Internationally acclaimed sports could have a chance in Ottawa
WHILE WE MAY love our hockey here in the nation’s capital, a crowd can be hard to come by for a team trying its hand at any other sport. Take the ill-fated fandom of the Ottawa Rough Riders, for instance. Without a solid football following, the team—and the future of professional football in our town—bit the dust. Closing up shop in 1996, the Ottawa Rough Riders left an empty space in this city. But with new funding to repair the former Rough Riders home stadium, the question on every avid sportsman’s mind is: “What should take the team’s place?” Though there is talk that professional football may make a comeback, there are more than a few options in the international sports world that could carry a crowd to Frank Clair Stadium once again.
The game: Rugby
Popular in: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa
Played in Canada with 15 players per team on the field at once, rugby is fairly similar to American football, the sport from which it originated. Invented as a variation of its mother sport, the game of rugby was conceived at Rugby School in Warwickshire, England. Known for its extreme violence and complicated play, rugby enjoys a massive impassioned fan base all over the world—not to mention an already well-established club following in Ottawa.
The game: Lacrosse
Popular in: Canada, United States
Though its popularity is waning, lacrosse is the national summer sport of Canada. A full-contact and fairly violent team sport, the North American Iroquois tribe is credited with inventing lacrosse. Still drawing large crowds on the East Coast, the easy-to-follow play of lacrosse makes the sport a definite possibility for popularity in Ottawa.
The game: Cricket
Popular in: Australia, England
Cricket is a game not too unlike North American baseball. Played with a bat and ball, it has been a popular game in England since the 16th century. Similar enough to a sport Ottawa already enjoys, cricket would be easy to follow for new fans—provided they’ve attended at least one Ottawa Lynx game in their life.
The game: Soccer
Popular in: Brazil, England, Italy
After FIFA fever hit Ottawa last summer, it’s clear soccer is a serious option for the future of Frank Clair Stadium. With financial and community support being offered by the city’s most prominent soccer club, the Ottawa Fury, soccer is a viable option for professional sport in Ottawa once repairs to the stadium at Lansdowne are complete. Enjoying a strong club following throughout the city’s suburbs, soccer would be sure to pull in some crowds if given professional status in the capital.