canadian Amateur Football Association Ontario Junior Football Conference 1967-1973

Picture Credit: [6] Canadian Junior Football League (2021) CanadianBowlTrophy[Internet] Available from: [Accessed 4 January 2021]

football player holding football

Canadian Rugby Union Junior Divisions 1907-1966

Add your job title

Canadian Rugby Union (1947-1966)

Canadian Rugby Union (Canadian Football) | Big Four Football 1947-1956

Canadian Rugby Union Junior Divisions (1907-1946)

Canadian Rugby Union (Canadian Football) Junior Championship 1907-1925

Picture Credit: Pexels Free Photos

Canadian Provincial Football Leagues (3rd Level)

Canadian Provincial Football Leagues

Maritime Canada

Atlantic Football League

Atlantic Football League Moosehead Cup Champions 2009-Present

Atlantic Football League 2016-2019

Maritime Football League

Maritime Football League (Canada) 2015-2019


Quebec Major Junior Football League 2011-2019

Northern Ontario & Quebec

Northern Football Conference 2015-2019


Alberta Football League (Seasons): 2019

Picture Credit: [11] Northern Football Conference (2016) Cropped NFC Logo [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 20 December 2019]

selective focus photography of man holding nike football ball

U Sport (Canadian University Football)

U Sport

RSEQ (Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec )

RSEQ (Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec) University Football 1987-1990

RSEQ University Football (Seasons): 2019

Picture Credit: Pexels Free Photos

Canadian Football Leagues Internationals

CFL v NFL & AFL; Irish Teams v Canadian Teams;

Canadian Football League Internationals:

National Football League Preseason Matches in Canada 1960-1969

National Football League v Canadian Football League 1950-1961

Canadian Football League v American Football League Matches 1941-1948

American Football League International 1926

Canadian Semi-Pro Provincial Leagues International:

Irish American Football Teams v Canadian Semi-Pro Teams 1994-1995

Canadian U21 Teams International:

Canadian U20 & High School Gridiron Football Teams in Ireland 2012-2013

Irish American Football Teams v Canadian U21 Teams 2002-201

Picture Credit: [2] Ninety-Nine Yards, Chris Lawton (2020) An International Fixture: When the CFL played teams from other leagues [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 14 May 2020]

Picture Credit:

[1] World League of American Football (2018) download [Internet] Available from: 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 Accessed 23 April 2018]